Since EU accession, Latvia and Austria have organized a number of cultural and business projects to bring both countries closer. TBT has compiled a list of the most successful
! Tourism School in Liepaja: This two-fold project includes a tourism school in Liepaja, thanks to cooperation between the Austrian IMC University of Applied Sciences and the Liepaja City Government, and a new wellness center and spa. In June 2005, Austrian Minister for Education, Science and Culture Elisabeth Gehrer visited Liepaja and signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of the tourism school. The memorandum will be extended as part of the foundation for an Interreg-Project, in which the Austrian party will act as consultants. Vilnis Vitkovskis, head of the development department, and Gunars Ansins, deputy mayor of Liepaja are involved on the Latvian side. It has not yet been decided which university will operater the school. The second project - to renovate several buildings in Karosta, a former Soviet military base in Liepaja, into a wellness, health and spa resort - was suggested by Latvian businessmen Uldis Pilens and Andris Grigis. The spa is a pilot project in an attempt to turn Liepaja into an all-year tourism destination. Austrian company List General Contractor GmbH presented the first plan outlines in the beginning of January. The resort will also include a tourism/hospitality school.
! Major Investments in Liepajas Metalurgs (LM): In 2005, metal producer Liepajas Metalurgs was the primary financial backer of a continuous steel casting plant. Austrian company Voestalpine Industrieanlagenbau and its subsidiaryÂ VAI Pomini planned the project, which is expected for completion in March, 2006. Liepajas Metalurgs is currently planning to expand its capacities, and VAI has already offered their products, know-how, production capabilities and facilities for the project.
! Multimodal Logistics Center: Â ECE is the leading company of a group of Styrian firms that specialize in the planning, financing, erection and operation of Cargo and Logistics Centers. The most modern reference plant of this group is the Cargo Center Graz (CCG) in Austria. ECE recently presented its project inÂ Latvia, as there is a need for such centers in connection with regional economic development, the Trans-European Rail and Road Network, and local ports. The local Styrian government has supported a visit by an expert delegationÂ from the Latvian Ministry of Transport, headed by Andris Maldups, transit policy department director.
! Riga Airport Development Plan: The Vienna Airport will be creating a long-term development plan for Riga Airport, after it won a competition for the expert consulting contract. This consultation was concluded in 2005, and results of the development plan can already been seen in the Riga Airport.
! Liepaja Concert Hall: Austrian architects Giencke & Company have won an international competition to design the Liepaja Concert Hall. The project is currently proceeding according to plan.
Information provided by Austrian Trade Commission