IGCAT is pleased to inform you of our new collaboration in the EUHeritage Tour project. The EUHeritage Tour is a project focused on the UNESCO World Heritages site tourism and was created on September 2013. The aim of the project is to contribute to the differentiation of the European tourism as well as to the promotion of shared cultural heritage, thus stimulating greater sense of European identity.
Tangible heritage, and in particular UNESCO World heritage sites, has long been important in attracting tourism, which in turn can support heritage conservation. However it is now being increasingly realised by UNESCO and countries and regions around the world that intangible heritage can be just as important. Some forms of intangible heritage, such as festivals or traditional dance are already a core part of the cultural tourism product. Gastronomy is now also being recognised as an important element of intangible heritage, which has a substantial role in attracting tourists. Recent research in Europe has indicated that almost 40% of tourists are motivated to visit destinations because of food. According to the results of a 2012 survey, 88.2% of UNTWO member countries also agreed that gastronomy is a strategic element in defining the brand and image of their destination.
This is because Gastronomy is about far more than food – it encapsulates the relationship between places, landscapes and culture. This mix is increasingly recognised by tourism destinations looking for ways of distinguishing themselves in crowded global markets, and tourists are also seeking holistic experiences that combine food, culture, arts and landscape as part of their own self-development and expression. This new field of tourism was one of the most important stimuli behind the creation of the International Institute for Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT.ORG) in 2013. IGCAT seeks to analyse and offer advice to policy makers about this new area of convergence in the fields of regional gastronomy, culture and tourism.
One of the key activities of IGCAT is the development of the European Region of Gastronomy, a project that has now been launched in conjunction with eight regions from different parts of Europe (europeanregionofgastronomy.org). The aim of the ERG programme is to highlight and support sustainable regional gastronomy as a resource for community development, image building and identity formation. The first events linked to the ERG programme are anticipated to be held in partner regions in 2016.
Accompanied by the slogan “You are Where You’ve Been”, the EUHeritage Tour project has developd 6 thematic itineraries where most of the outstanding World Heritages sites in Europe are linked together. The teasers for these itineraries can be found here:
For more information here’s the following Press-note