Europe

Providing policymakers and practitioners with a Toolkit for cultural tourism change in Europe

The WP7 of SmartCulTour is specifically designed to engage with diverse stakeholders through a participatory approach using of a set of service design and arts-based tools/methods. The aim is to improve inclusiveness and resilience for cultural tourism change in Europe. There are four tasks under the WP7:

  • Task 7.1 Co-design workshops with cultural tourism stakeholders
  • Task 7.2 SmartCulTour Game
  • Task 7.3 SmartCulTour Toolkit for cultural tourism policy development
  • Task 7.4 Strategic roadmap for cultural tourism change

At the current stage of the project, the SmartCulTour partners are focusing on Task 7.1, which aims to assist the living labs (LLs) by suggesting, testing and facilitating the use of a set of tools and methods that can potentially help cultural tourism policy development. To achieve this aim, there are two main objectives:

  • Co-designing a menu that utilises a set of service design and art-based tools/methods for cultural tourism stakeholder consultation and engagement, and thus potentially influencing the policy development of cultural tourism.
  • Carrying out a series of participatory workshops in the LLs with a wide range of local stakeholders. The workshops will implement and further develop the menu using a bottom-up approach.

Figure 1 The double-diamond model in the SmartCulTour living lab context

Task 7.1 lies in the first part of the double-diamond, that is, identifying and clarifying the needs of each LL (see Figure 1). Therefore, the set of tools/methods that the SmartCulTour partners are developing will contribute to the first diamond, and the focus is placed on empathy building and empathic engagement. Taking into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the set of tools/methods will support the use in both physical and virtual environments. More importantly, the LLs will be engaged in co-designing the set of tools/methods in order to ensure that the end results meet their diverse needs and serve as a menu for the local stakeholders to choose. In most of the LLs, experiments have been done on how to do this in a participative way (see Figure 2), especially in relation to stakeholder engagement but also in identifying the qualities they can bring to the table as experts on (aspects of) their destination, but also the expertise WP7 specialists should bring. The menu is expected to be available as D7.1 on the SmartCulTour website by August 2021. It will serve as a living document, constantly evolving to keep pace with the LLs’ needs throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Figure 2 Engaging participants using service design tools and methods in the Utsjoki living lab

For Task 7.2 the first game prototypes have been tested. In game development, getting the aims and rules right are crucial to make a serious game attractive but also to make sure the discussion is on the topic we need. In the game, players will take on different roles in developing cultural tourism in a destination by exploring several development scenarios together from a multitude of stakeholder viewpoints. We expect to have it ready on schedule and look forward to playing it! Figure 3 presents a recent prototype of the game.

Figure 3 The recent SmartCulTour game prototype.

Task 7.3 and 7.4 in many ways are a follow up to 7.1, WP3, 4 &5 and will evolve in the next 6 months to a balanced set of tools need for cultural tourism policy development. Obviously, the LLs are excellent playgrounds for experiments in how to use and combine the tools developed in (and outside) SmartCulTour.

Uncovering the ‘state-of-the-art’ of cultural tourism interventions implemented in European cities and regions

By pursuing different interests and objectives, cultural tourism stakeholders determine a wide range of impacts on tourism destinations and their communities. For instance, private businesses are constantly investing resources (time, money, expertise, skills, etc.) to innovate the cultural tourism offer, determining multiple socio-economic impacts. Destinations can embrace a variety of governance settings and influence the decisions of public or private actors. Moreover, local and national governments, the European Union and other international organisations often grant financial resources for a wide range of programs and projects, aiming at uncovering, designing and implementing more sustainable forms of cultural tourism. Such a complex range of activities and the diverse spectrum of actors involved, stress the urgency to gather and frame more structured insights on what the impacts and success conditions of these initiatives and approaches are. Within SmartCulTour, the objective of Work Package 3 is to provide a ‘state-of-the-art’ of cultural tourism interventions implemented in European cities and regions, thereby identifying good practices and their impacts and success conditions. We are pursuing this objective via a multiple-steps approach:

  • The contribution of SmartCulTour partners allowed to collect preliminary insights concerning the context, actors, objectives and impacts of more than 100 interventions all over Europe. This revealed information about interventions initiated by different stakeholders, ranging from national and local governments to private businesses or NGOs. The variety of cultural tourism interventions that have been considered includes the introduction of new cultural products, marketing and communication activities, heritage interpretation, capacity building, visitor management plans and regulations, just to mention some examples. The gathered data also revealed preliminary insights on the impacts of the interventions in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainability of the destinations and the resilience of their communities. Focusing on the essential purpose of the interventions, the analysis of the collected data allowed to propose the following innovative taxonomy of cultural tourism interventions:
  • Starting form the proposed taxonomy and supported by a process of expert’s evaluations, we selected 18 interventions (out of the initial 108), to be further investigated via in-depth case studies. Aiming at interviewing at least 3 relevant stakeholders, each case study allowed to enrich the available data, especially concerning the economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts of the interventions, revealing additional insights in terms of success conditions and “lesson learnt” from these interventions.
  • SmartCulTour Deliverable D3.2, available here, contains a ‘portfolio’ with the 18 selected interventions, reporting essential information about the context, the initiators, the required resources, the impacts, success conditions and lesson learnt through the interventions. This selection of cases reflects the variety of interventions analysed, ranging from the development of entrepreneurial ideas to initiatives focused on interpreting the heritage of minorities or capacity building projects and initiatives that provided a common space, where the tourism and culture industries could meet, discuss and work with each other.
  • By the end of May 2021, also the SmartCulTour deliverable D3.1 will be available here, providing a comprehensive state-of-the-art of cultural tourism interventions implemented in European cities and regions, with an overview and additional insights on good practices, impacts and success conditions of cultural tourism interventions.

The outcomes of this process will be useful as a reference about the state-of-art of cultural tourism interventions in Europe and can be used to initiate and structure discussions concerning cultural tourism and sustainable development in a variety of urban and regional settings.

Report on the most appropriate indicators related to the basic concepts of sustainability, resilience and cultural tourism

SmartCulTour project aims “to propose and validate innovative, community-led interventions directed at sustainable cultural tourism development contributing to the EU regions’ resilience and inclusiveness”. Among several priorities, the objective number two strives to “establish an improved indicator framework for cultural tourism impacts on sustainability and resilience and link these to an improved Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model“.

Within the work package (WP) 4, several tasks dedicated to the fulfilment of this objective have been outlined. This report reflects on Task 4.1. Identification of the indicators related to the basic concepts defined in WP2.

To deliver our conclusions, a systematic review of relevant literature, related to the concepts of sustainability, resilience and cultural tourism has been conducted. Particular reference was paid to the indicators most often used to measure these concepts. Additionally, the Report contains a review of the Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) – related literature. The conclusions of the TALC analysis will have an important role in the delivery of further tasks within this WP. With regard to each analysed concept, a proposal of the prospective methodology to be used in the Deliverable D4.2 is given, with the aim to create Sustainability-Resilience-TALC framework for cultural tourism destinations.

The report contains four sections, including the introduction; the methodology section – outlining the process of systematic review; the analysis section – delivering the overview of indicators related to fundamental concepts and guidelines for the selection of relevant indicators, including the conclusion after each part of the analysis, pointing out main findings; and reference section. At the end of the report there is also an Annex containing tables with elaborated sources of literature retained after primary selection based on relevant data bases
You can read the full Deliverable here: Deliverable D4.1

Theoretical framework for cultural tourism in urban and regional destinations: First review of key cultural tourism concepts and trends

Sustainable cultural tourism can be achieved through democratic participatory planning processes which are context specific. A key challenge for peripheral European regions lies in crafting well designed cultural tourism programmes which will meet the needs of the residents and tourists while preserving regions’ fragile cultural assets. Thus, it is important to frame cultural tourism within a larger socio-cultural, environmental and economic debate, ensuring a more equitable development.

In this context, a report has just been submitted by SmartCulTour partner Modul University Vienna (Austria) presenting a first review of the key cultural tourism concepts and trends which will help to identify a set of sustainability and resilience indicators. These indicators will be a useful tool for stakeholders so that they can plan, monitor and evaluate sustainable cultural tourism developments.

The report contains an updated definition of cultural tourism, a new definition of sustainable cultural tourism destination, a comprehensive review of literature on cultural tourism concepts, trends and current management challenges, and an outlook towards the future of cultural tourism in Europe. You can read the full Deliverable here: Deliverable D2.1

FEBTS’ team meeting to discuss WP4 activities

The FEBTS team met last 19 June in Split (Croatia) to discuss WP4 activities related to the selection of the most appropriate indicators. Based on concepts such as cultural tourism, cultural tourism assets and products, cultural tourism impacts, cultural tourism destinations, sustainability and resilience, etc. an extensive review of literature and data bases will be used to explore what types of indicators are most commonly applied and which ones may be the most appropriate for measuring these concepts.

Much of the data that is currently used to measure impacts of tourism is highly fragmented and/or incomplete, with unclear and/or different definitions for key concepts. Furthermore, there is a lack of data on excursionists, on new formats of accommodation, on transportation and accessibility, etc. WP4 will first explore how to optimally use existing data and data collection methods, and supplement these with new (qualitative and quantitative) methods, thereby making use of recent ICT developments (big data, smart cities).

WP4 is lead by the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism (FEBTS) of the University of Split (Croatia) with the contribution of KU Leuven (Belgium), Ca’Foscari Università di Venezia (Italy), UNESCO and MODUL University in Vienna (Austria).

A European Perspective on Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Sustainable Development and Regional Resilience

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050) within the section «Sustainability of Culture and Heritage» has been set up as a collaboration between SmartCulTour, IMPACTOUR, SPOT and RURITAGE H2020 Projects.

Within the framework of Europe’s Smart Specialization Strategies, it is important to identify to which extent and under which considerations a cultural heritage strategy can support an effective and sustainable regional development. Focusing specifically on European regions, this Special Issue gives particular relevance to the development of robust measurement frameworks on the sustainability and resilience of cultural heritage (tourism) destinations, past and future trends in transformative cultural tourism, successful interventions in cultural heritage management, and community-based management and planning.

Cultural heritage holds many tangible and intangible values for local communities and society in general. Particularly from a socioeconomic perspective, the presence of cultural heritage resources might serve to improve regional development through cultural tourism, event organization, the attraction of creative industries and other businesses, etc. However, notwithstanding the relative abundance of cultural heritage resources—in varying degrees of scope—there are substantial differences in the current application of culture-led development strategies across European regions.

The Special Issue is edited by Dr. Bart Neuts (KU Leuven, Belgium), Prof. Dr. João Martins (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal), Prof. Dr. Milada Šťastná (Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic) and Dr. John Martin (University of Plymouth, UK) and will provide a state-of-the art overview of contemporary cultural heritage management within Europe, providing theoretical contributions as well as practical toolkits and case studies. Contributions will help to frame cultural heritage as a resource for the creation of sustainable and resilient territories.

Manuscripts can be submitted until 15 January 2021 here: www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form.

For more information: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/Regional_Resilience