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Knowledge category: Projects

Beyond CULtural TOURism: human-centred innovations for sustainable and circular cultural tourism

Updated on 12.04.2023

Consumer-oriented, ‘fast-food’ cultural tourism can bring negative environmental, social, and cultural impacts on local communities and ecosystems. Be.CULTOUR develops strategies to promote an understanding of cultural tourism that puts humans and circular economy models at its centre, paying attention to nature, communities and cultural diversity.

Acronym: Be.CULTOUR
Countries: Belgium, Republic of Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden
Project website:
Start and end date: 01.02.2021 - 31.01.2024
Budget: 4 097 203 EUR
Funding source: Horizon 2020

More information

Cultural tourism brings opportunities but also risks. If not managed properly, it can easily turn into a value-extractive industry. The EU-funded Be.CULTOUR project develops strategies to promote an understanding of cultural tourism that moves away from a so-called ‘stop-and-go’, consumer-oriented approach. It focuses on the ‘place’ as the genius loci, the ancient spirit of the place, and the ‘people’ as co-creators of its uniqueness, culture, art, tradition, folklore, productivity and spirituality.
Wide and diversified partnerships of stakeholders from 18 EU and non-EU regions of Northern-Central and Southern Europe, the Balkans, the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Mediterranean are the driving force of the project. A community of 300 innovators (including regional authorities and municipalities, clusters and associations, museums and tourist boards, entrepreneurs, chambers of commerce, citizens, researchers, practitioners as well as project partners) is co-creating innovative, place-based solutions for human-centred and circular cultural tourism in six pilot regions:

  • Aragon (city, incl. mountain areas and forests of Cultural Park of Río Martín)
  • Basilicata (province/county, incl. mountain areas, forests, agricultural zones)
  • Larnaca (city, incl. coastal areas)
  • Romania – Moldova Cross-Border Area (province/county)
  • Västra Götaland (province/county)
  • Vojvodina (province/county)

Collaborative heritage innovation networks are being established in six deprived, remote, peripheral and deindustrialised areas and cultural landscapes, identified as ‘pilot heritage sites’. These sites have clearly defined challenges relating to cultural tourism and requiring innovation, which will serve as the basis for the collaboration with 12 additional ‘mirror ecosystems’.

Relevance for Circular Systemic Solutions

The overarching goal of Be.CULTOUR is to co-create and test sustainable, human-centred innovations for circular cultural tourism through collaborative innovation networks, methodologies and improved investment strategies. Targeting deprived, remote, peripheral or deindustrialised areas, cultural landscapes and over-exploited areas, local heritage innovation networks are co-developing a long-term, heritage-led development project. This enhances inclusive economic growth, communities’ wellbeing and resilience, nature regeneration, and effective cooperation at cross-border, regional and local level.

Horizon programme(s) and/or topic(s)


  • H2020-EU.3.6.: SOCIETAL CHALLENGES - Europe In A Changing World - Inclusive, Innovative And Reflective Societies (Main programme)
  • H2020-EU. Explore new forms of innovation, with special emphasis on social innovation and creativity and understanding how all forms of innovation are developed, succeed or fail
  • H2020-EU. The mechanisms to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
  • H2020-EU. Study European heritage, memory, identity, integration and cultural interaction and translation, including its representations in cultural and scientific collections, archives and museums, to better inform and understand the present by richer interpretations of the past
  • H2020-EU. Research into European countries' and regions' history, literature, art, philosophy and religions and how these have informed contemporary European diversity


  • TRANSFORMATIONS-04-2019-2020: Innovative approaches to urban and regional development through cultural tourism


€ 4 097 203.75 (EU contribution: € 3 993 328.75)

Responsible organisation and contact details

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Contact the project:

Project consortium partners

  • European Regions Research and Innovation Network ASBL
  • ICLEI European Secretariat GmbH (ICLEI Europasekretariat GmbH)
  • Iniziativa Cube S.R.L.
  • Uppsala Universitet
  • Haute École ICHEC - ECAM - ISFSC
  • Open Universiteit Nederland
  • Agenzia di Promozione Territoriale della Basilicata
  • Diputación Provincial de Teruel
  • Anaptyxiaki Etaireia Eparchion Larnakas ‒ Ammochostou Ltd
  • Idryma Laona Gia Tin Anaviosi Kai Prostasia Tis Kypriakis Ypaithrou Limited
  • Västra Götalandsregionen
  • Stalna konferencija gradova i opština
  • Agenția pentru Dezvoltare Regională Nord-Est
  • Asociația Obștească Verde e Moldova
Territories involved

large 500 000-200 000, medium 200 000-50 000, and small cities 50 000-5 000

Intra-territorial areas