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Cultural Routes: an e-learning tool to drive mountain areas on the path of sustainable tourism

The first online training course on Cultural Routes is now available. Developed within the Routes4U programme, this e-learning module aims at fostering regional development in macro-regions through the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. The Routes4U programme is a joint initiative between the Council of Europe (Directorate General of Democracy) and the European Union (European Commission – DG REGIO), running from 2017 to 2020.

 

Promoting Alpine mountains thanks to Cultural Routes

The Cultural Routes programme is an initiative launched by the Council of Europe in 1987 with the Declaration of Santiago de Compostela. Cultural Routes are an invitation to discover the diverse European heritage and aim at putting into practice the core values of the Council of Europe such as cultural diversity, human rights, intercultural dialogue and exchanges beyond borders. 30 cultural routes already exist within this framework, promoting various dimensions of the European heritage from landscapes to gastronomy and arts. As an example, the “Pyrenean Iron Route” was certified as Cultural Route in 2003. It promotes the working of iron in the Pyrenees from the 17th to the 19th century via “an interesting walk through mountain scenery and combining culture and industrial history”.

To further develop Cultural Routes, the Council of Europe and the European Union launched the Routes4U programme to stimulate sustainable growth in the tourism sector while promoting the cultural heritage of macro-regions. Different activities can be developed, such as assistance to cultural project in the regions and identification of good practices to answer the following specific objectives in the EU macro-regions:

  •  Foster sustainable growth for creative industries and tourism sector,
  • Strengthen the cultural tourism sector and develop cultural routes projects,
  • Improve the visibility of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe,
  • Encourage regional investment along the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.

 

An online training module of Routes4U on Cultural Routes’ certification

Routes4U aims at developing very concrete tools to foster regional development through cultural heritage policies. One outcome for example is the creation of guidelines for transnational policies on Cultural Routes. Capacity building is also one of the tools highlighted by the Council of Europe to achieve the objectives. In this regard, the first e-learning module was made available “The Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: step-by-step guidance on the certification and the implementation”.

This first online training course targets local authorities and tourism operators in macro-regions and aims at developing new skills and knowledge of Cultural Routes. The course is free and does not require any specific background knowledge but does, however, provide an attendance certification to participants if they pass the final test.

During this 2-hour e-learning module, participants learn about the Council of Europe’s Cultural Route label and its potential in attracting tourists and encouraging the sustainable development of territories. They also get the chance to understand the added value of this certification for cultural heritage projects or regions. Examples of existing Cultural Routes in the EU macro-regions, including EUSALP, are presented as well as best practices. Moreover, the course focuses on the relevance of macro-regional strategies when creating new Cultural Routes. The content of the course includes videos, infographics as well as check lists to refer to when planning the creation of a new Cultural Route. Participants are evaluated through practical exercises.

 

 

Cultural heritage is an integral part of the identity and pride of mountain people and shows the diversity of mountain areas. In September 2018, Euromontana organised the XI European Mountain Convention in Romania, under the core theme of cultural heritage as an engine for innovation and development. Members and participants agreed on a common declaration to call upon EU, national and regional institutions to better recognise the value of mountain cultural and natural heritage. In this regard, Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe appear as a promising tool to promote cultural heritage in macro-regions and mountain areas. Together with the development of good practices on cultural heritage and the multiplication of initiatives on sustainable tourism in the Alpine region for example, the online course developed by Routes4U can build a useful common foundation to interlocutors of the tourism sector in mountain areas.

You can access this e-learning course here. More information on the Routes4U programme can be found on its webpage, including examples of Cultural Routes, macro-regional priorities and a good practices database.

 

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15 May 2019

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