This report aims to provide an overview of the specific policy recommendations that originate from two particular tasks in the SmartCulTour project: re-conceptualization of (sustainable) cultural tourism and expectations concerning future trends and developments (WP2), and identification of state-of-the-art interventions in cultural tourism towards sustainable development (WP3).
The report starts by recognizing the potential of cultural tourism in Europe and specifically its framing as a driver for sustainable development and smart regional growth. However, due to an ongoing lack of comprehensive evidence on the benefits of cultural heritage and the observation that, in many countries, cultural tourism is not yet adequately measured, the policy report pays attention to two particular issues:
1. The conceptual fluidity of cultural heritage and, by extension, cultural tourism;
2. The lack of structural evidence on the holistic benefits of cultural heritage for a destination.
In this report we first focus on the question of conceptualization, and through analysis of existing definitional frameworks, propose contemporary definitions to frame cultural tourism in all its aspects as: “a form of tourism in which visitors engage with heritage, local cultural and creative activities and the everyday cultural practices of host communities for the purpose of gaining mutual experiences of an educational, aesthetic, creative, emotional and/or entertaining nature” (Matteucci & Von Zumbusch, 2020, p.19).
Secondly, the policy report presents both workflow and results of an extensive case-study analysis on cultural tourism interventions throughout Europe, both in terms of resources used and in terms of generated (or expected) outcomes in order to provide more robust findings on the multiple benefits of cultural tourism. The five main purposes for cultural tourism interventions that were recognized were: (1) to protect, restore, safeguard and promote, (2) to develop and innovate, (3) to interpret, understand and disseminate, (4) to involve and connect, (5) to manage and influence. While the list does not necessarily need to be considered as exhaustive, and can depend on the non-random case study selection, the typology helps in describing situations and challenges that are typical of each intervention category and can therefore inform policy makers on selecting appropriate cultural tourism projects.
At the end of the report, a number of policy recommendations are given, both on conceptualization and operationalization, and on methodological recommendations that can be followed by Destination Management Organizations and policy makers to collect additional primary research data.
You can read de full report here: Deliverable 1.8