Cultural Tourism (CT) plays a crucial role in today’s economy. In 2018 it represented 37% of the total tourism sector, with an annual growth of approximately 15%. With the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the tourism sector has been seriously hit. The OECD estimates that international tourism fell by around 80% in 2020. Many countries are trying to build a more resilient tourism economy, promoting digital transition and rethinking a more sustainable tourism system.
Against this backdrop, cultural tourism can be redesigned by regions and sites that offer a high cultural, social and environmental potential. This impact does not exclusively depend on historical-picturesque heritage, but also on other factors such as know-how, ICT, gastronomy, identity, local culture, values, intangible heritage and other factors.
The EU-funded TExTOUR (Social Innovation and TEchnologies for sustainable growth through participative cultural TOURism) project will analyse and demonstrate new strategies for improving the socio-economic development of less known areas, but which have much cultural value. The project will co-design, validate and upscale cultural tourism policies and sustainable strategies. To do this, it will work with eight Cultural Tourism Labs located in different EU and non-EU areas and involving various societal players and stakeholders with a relevant role in the Cultural Tourism sector.
The selected pilots have diverse and complementary characteristics, which will enable the project’s experts to develop a wide range of scenarios for continental and coastal areas, rural and urban, deprived remote or peripheral areas, facing multiple social, economic and environmental challenges.
“Sustainable cultural tourism is about managing cultural heritage and tourism in an integrated way. It’s about working with local communities to create benefits for everyone involved. The overall aim is to conserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage while developing a tourism that is sustainable” says Daniel Basulto, coordinator of the TExTOUR project.
This is an excerpt from an article originally published on CORDIS (European Commission).