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Pro-active management of the Impact of Cultural Tourism upon Urban Resources and Economies

Final Report Summary - PICTURE (Pro-active management of the Impact of Cultural Tourism upon Urban Resources and Economies)

The objective of the picture project was to develop a strategic urban governance framework for the sustainable management of cultural tourism within small and medium-sized European cities. This framework aimed to help to establish, evaluate and benchmark integrated tourism policies at the local level with a view to maximising the benefits of tourism upon the conservation and enhancement of built heritage diversity and urban quality of life.

Considering this general objective, the research work was broken down into five work packages (WPs).
- WP1: Effects of cultural tourism upon built heritage diversity and urban quality of life;
- WP2: Innovative urban governance styles for an integrated cultural tourism;
- WP3: Cultural tourism impact assessment (CTIA) tools;
- WP4: Dissemination and exploitation of results;
- WP5: STREP coordination and management.

The first two WPs constituted the knowledge and information that served as a basis for the elaboration of a strategic urban governance framework for the sustainable management of cultural tourism within small and medium-sized European cities. The objective of WP1 was to enhance existing knowledge surrounding the dynamic effects of tourism within small and medium-sized cities with regard to the conservation and enhancement of built heritage diversity, quality of life and local economies.

WP2 aimed at the benchmarking of innovative approaches of urban governance, promoting cultural tourism as a mean to foster urban renaissance and overall community sustainability.

WP3 built on the knowledge and scientific background generated by the previous WPs. Methodologies and tools for forecasting and assessing the impact of the development of cultural tourism in a small and medium-sized city were developed and tested. The cultural tourism impact assessment procedure is the most prominent. It describes three main actions divided into ten steps for impact management and sustainable cultural tourism development.

WP4 aimed to capitalise and disseminate existing knowledge and good practices of sustainable cultural tourism in Europe. It mainly targeted cities that had not necessarily defined themselves as tourist destinations thus far, but were willing to develop a cultural tourism strategy in the near future. To accomplish this objective, the project established an information technology (IT) resource centre and website where information and results were and will be publicly disseminated and regularly up-dated: http://www.picture-project.com. An end-user group was constituted (70 members) and consulted regularly in order to check that PICTURE results answer local authorities' needs. Consultation also happened with a board of experts, to make sure they could contribute their knowledge to the project but also that the results would also be known in their worlds.

The outcomes of the research mainly target small and medium-sized cities, which normally lack the expertise to handle complex research prototypes and state-of-the-art techniques. The main operational outcome of the project consists of a guideline aimed at facilitating cultural tourism procedures and fostering sustainable forms of tourism. The format and structure of the guideline were decided by the consortium, after carrying out a survey with end-users in order to find out what they would consider as most helpful.

The framework consists of a mixture of general information and practice (illustrations), presented as a printed guide, and in digital resources. The printed section is intended to underline challenges and opportunities, increase knowledge about cultural tourism, impact assessment, governance methods, etc. The digital section, aims to give form to the general information. It aims to find solutions or suggest paths to take or avoid, according to defined goals. The different sections clearly interrelate. Practice illustrates theory but the theoretical sections and the concepts they explain can also cast a different light on the case studies or best practices and allow a better understanding of them.