ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.


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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

ICLEI Regional Secretariats and country offices

Be.CULTOUR – Beyond CULtural TOURism: human-centred innovations for sustainable and circular tourism

What we are doing

Be.CULTOUR stands for “Beyond Cultural Tourism” and aims to develop human-centred innovations for sustainable and circular cultural tourism. Cultural tourism entails opportunities but also risks. If not managed properly, it can easily turn into a “value extractive” industry, generating negative environmental, social and cultural impacts on local communities and ecosystems. This project develops specific strategies to promote an understanding of cultural tourism, which moves away from a “stop-and-go” consumer-oriented approach towards one that puts humans and circular economy models at its centre, paying attention to nature, communities and cultural diversity. “Place”, intended as the genius loci, the ancient spirit of the site and “people” as co-creators of its uniqueness, culture, art, tradition, folklore, productivity, spirituality, are the focus of Be.CULTOUR. The driving forces of the project are wide and diversified partnerships of stakeholders from 18 EU and non-EU regions of Northern-Central and Southern Europe, the Balkans, the Eastern neighborhood and the Mediterranean. A community of 300 innovators in 6 pilot regions is developed, engaging regional authorities and municipalities, clusters and associations, museums and tourist boards, entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce, citizens, researchers, practitioners as well as project partners, who will be co-creating innovative place-based solutions for human-centred and circular cultural tourism. Collaborative “Heritage innovation networks” are established in 6 deprived remote, peripheral and deindustrialized areas and cultural landscapes of Europe identified as “Pilot Heritage Sites”: committed to the project’s objectives, they have defined clear cultural tourism related challenges requiring innovation, which will serve as the basis for the collaboration with 12 additional “Mirror Ecosystems”.

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How we are tracking

The main metrics achieved during the project’s lifetime and beyond are detailed below, distributed between the Community of Practice of pilot heritage sites and the Community of Interest of mirror ecosystems. Total number combining the outputs of the Community of Practice (CoP): Total n. of “regional innovation ecosystems” active in the CoP: 7 Pilot heritage sites in EU, non-EU and neighbouring countries: 6 N. of Letters of Support: >25 Total villages covered by the pilot heritage sites: 40-50 N. of cultural tourism challenges proposed by the CoP: 6 N. of innovation areas identified: 12 N. of organisations involved in the ecosystems: 100 N. of other relevant heritage (tangible and intangible) in the areas of the PHS: 20-30 N. of European Cultural Routes / other labels: 15 N. of stakeholders, including citizens, involved in the Heritage innovation networks: 200 N. of public-private-people partnerships / agreements in pilot regions: 6 N. of human-centred “place-specific” innovative solutions co-designed: 18 N. of innovative close-to-market prototypes developed: 6 N. of Action Plans for the pilot heritage sites: 6 N. of co-design workshops in the pilot heritage sites: 18 N. of place-branding and destination marketing plans: 6 N. of tourists surveyed: 300 N. of people directly involved in pilot heritage sites for Action Plans and prototyping phases: >1500 Total number combining the outputs of the Community of Interest (CoI): N. of “mirror ecosystems” active in the CoI: 12 N. of Letters of Support: >10 N. of stakeholders involved in the 12 “mirror ecosystems”: 72 N. of urban and regional authorities potentially reached by the Call for CoI (M2-M4): 80-100 N. of Expressions of Interest received from the urban or regional authorities: 30 N. of stakeholders involved in the peer-learning scheme and capacity building activities: 2700 N. of exchanges between pilot and mirror regions: 25 Members of the Be.CULTOUR Community active in promoting and learning about Heritage innovation networks at the end of project: 50 N. of people accessing webinars and other capacity building documents, tools and activities: >2500

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What we are achieving

ICLEI ES is leading a core Work Package of the project, dedicated to the Co-creation of human-centred innovations and Action plans for sustainable cultural tourism. It will develop a Community of Practice with local Heritage Innovation Networks in the 6 Pilot Regions and contribute to building a Community of Interest with 12 Mirror Regions. Through interviews, workshops and webinars, ICLEI ES will facilitate co-creative processes for the development of community-led Action Plans and upscaling of innovative solutions.

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European Regions Research and Innovation Network - ERRIN, Haute École Groupe ICHEC - ISC Saint-Louis - ISFSC, Iniziativa Cube, Laona Foundation, Larnaca District Development Agency -ANETEL, North-East Regional Development Agency Romania - NERDA, Open University of the Netherlands - OUNL, Regional Tourism Promotion Agency of Basilicata, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia, Uppsala University, Västra Götaland Regional Council, Verde e Moldova,

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Maximisation of ESIFs implementation in sustainable cultural tourism sector – Guidance for policies-makers and implementing bodies (v1)
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