'CONCERTOUR' – transport for tourism
The CONCERTOUR project, developing new strategies and solutions for sustainable tourism, has held its final conference in Rome. Participants from across Europe discussed results and looked towards further research linking tourism and transport.
© Peter Gutierrez
"Tourism depends largely on the availability of efficient transport solutions," says EU Project Officer Karsten Krause. "For example, the introduction of new low-cost airline destinations has created new opportunities for regional tourism – as well as new challenges for local transport systems and the environment. And, once you arrive at your destination, integrated transport modes or innovative offers can help make your trip more pleasant."
CONCERTOUR's overall objective has been to support EU policies on improving the competitiveness of the tourism sector. To do so, it has proposed new guidelines for tourism based on the concept of the 'whole travel itinerary'. It has also taken into account emerging tourism needs and demands, focusing on the main elements that affect the tourism market, i.e. co-modality, information and ticketing, and removing barriers to mobility and tourism.
A 'Horizontal Activity/Support Action' funded by the European Commission, CONCERTOUR includes consultancies and research organisations from seven EU countries, all working to create new synergies between transport, research and the tourism sector in Europe.
"CONCERTOUR bridges the gap and helps to understand the interdependencies between transport research and tourism," says Krause. "One of the main impacts of the project has been to highlight the role of cities and how they can better respond to the special mobility needs of tourists."
In order to develop constructive and tangible solutions, CONCERTOUR encouraged the active participation of key stakeholders, including organisations and services that deal with tourism and transport-related issues on a daily basis. Partners successfully brought together their respective visions in the form of two concrete deliverables: a new CONCERTOUR Handbook, essentially a step-by-step guide to support tourism and transport stakeholders as they make important transport-related decisions; and an Action Plan.
New tools for tourists and the tourism sector
The CONCERTOUR Action Plan is a useful reference instrument for anyone working in tourism and transport in Europe, addressing the needs of the various European tourism segments, destinations and stakeholders. It also contains advice on strategic measures to meet these needs at EU, national, and local levels. The Action Plan is also intended to convey the results of the CONCERTOUR project to a broader audience across Europe.
Call for action
The CONCERTOUR Action Plan proposes tangible measures involving infrastructure, supporting services, information schemes, incentives for stakeholder co-operation, regulation, promotion of sustainable tourism, and removing physical and psychological barriers to travel, in nine priority areas:
- Intermodality solutions
- Information services
- Booking, ticketing and payment systems
- Handling and tracking of passengers’ luggage
- Congestion, overcrowding and peak management
- Safety and security
- Local tourism mobility infrastructure and services
- 'Access for all' tourism
- Policy-driven priorities
According to CONCERTOUR partners, networking and dissemination actions have played a big part in the success of the initiative and they hope more work of this type will follow. Meanwhile, Krause says, the new FP7 calls for proposals offer opportunities to further develop some of the ideas they have explored.
case study award
At the final conference in Rome, six European city project case studies received awards as valuable initiatives for improving tourism accessibility and services. They were:
- 'Programme of unification of archaeological sites' – Athens, creating a continuous fabric of public spaces, parks, and cultural and recreational facilities, linking the city's numerous archaeological sites.
- 'The Oslo pass', a 24-, 48- or 72-hour pass for entry at 33 museums and attractions, free travel on all public transport, free parking, discounts at restaurants, special offers and much more.
- 'Railway station Paris', an integrated, environmentally friendly, high-speed train station at Charles de Gaulle Airport, providing easy and efficient intermodal connections for air and train passengers.
- 'Increased mobility for Lisbon air arrivals', a new 'aeroshuttle' service connecting Parque das Nações, the city airport and the city centre.
- 'Online multimodal information' – Rome, an Internet-based 'Infopoint' for calculating public transport and combined intermodal routes, including timetables, addresses and points of interest.
- 'Black Sea tourism' – Constanta and Dobrich, a cross-border co-operative project aimed at developing tourism and related transport services.
For more details about the case study awards, see the CONCERTOUR website.