Justification and Additional Activities

The CHRISTA project was completed in March 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak was just starting. Therefore the project was not affected by the resulting restrictions & lockdowns that were imposed from mid-March 2020 till May 2021 all over Europe. Nevertheless, CHRISTA partner destinations took measures to restrict the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which need to be documented & exchanged, particularly in terms of recovery & resilience of tourism thorough culture & heritage.

The CHRISTA partnership thus needs to do further work on:

1. Facing the pandemic crisis, in terms of exchanges regarding protection measures taken to avoid the spread of coronavirus amongst visitors to cultural & heritage places of interest & still continue to develop cultural tourism through virtual means.

2. Regenerating European tourism through culture & heritage in the post-pandemic era, particularly involving Intangible heritage, Industrial heritage, Interpretation of heritage & Innovation / digitisation policies (i.e. the CHRISTA 4 I), for sustainable & responsible tourism actions.

The above will be achieved through Webinars in 2021, regarding exchange of experience & good practices on facing the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, physical events in 2022 with study visits, staff exchanges & peer reviews regarding recovery. The above are expected to result in appropriate improvements & additions to the policy instruments of the partners.

The partnership comprises tourism boards & associations (PRBT CY, VTA LV, SCTA RO), regional & local authorities (RCM EL, DG ES, BM BG, CIM Ave PT), supported by advisory partner (ECTN BE). The policy instruments addressed are: RCM ROP 2021-2027, Granada Geopark Strategy, Vidzeme Tourism Development Plan, Pafos Tourism Development Plan, Sibiu County Development Strategy, Burgas Tourism Development Strategy, CIM Ave Development Plan. The expected improvements are in terms of developing post-pandemic sustainable tourism regeneration activities, through culture & heritage.

Policy Instruments Improvements

The loss of revenue from tourism due to the pandemic has been a major blow to several EU regions, including CHRISTA partner regions. There must be policy initiatives to alleviate these losses & create a new tourism paradigm. The policy instruments addressed by the CHRISTA project now need to be enhanced & adapted to the post-pandemic situation, towards the recovery & regeneration of the tourism sector through culture & heritage. In particular, CHRSTA partner destinations need to incorporate improved policies & measures to counteract the deleterious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis & start developing new sustainable tourism products & services in regenerating tourism through the CHRISTA 4 I (Intangible, Industrial, Interpretation & Innovation/digitisation of heritage for sustainable tourism development & promotion). Of particular importance is the introduction of policies on resilience of tourism, through culture & heritage.

Firstly, the good practices of the partners regarding their experience on facing the COVID-19 crisis at the cultural tourism sites & activities will be documented & exchanged.

Secondly, improved policies & measures to regenerate cultural tourism with innovations & resilience will be developed and evaluated by joint webinars & normal thematic workshops.

Initiatives to be considered on testing relevant concepts, measures & incentives, particularly linked to promoting the digital agenda & 'smart tourism' solutions, towards recovery of the tourism sector at the CHRISTA partner destinations in the near future (by summer 2022).

The results of the above will be used to inform the policy instruments for necessary adjustments & refinements to incorporate the tourism recovery policies & measures, with sustainability & resilience. For the existing policy instruments the expected improvements are on structural change: VTA LV - Digital solutions & Natural heritage tourism; Pafos RBT CY - Digitalisation of folk museum & Smart Destination developments.

Work Plan

Semester 1:

Main task: Facing the pandemic crisis, in terms of exchanges regarding protection measures taken to avoid the spread of coronavirus at cultural & heritage sites & still continue to develop cultural tourism through virtual means.

The UNWTO 'Cultural Tourism Recovery Guide' and the ETC 'Tourism4Recovery' will be used as highly relevant sources & initiatives.

 

Semester 2:

Main task: Regenerating European tourism through culture & heritage in the post-pandemic era, involving Intangible heritage, Industrial heritage, Interpretation & Innovation/digitisation, for sustainable & responsible tourism actions.

 

There will be 3 Webinars and 2 Thematic Workshops to be held in Sibiu, Romania, and Pafos, Cyprus.