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Pan-European Cultural Routes: A journey through Europe's shared cultural heritage

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Europe offers a wide variety of cultural tourism itineraries that, crossing several regions or countries, provide a living example of the rich and impressive European common heritage.

On the occasion of the conference ‘Cultural and Religious Routes’ in Pavia today, European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship highlighted: "The concept of cultural routes will be an important step in keeping Europe’s tourism industry at the forefront of innovative solutions and growth of SMEs in the sector. Today's tourists want to explore other and others' cultures. Europe can offer sustainable and high-quality tourism – in any season -, playing on its comparative advantages: the diversity of its countryside and extraordinary cultural wealth."

With the promotion of cultural itineraries, the European Commission aims to raise awareness on the need for a new kind of tourism, which is respectful of the environment, of the natural and cultural heritage and of the local traditions. Today European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani will highlight the Commission’s achievements and efforts to promote cultural tourism and cultural itineraries at the Crossroads of Europe conference, part of the first European festival on cultural routes. It debuts this year in Pavia, Italy (6-10 June) as the first in a series to be hosted at the intersection of different European cultural routes.

The European Commission is implementing a number of activities to support transnational tourism products based on specific themes which still have great potential for growth. In particular, it is intended to encourage the integration of SMEs into the tourism sector and to create opportunities for cooperation with tour operators, etc. The Commission has already co-financed several interesting and innovative projects of cooperation and promotion of transnational thematic tourism products via two calls for proposals amounting to 1, 2 mio from the 2011 budget. In 2012, a similar call for project proposals has been published for an amount of € 1,2 mio. The Commission is also closely cooperating with the Council of Europe on cultural routes through a several-year joint management. Last but not least, the Commission undertook the organisation of the first European festival dedicated to cultural routes in the EU.

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