SmartCulTour featured in the Culture and Public Policy Tracker

This month’s issue  of the Culture and Public Policy Tracker is dedicated to Cultural Tourism, how cultural tourism has grown to be a powerhouse for sustainable development, and what countries are doing to harness their cultural assets through tourism. This issue examines some of the major challenges, risks and opportunities for cultural tourism development, and what steps governments are taking to transition to more sustainable models of tourism development – today and in the post-COVID-19 context. Besides, SmartCulTour project is featured in the section related to «Regional Perspectives – Europe and North America».

The monthly online Culture and Public Policy Tracker aims to monitor the role of culture in public policy, including in the broader context of delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Tracker builds on the ministerial dialogues launched in the framework of the Forum of Ministers of Culture, as well as the Culture & Covid-19: Impact and Response Tracker whose aim was to serve as a reactive monitoring tool to capture trends and measures at cultural policy level in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.  

You can read the article here: Cultural Tourism

Lapland Living Lab inception meeting

The inception meeting of the Lapland Living Lab was held on 12 February in Holiday Village Valle in Utsjoki with 8 on-site participants and 4 online participants. The meeting started with an introduction to the SmartCulTour project. Followed by this, UNESCO gave a presentation about their role in the project, which is to provide their own expertise in the development of sustainable cultural tourism to fit local needs in Utsjoki and other living labs of the project.

The participants wished to hear from UNESCO about how they have developed sustainable cultural tourism in the rest of the world, for example in tourism companies in other countries. These will be discussed in the future meetings.

Taking a participatory approach, we engaged the participants in discussing the development of sustainable cultural tourism using a number of design activities. A SWOT matrix was used to present the identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the tourism development in the Utsjoki living lab. We were able to identify the main needs for developing cultural tourism in Utsjoki.

The participants shared some existing good practices around the development of sustainable cultural tourism. A tree tool was used to evoke creative thinking on the opportunities and imagination of sustainable cultural tourism for the future of Utsjoki.

The participants saw the need to develop cultural tourism in Utsjoki, as it would bring new content to the municipality’s tourism and would not be as seasonal as nature-based tourism. We were able to discover the main needs and problems, for example, tourists don’t have enough information about existing services in Utsjoki, how to act in natural surroundings, how to dress appropriately, etc. The participants highlighted that one of the possible solutions would be an App that can gather all the necessary information about Utsjoki in the same place. That would make it easier for tourists to access the information.

The municipality of Utsjoki to launch EU funded H2020 Sustainable Cultural Tourism Living Lab on 12th February 2021

On 12th February 2021, the municipality of Utsjoki will launch a European Living Lab on Sustainable Cultural Tourism. The Utsjoki Living Lab (LL) will be one of six Living Labs across the Europe Union funded by the H2020 research programme – SmartCulTour. A number of issues of concern to the local cultural tourism community will be discussed during this first meeting, including the impact of COVID-19 on the local cultural and tourism industry and how to re-build the local tourism economy over the coming years.
Each of the six Living Labs have been chosen owing to their geographical relevance and to represent a variety of different forms of sustainable tourism. During the project, each LL will implement, test and evaluate novel ways of managing sustainable cultural tourism development through experiments, serious games, arts-based methods, service or social design techniques to enhance collaboration between the cultural sector and the tourism industry, in order to facilitate a process of capacity building. The other five SmartCulTour Living Labs are located in Rotterdam, Scheldeland in Flanders-Belgium, Utsjoki in Lapland-Finland, Huesca in Spain, Split in Croatia and Vicenza in Italy.
To be held hybridly by the University of Lapland, the LL of Utsjoki will bring together over Utsjoki local (and national) experts in sustainable tourism, regional development and culture.

For further information:
Please contact: Hong, Li,, +358444744335.
SmartCulTour Living Labs:
H2020 SmartCulTour project:
SmartCulTour Brochure:

Deliverable 2.2 – Future of cultural tourism for urban and regional destinations

The main objective of this Deliverable is to sketch what the future of cultural tourism could look like.

Cultural tourism was until recently so popular that it became a threat to host cities like Dubrovnik, Venice and Barcelona, but it has heavily been affected by the disruption caused by COVID-19, despite having shown a strong resilience during earlier (almost) equally massive disruptive events like 9/11, the tsunami in South East Asia of 2004, or the economic crisis of 2008.

Looking towards the future of cultural tourism destination, the challenge is now to develop cultural tourism in a way that ensures an effective ‘community resilience’ and, at the same time, contributes to long-term sustainable development and heritage protection. This is particularly important in an increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment. While the term VUCA originates from the military, it well describes the peculiarity of our present times, already before this world pandemic. To survive in such environment, cultural tourism destinations and cultural tourism operators have to better develop their abilities to deal with disruptive changes and unexpected situations and become more aligned with local interests.

This makes even more difficult to predict the future of tourism. Any speculation about the future of cultural tourism, any attempt to outline hypotheses about the evolution of cultural tourism destinations, is confronted with the speed and the complexity of changes happening in the current world. What happens in a country, in a region, in a city, often has significant consequences for individuals, economic operators and institutions located in other places.

Globalisation processes, experience and creative economy, digital technology evolution and changing perspectives on sustainable development have been identified as macro-trends that have been contributing to shape cultural tourism. Based on their influence on relevant cultural tourism stakeholders (such as cultural tourism demand, supply and governance actors), four possible scenarios have been sketched, identifying four different typologies of future cultural tourism.

The four typologies of future cultural tourism are described presenting the opportunities of each scenario, but also mentioning what the possible risks of a specific type of evolution are. The overall picture shows the urgency to redefine what constitutes success in cultural tourism, shifting from growth in the number of tourists to more sustainable objectives connected to the SDGs, the quality of cultural experiences, the quality of life and liveability of a destination, for both tourists and the local residents.

You can read the full report here: Deliverable 2.2

A digital response system to mitigate overtourism. The case of Dubrovnik

A research article has just been published in the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, authored by Nicola Camatti, Dario Bertocchi, Hrvoje Carić and Jan van der Borg, partner of SmartCulTour Project.

The article titled “A digital response system to mitigate overtourism. The case of Dubrovnik” provides an in-depth analysis of this correlation through the case study of Dubrovnik. The study applies a TCC calculation model that is able to quantitatively include the main effects of overtourism. The paper illustrates how these results can be used to automate specific decongestion policies by conceptualising a digital response system for real-time intervention to mitigate the undesirable effects of overtourism.

The article can be accessed here

The future of cultural tourism: steps towards resilience and future scenarios

The Covid-10 pandemic has had a devastating impact on tourism activities and destinations, and the situation is already causing awful personal tragedies and despair among those reliant on tourism. To survive, cultural tourism destinations and cultural tourism operators have to better develop their abilities to deal with disruptive changes and unexpected situations and become more aligned with local interests.

Licia Calvi, Simone Moretti, Ko Koens and Jeroen Klijs, from Breda University of Applied Sciences (partner institution of SMARTCULTOUR), have authored a very interesting article published on ENCATC “The future of cultural tourism: steps towards resilience and future scenarios” that looks into the directions cultural tourism can take and outlines the different steps that can help in the process: (re)defining cultural tourism, redefining success in cultural tourism; exploring the potential of technological solutions; and experimenting with new and innovative solutions in a local context.

You can download the full issue here

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Horizon 2020 online networking workshop

A Horizon 2020 online networking workshop was held on 27th November, involving SMARTCULTOUR, IMPACTOUR and SPOT projects, as the starting point of the creation of a collaboration network that could be built upon in the coming years. It provided a first step to get to know the colleagues from IMPACTOUR and SPOT. Concerning the main topic, the workshop addressed and discussed Cultural Tourism and its future in a 5-year time horizon, taking into consideration current potential and barriers. The workshop was followed by a group debate and a plenary session to discuss the conclusions.  In this context, all the participants shared opinions, concerns and visions for the future of Cultural Tourism, and many aspects ranging from sustainability through quality and accessibility to innovation and community involvement were brought up. In the end, the participants agreed on a couple of key findings that need further consideration when thinking about the development of cultural tourism and agreed to intensify the cooperation between the three Horizon 2020 projects for mutual benefit.

CIHEAM Zaragoza participated in this workshop as leader of the SmartCulTour communication workpackage and representing the Living Lab of Huesca, one of the six living labs that are being established in several European regions and that are meant to set up a community of practice related to the main aspects of Cultural Tourism in Europe. 

Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Rural Development. Case Study: Southern Moravia

A new paper has been published in the special issue of Sustainability – “A European Perspective on Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Sustainable Development and Regional Resilience”- that is co-edited together with the European projects SPOT, Impactour and Ruritage.

The article is titled «Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Rural Development. Case Study: Southern Moravia» and presents a study whose main objective is to find out whether cultural tourism could be a driver of rural development in the selected area and in general. Three districts in the South-Moravian Region, Znojmo, Břeclav, and Hodonín, situated in the rural borderland with Austria and Slovakia represented the study area. Both geographical and sociological methods were used to gather evidence for cultural tourism in that study. Firstly, attractiveness analysis of the area defined for cultural tourism took place. Next, factors influencing the potential for cultural tourism affecting rural development in South Moravia were evaluated. Finally, synergistic relations were discussed. In the territory, many forms of tourism intersect.

Based on the results, it can be stated that cultural tourism can hardly be the main driver of rural development after the decline of agriculture because the region’s economy has branched out in several directions. However, it can be an important complementary activity that yields both economic and non-economic benefits.

The article is available online here:

SmartCulTour will be presented at WIRE2020

This week (4-6 November 2020) the University of Split, Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, (Croatia) will host the 11th edition of the “Week of Innovative Regions in Europe“ (WIRE 2020) where SmartCulTour Project will be presented.

WIRE (Week of Innovative Regions in Europe) is the main European policy forum for innovation and regional development. The conference provides a platform for policy makers, public authorities, knowledge centers and enterprises to discuss research and innovation (R&I) practices, challenges and opportunities throughout the European regions, with a direct view on the current and future EU funding programs.

Due to the exceptional circumstances (COVID-19), the event will be organised online, under the agenda of the Croatian EU Council Presidency 2020, with the support of European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, and relevant national authorities: Ministry of Science and Education, Split-Dalmatia County and City of Split.

The Presentation of the SmartCulTour project will be under session 3.1 of the programme and will count on the participation of Lorena Gómez (moderator and speaker), Jan van der Borg (speaker), Jeroen Klijs (speaker), Lidija Petrić (speaker) and Ante Mandić (rapporteur).

For more information visit WIRE2020 site

Scheldeland Living Laboratory kicks off

A stakeholder meeting was held on October 13th for the Scheldeland Living Laboratory to present SmartCulTour project, identify regions for the resident survey and work towards establishing the living lab. The meeting was attended by the regional coordinator of Scheldeland and Regionaal landschap Schelde-Durme as well as representatives from Toerisme Vlaanderen (consortium partner), KU Leuven (consortium partner), Province of Eastern Flanders, and Province of Antwerp. Now the project will also be taken up in the relevant strategic plans of the regions.

The overarching goal of the Living Lab is to support the development of cultural tourism through bottom-up development. The Lab specifically aims to promote a broader view on culture and heritage which is currently, specifically in a Flemish context, rather narrowly focused on built urban heritage. Combining industrial heritage in this region with slow tourism products (walking, cycling, or boating) and local gastronomy can cater a more local and transformational tourist experience.