CHRISTA and Cult-RInG projects came together in Pafos, Cyprus, on 25-27 October 2018, to joing forces for sharing and transferring best practices in the frame of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 (EYCH2018). This cross-fertilisation is based on transferring the results of CHRISTA project, already in Phase 2 implementation of the action plans, to European Cultural Routes (existing and new ones examined in Cult-RInG project). The cooperation has been facilitated by the common advisory partner, European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN), the main instigator and developer of both projects. Pafos Regional Board of Tourism, lead partner of CHRISTA and also a partner in Cult-RInG hosted the joint events in a conference that included parallel sessions on Religious and Pilgrimage Tourism, Industrial and Military Heritage, Cultural Landscapes, Historic Villages an Towns, Contribution by Cultral and Creative Industries, as well as Transnational Thematic Tourism products including Cultural Routes. This included contributions by external participants, experts, practitioners, researchers and academics.
The joint plenary sessions included presentations by:
- the European Commission DG EAC, EYCH task force representative, Ms Anne Grady, on the results of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) for Sustainable Cultural Tourism (SCT),
- European Parliement member, former Chair of the Tourism and Transport Commitee, Mr Michel Cramer (Green Party, Germany), video message,
- Europa Nostra Vice-President Mr Piet Jaspaert, on the 'Berlin Call to Action' regarding the legacy of EYCH,
- Committee of the Regions member, Mayor of Gabrovo Ms Tanya Hristova, on European identity,
- European Travel Commission, Partnerships Manager Ms Iulia Niculica, on the EU-China Tourism Year 2018 synergies with EYCH,
- NECSTouR (the Network of European Regions for a Competitive and Sustainable Tourism), Ms Sandra de Puig, Secretariat, on the 'Barcelona Declaration: Better places to live, better places to visit', as contribution to EYCH, and
- ECTN on the 3rd edition of the Charter for Sustainable Cultural Tourism, a contribution to EYCH, inter-alia bringing together the Berlin Call to Action and the Barcelona Declaration, as well as updating the Charter with recent developments on 'European Capital of Smart Tourism', developments in Heritage Interpretation, Europeana Policy Guidelines for Tourism, ICOM Declaration update and new European Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.
A keynote address by former EU Commissioner for Culture, Mrs Androula Vassiliou, on culture and tourism synergies was the highlight of the conference. At the closing session Mrs Vassiliou was confirmed as an Honorary Member of ECTN.
CHRISTA and Cult-RInG projects have common partners Vastra Gotaland region, Sweden, Region of Central Macedonia Regional Fund, Greece, Vidzeme Tourism Association, Latvia, Pafos Regional Board of Tourism, Cyprus, as well as ECTN. The other partners of CHRISTA (Veneto IT, Granada ES, Sibiu RO, Burgas BG, CIM Ave PT) benefited by exposure to the work of Cult-RInG on cultural routes for growth and jobs, and the Cult-RInG other partners (Lazio IT, CIL Alto Minho PT) benefted by the work of CHRISTA action plans implementation on the 4 I's (Intangible heritage, Industrial heritage, Interpretation facilities and Innovation / digitisation).