Following the Annual Advisory Forum on “Resilient and Sustainable Cultural Routes”, which took place in Kutaisi, Georgia and online, on 29 September-1 October 2021, the “Declaration of the 10th Annual Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe” declares, that sustainability remains a priority development area for the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe Programme to help provide opportunities for rethinking culture and tourism for the future.
“Cultural Routes play an important role in contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. They aim to become tools for innovation and drivers for new sustainable development models and to position themselves at the vanguard of the mission for sustainability.”
Sustainable cultural development is a priority field of action for the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe programme, which promotes alternative cultural tourism modalities as conscious and responsible forms of access to heritage, that both benefit local population, protect the environment and enhance the tourist experience across Europe.
During three thematic panels with live discussion sessions, Representatives of International Organisations (such as EU, UNESCO, UNWTO, BSEC, OEI), EPA member States, Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, local and regional authorities, academics and professionals in the cultural tourism sector acknowledged, that the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how people lead their lives and, therefore, the landscape in which the Cultural Routes are operating. It was concluded, that digitalisation offers a way of fortifying Cultural Routes and developing their resilience in times of crisis and that Cultural Routes should not simply respond to calls for sustainability, but position themselves at the vanguard of movement towards sustainability.
During the Forum, online ceremonies also took place to welcome Ukraine and Sweden as new member States of the EPA and the 7 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe certified in 2020 and 2021: Eurpean Route of Historic Gardens, Via Romea Germanica, , , Cyril and Methodius Route, The European Route d’Artagnan and Iron Age Danube Route.
The 11th Cultural Routes Annual Advisory Forum, which will take place in Chanià (Greece) in 2022, and the 9th Training Academy on Cultural Routes, which will be organised in Fontainebleau in cooperation with the certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe “Impressionisms Routes”, were also presented at the event.
The Forum was attended online by some 500 participants from 50 countries, Presidents and Managers among the 45 certified Cultural Routes, Representatives from International Organisations (European Union, UNESCO, UNWTO, BSEC, OEI), NGOs, local and regional authorities, academics and professionals in the cultural tourism sector.
The complete text of the “Declaration of the 10th Annual Advisory Forum on Cultural Routes: Resilient and Sustainable Cultural Routes” is available here.
The complete programme, working documents and videos of the 10th Cultural Routes Annual Advisory Forum 2021 are available here.