Project Description

The EU is struggling to become "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion". It is common knowledge today that Europe is facing issues that were not on the political agenda at the creation of the EU, namely energy dependency, climate change, globalisation, scarcity of natural resources and the rise of a knowledge economy. In a globalised world, it is clear that all policies are in fact interrelated and mutually supportive and must be tackled with horizontal actions. PRESERVE will focus on landscape and cultural heritage policy for this holistic approach.

Tourism is a common denominator of all European regions, urban and rural, because each territory has a unique cultural heritage and landscape that deserve to be preserved. Having said that, many examples show that tourism can become a threat to the beauty and diversity of the European landscape, rather than a vehicle for economic growth, job creation or innovation, and thus may aggravate the new challenges facing the EU at this time. The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) illustrates that tourism can have negative environmental, socio-cultural and economic impacts on the host communities. In other words, Regions must be careful when developing their cultural heritage strategies, to think in sustainable terms and to use the right indicators, should they want to fully benefit from their tourism assets.

The Communication from the European Commission entitled “Agenda for a sustainable and competitive European tourism”, published on 19 October 2007 underlines the challenge for “finding the right balance between an autonomous development of the destinations and the protection of their environment on the one side and the development of a competitive economic activity on the other side”. If properly managed, the development of sustainable forms of tourism in Regions, to help preserve and promote their cultural heritage and landscape, can address a number of issues including sustainable conservation and management of natural and cultural resources, minimising resource use and pollution at tourism destinations including the production of waste, managing change in the interests of the well being of the community, reducing the seasonality of demand, addressing the environmental impact of transport linked to tourism, making tourism experiences available to all without discrimination, and improving the quality of tourism jobs.



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