Val-de-Marne Tourism Board
Many European territories have developed strong relations with a river, that both take an economic and social role in their history. In the heart of European cities or in suburban areas, riversides offer exceptional natural, cultural and industrial heritage, both tangible and intangible. As these destinations are regional capitals or near a capital, they combine a tourism offer specific to urban areas (architectural visits, cultural activities) with a more natural one with sports and leisure, in particular related to water as well as wellness. This natural environment has historically been protected or is today the purpose of new environmental policies.
That is why riverside development is a real opportunity for European cities to create innovative solutions for sustainable tourism development. Unfortunately, riversides are rarely identified as touristic spots and not sufficiently addressed by tourism policies. They globally suffer from a lack of consideration from Metropolitan authorities and tourism boards, but also from a lack of professional skills and tools for tourism actors. However, those spaces are at the crossroad of tourism challenges faced by European capitals such as the high concentration of tourism in city centres, the Cities “Museumification” phenomenon, the increased attention to sustainable development and the new trends of tourism practices (authenticity, slow tourism, etc).
European cooperation could help managing authorities in charge of Structural Funds, tourism strategies or urban development policies to better understand what needs to be changed and identify solutions by exchanging good practices. The STAR Cities project will involve the entire tourism ecosystem existing along rivers and, in this regard, is relevant to the Interreg Europe programme’s specific objective dealing with protecting, promoting and developing natural heritage, biodiversity and ecosystems.
STAR Cities brings together seven partners to improve the regional policies in five European cities :
Val-de-Marne Tourism Board (France, Lead partner)Lazio Region (Italy)Municipality IX EUR of Rome (Italy)Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (Germany)Public institution "Kaunas 2022" (Lithuania)Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region (Slovenia)NECSTouR (Belgium, Advisory partner)
Riverside Cities European network
Some of the STAR Cities partners are also members of the Riverside Cities European network, bringing together local regions wishing to develop or redevelop recreational activites along rivers or waterways in an urban environment. The network plans to apply for the "Culural Route of the Council of Europe" certification to ensure recognition of the role of rivers in the emergence and the development of popular leisure activites in Europe.