European Commission makes pledge at symposium
The European Commission has made a €2.5 million pledge to boost cultural tourism in 2013. A call for proposals to benefit from the money was made at the second annual Crossroads of Europe symposium in Toulouse, France.
The aim of the event, which took place in May, was to bring together tourism professionals, associations and the public to share experiences and exchange ideas in a bid to develop a more integrated approach to cultural tourism in Europe. The event attracted more than 230 participants from all over Europe.
“Europe has the highest density and variety of tourist attractions in the world and a high concentration of cultural heritage, with more than a third of the world heritage sites of UNESCO. The EU must develop this ‘sustainable competitive advantage’ in areas related to historical, artistic and cultural heritage. It should form part of the ‘European brand’ particularly in foreign markets. Cultural tourism accounts for about 40% of all tourism in Europe, and more than 50% of tourism in Europe is linked to cultural heritage,” Pedro Ortún, head of the Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission, said at the symposium.
“In a few weeks we will publish a second call for proposals for cultural products that could benefit from the commission’s fund of €2.5 million in 2013, and a call for proposals to facilitate transnational trips for senior citizens within the EU, relying especially on trans-European routes.”
Crossroads of Europe was coordinated by the European Commission in partnership with the French Ministry of Tourism, the Region Midi-Pyrénées, the Euroregion Pyrénées-Méditerranée, the Municipality of Toulouse and the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The European Commission has yet to decide on the location for the next edition’s event, but there are rumoured to be several strong contenders.
[pictured: Pedro Ortún speaking at the event; photo courtesy European Commission]