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IMproving Sustainable Development Policies and PrActices to assess, diversify and foster Cultural TOURism in European regions and areas

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - IMPACTOUR (IMproving Sustainable Development Policies and PrActices to assess, diversify and foster Cultural TOURism in European regions and areas)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-06-30

The main ambition of IMPACTOUR project is to create an innovative and easy-to-use methodology and tool to measure and assess the impact of Cultural Tourism (CT) on European economic and social development and to improve Europe’s policies and practices on CT, strengthening its role as a sustainable driving force in the growth and economic development of European regions.
CT has been recognized as one of the drivers of growth, jobs and economic development, as well intercultural understanding and social development in Europe regions and urban areas. However, there is still a knowledge gap on methods to measure different types of CT impacts and to assess multilevel and cross-border strategies, policies and practices contribution to sustainable development. IMPACTOUR proposes to bring together CT-related stakeholders and researchers to achieve new approaches taking advantage of the large amounts of information that confront policy-makers.
By identifying and comparing quantitative/qualitative pan-European information on CT forms and promotion, and by providing quantifiable evidence of CT strategies and their effect on European regions’ development and Europeanisation, IMPACTOUR will deliver an innovative methodology and tool (combining data analytics algorithms with artificial intelligence and machine learning strategies) providing CT stakeholders with strategic guidance so that policies and practices on CT can be improved.
IMPACTOUR will encompass a sustainable ecosystem by engaging Cultural Tourism stakeholders and following a participatory approach. IMPACTOUR tools and methods will lead to reinforcing the commitment with European CT, increasing citizens sense of belonging, valorisation of minority cultures, strengthening of identities and Europeanisation.
IMPACTOUR consortium has been working according to the following 10 specific objectives (six scientific and technical [ST], three socio-economic [SE] and two exploitation objectives [E]):
ST1 - Identify and compare quantitative and qualitative pan-European information on cultural tourism forms and its promotion;
ST2 - Increase knowledge and provide quantifiable evidence of cultural tourism strategies and their effect on European regions’ development and Europeanisation;
ST3 – Develop an integrated impact assessment methodology;
ST4 – To define sustainable cultural tourism strategies;
ST5 – To integrate knowledge and information generated into a tool;
ST6 – To validate the usability and applicability of the tool in different scenarios;
SE1 – To foster a participatory approach and exchange of information and practices;
SE2 – To increase competitiveness of the Validation Pilots;
SE3 – To promote the Europeanisation;
E1 – To make IMPACTOUR results and best practice examples identified accessible;
E2 – To address and overcome potential regulatory and legislative barriers.
During the project’s first reporting period (eighteen months), the consortium has performed its work under three main directions: (1) detailing the current status and vision regarding information and knowledge on Cultural Tourism process and development strategies; (2) engaging pilots and stakeholders towards IMPACTOUR community and (3) establishing the basis for the IMPACTOUR methodology.
The work performed under the current status and vision regarding information and knowledge on Cultural Tourism process and development strategies (ST1) allows the consortium to identify the best practice cases, sustainable development strategies and governance models (E1). Knowledge gaps regarding suitable methods and data sources for impact measure were identified and recommendations regarding development strategies were established (E2). An extensive analysis of existing impact assessment indicators was performed (ST2), combined with a review of the current best practices and needs of IMPACTOUR pilot community (SE1).
Following the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic a huge effort has been made towards the engagement of pilots and stakeholders. Starting from the initial set of pilots, a stakeholder map and an engagement action plan, to continuously engage and enlarge the IMPACTOUR community, was established (SE1). Several workshops and seminars were held, some of them aiming to engage the IMPACTOUR community and others with a broader European scope, in order to increase IMPACTOUR pilots’ visibility and attractiveness and reinforce their sense of pride in their cultural assets (SE2 and SE3).
The establishment of the list of criteria and indicators to carry out the comparative assessment, the IMPACTOUR pilots’ community engagement strategy and data collection methodology has set the basis for the development of the IMPACTOUR methodology (ST3 and ST4). In what concerns ICT integration, development, implementation and monitoring (ST5 and ST6) the consortium has established the basis on which to proceed regarding data management.
IMPACTOUR ambition is driven by five overarching strategic expected impacts, as follows:
1. Improve policies and practices on cultural tourism at various levels;
2. Provide strategic guidance at European level concerning the efficient use of European Structural Investment Funds;
3. Contribute to the establishment of partnerships between public and private stakeholders;
4. Creation of innovative quantitative/statistical as well as qualitative tools and methods;
5. New methods will improve available data on and understanding of the impact of cultural tourism on European economic and social development and on cultural Europeanisation.
During this first reporting period (eighteen months), IMPACTOUR partners have been working to progress beyond the state of the art and reach the aforementioned five expected impacts. The project has been built around a set of innovative Scientific and Technical Objectives that will be pursued in deep correlation with a set of Socio-Economic Objectives leading to long term Exploitation objectives. The lack of Cultural Tourism indicators led the consortium to establish a first set of 144 indicators that were reduced to a manageable list of 51 indicators, clustered under six domains: Characterisation, Resilience, Environmental, Social, Economic and Cultural. Besides carrying out this groundwork, IMPACTOUR partners progressed beyond state of the art in exploring innovative tools for tourism and Cultural Tourism impact assessment, information tools for cultural tourism destinations with focus on accessibility and mitigation strategies for COVID-19. This work led to the publication of three scientific publications.
The IMPACTOUR methodology will be established with the high engagement and cooperation of distinct stakeholders, coming from currently 30 pilots around Europe. This set of pilots assures a good and equitable coverage of a wide diversity of cultural tourism destinations across Europe, including tourist routes, urban and rural sites, industrial and natural heritage, intangible heritage, creative industries, arts and crafts, digital collections and many other CT assets.
The IMPACTOUR tool will be developed using open standards and a modular design based on the Privacy by Design principle of GDPR, driven by a participatory and inclusive approach which aims to act as a catalyst for enhancing the establishment of a sustainable ecosystem by engaging a wide range of Cultural Tourism stakeholders.
IMPACTOUR overall concept