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

2021 - 2024

Be.CULTOUR stands for “Beyond Cultural Tourism” and aims to develop human-centred innovations for sustainable and circular cultural tourism. Led by the italian National Research Council (CNR), Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS), the project responds to the H2020 call about “Socioeconomic and cultural transformations in the context of the fourth Industrial Revolution”.

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 neighbourhood 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 deindustrialised 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”. Mutual learning and up-scaling of business solutions will guide collaboration between Pilot Sites and Mirror Ecosystems, ensuring sustainability of results beyond project lifetime.

Be.CULTOUR will result in 6 community-led Action Plans, 18 human-centred innovative solutions and 6 close-to-market prototypes of new cultural tourism integrated services and products: these will directly contribute to inclusive economic growth, communities’ wellbeing and resilience, and nature regeneration in pilot and mirror regions, stimulating effective cooperation at cross-border, regional and local level.


  • Regional Development Agency of North-East Romania
  • Verde E Moldova, Republic of Moldova
  • Regional Tourism Promotion Agency of Basilicata, Italy
  • Provincial Government of Teruel, Spain
  • Larnaca and Famagusta Districts Development Agency, Cyprus

Project disclaimer:
Funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission under grant no 101004617