6 March 2024

New guidebook shows how to advance circular cultural tourism

The tourism sector is undergoing a transformation to become more sustainable and resource efficient. To facilitate this change, a new Guidebook is available to show cities and regions how they can “go beyond cultural tourism” and embrace the circular approaches for heritage-led, regional development.

Prepared within the scope of the Be.CULTOUR project, of which ICLEI is a project partner, the guidebook features six stories from remote European destinations -Aragon (Spain), Basilicata (Italy), Larnaca (Cyprus), Västra (Götland), Vojvodina (Serbia), and the Romania-Moldova cross-border region. It shows how cities and governments can learn from the theoretical frameworks, practical examples and recommendations to develop action plans and innovative strategies for heritage-led regional development. By embracing the Guidebook’s circular approaches, cities can enhance their tourism sector's sustainability, foster cultural preservation, and stimulate community-led regenerative transformation in both rural and urban contexts rich in natural and cultural gems.

ICLEI Europe played a crucial role in developing this resource, supporting the co-creation processes for action plans on circular cultural tourism at the provincial level. As part of the Urban Agenda on Sustainable Tourism, ICLEI leveraged its partnerships to enhance the guidebook's value for urban development.

The guidebook contributes to ICLEI's overarching strategy, particularly the equitable and people-centred development, resilient development, and circular development pathways. Furthermore, it aligns with ICLEI’s core goal for its work on Built Environment, Culture, and Heritage of integrating heritage, culture, and climate agendas, as highlighted in the European Green Deal and Local Green Deals. By emphasising the nexus between culture, creativity, and heritage with environmental sustainability, the guidebook facilitates strategic objectives such as heritage-led transformations. Furthermore, it promotes the creation of an accessible, sustainable heritage built environment, echoing the principles of the "New European Bauhaus" initiative, which bridges environmental aspirations with cultural values. The guidebook is crafted to serve as both an informative resource and a visually captivating learning material, enriching the reader's experience with a blend of educational content and aesthetic design.

Through this guidebook, cities and regions are encouraged to leverage culture and creativity for sustainable tourism, promoting bottom-up solutions and participatory processes in alignment with ICLEI's aim of fostering a sense of identity by strengthening the feeling of belonging fueled by cultural and natural uniqueness.

Read the Guidebook in full here.

To learn more about the Be.CULTOUR project and advancing circular cultural tourism, click here.