Applications for this year’s Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism Awards are now open. The overall theme of this edition is “Smart Tourism – Smart Destinations”, encompassing Cultural Heritage & Creativity, Digitalization and Sustainability.
The Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism Awards have been organised around annual themes since 2014, at the initiative of the European Cultural Tourism Network (ECTN) and its members, for the benefit of destinations, communities, associations, businesses, citizens and visitors. Their aim is to enhance the visibility of European cultural tourism destinations, create a platform for sharing experience and knowledge and promote networking between destinations.
The Awards Contest is open to all tourist destinations across Europe – national, regional and local authorities, tourism boards and associations, destination management organizations, museums, interpretation centres, cultural routes, festivals and cultural NGOs – to showcase their results and outputs in sustainable cultural tourism under several selected categories each year.
The Awards will be given for achievements by cultural tourist destinations which have produced significant results related to enhancing visitor experience while respecting traditions and involving local host communities. The 2023 edition addresses the following tangible and intangible heritage-related aspects of smart and sustainable cultural tourism development and promotion:
- Digitalisation advances and digital transition in Sustainable Cultural Tourism, including Smart Tourism and Smart Destinations initiatives closely involving culture and heritage.
- History and Heritage: ancestry and heritage-related experiences in connection with historic places and events (places of memory, contemplation and commemoration), which exerted an influence in history.
- Riverside heritage: sites and territories that have valorised a strong relation with their river through activities and experiences that both take the economic and social role of fluvial culture and heritage in tourism actions.
- Transnational Thematic Tourism Products, on culture and heritage, including those related to European Cultural Routes, European Heritage Label and/or cross-border cultural tourism initiatives (involving at least two European countries, not necessarily neighbouring).
- Religious, Pilgrimage and Spiritual Tourism: places of worship, travel for religious or spiritual purposes, walking tourism, visiting religious monuments, festivals and artefacts.
- Traditional Skills, Crafts and Creativity in Smart and Sustainable Cultural and Creative Tourism activities (add-on to the European Year of Skills 2023).
Destinations have until 1 June 2023 to submit their applications under one of the above categories, presenting projects or initiatives that have been completed over the past 3 years. Award winners will be recognised as examples of excellence, inspiring other tourist destinations and stimulating further development of smart and sustainable cultural tourism initiatives.
The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony, to be held during the 16th International Conference for Cultural Tourism on the theme of “Smart Tourism – Smart Destinations: Cultural Heritage & Creativity, Digitalisation, Sustainability”, organised by ECTN on 18-21 October 2023 in Pafos, Cyprus.
The 2023 edition is the 6th one organised by ECTN in partnership with Europa Nostra, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and the Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism (NECSTouR), in the framework of ‘European Capital of Smart Tourism Pafos 2023’ and the ReInHerit Horizon2020 Coordination and Support Action. It follows on from the 2018 edition of the Awards which was held as a contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH2018) and the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 editions, by a similar partnership that aims to contribute towards the legacy of EYCH2018 through relevant EU initiatives.