‘Cultural Heritage counts for Europe’ presented at cultural tourism conference

Cultural Heritage counts for Europe and for tourism as it became evident when Europa Nostra’s Council Member Prof. Dr. Koenraad Van Balen presented the key findings and recommendations of the report ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ as one of the keynote speakers at the 9th International Conference for Cultural Tourism in Europe on 23 September 2016 in Guimaraes, Portugal.

In his presentation, Prof. Van Balen, who is Director of the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation at KU Leuven in Belgium, clearly demonstrated that cultural tourism can help integrating cultural heritage into sustainable development policies. Based on UNESCO’s Hangzhou Declaration on sustainable development, he outlined the four-pillars approach of sustainable development, which comprises cultural, social, economic and environmental development, and discussed the 10 key findings of the report with conference participants.

The report has been widely recognised as key study on the impact of cultural heritage, most recently in the European Commission’s proposal to organise the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. As member of the Steering Committee of the European cooperation project ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’ – which was coordinated by Europa Nostra and co-funded by the Culture programme of the European Union -, Professor Van Balen had been closely involved in this research project and in editing the final report. Europa Nostra has engaged in an active dissemination strategy of the project’s outcomes and so far enabled the translation of the executive summary of the report into 4 European languages (Dutch, Norwegian, Spanish and Polish) and 2 more will be launched in November 2016 (Italian and German). Thus, Europa Nostra is seeking to enable as many citizens and policy-makers in Europe as possible to read the compelling evidence about why cultural heritage counts for Europe in their native tongue.

The ‘Intangible Heritage’ conference was organised by European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN), the pan-European network of destinations, authorities, NGOs and research institutes for sustainable cultural tourism development and promotion across Europe. It was held in the framework of Interreg Europe project CHRISTA (Culture and Heritage for Responsible, Innovative and Sustainable Tourism Actions), which has been running since April 2016 and which counts ‘intangible heritage’ as one of its priority themes. Both Europa Nostra and ECTN are members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3., a sectoral platform of major European and international heritage networks.

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