TexTOUR: innovative and sustainable tourism policies and strategies

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Discover TexTOUR, an EU-funded project, and innovative and sustainable tourist policies and strategies aiming at the enhancement of impoverished areas both inside and outside the EU. Participants in eight pilot programmes representing a variety of society sectors will be involved in the construction of Cultural Tourism Labs.  

TexTOUR aims to develop a variety of approaches to rural and urban development, as well as deprived remote and peripheral areas. The diverse and complementary characteristics of the pilots will result in a range of scenarios for inland and coastal communities, rural and urban areas, and deprived remote and peripheral environments.


Scientific and technical objectives

  • Identify the difficulties that certain regions face when promoting and enhancing their cultural heritage
  • Demonstrate that cooperation between regions and countries can encourage cultural tourism development and socio-economic growth in regions
  • Set out sustainable cultural tourism strategies
  • Integrate the generated knowledge into a platform to support policymakers and practitioners in assessing cultural tourism strategies and services
  • Test the platform in the eight selected pilots

Socio-economic objectives

  • Create an adaptable inclusive and modular investment strategy
  • Foster local capacity building in the pilots and their local communities
  • Understand how cultural tourism can promote local development
  • Create an overarching, inclusive and modern European identity based on a network of local identities”


TExTOUR impacts can be put into four categories:

Policy impacts

By analyzing current trends and identifying best practices, develop new policies and strategies for cultural tourism.

Economic impacts

Assist in developing new policy approaches through public-private partnerships and advise on how best to use European structural funds.

Social impacts

Maintain the cultural identity of Europe, including minority cultures.

Research impacts

Develop actionable data for assessing synergies involved in cultural tourism policies and program implementation.

Cultural impact

Utilize Cultural Tourism Labs to enhance the value of cultural heritage, understand tourism diversity, and enhance the attractiveness and accessibility of sites.

Discover the Pilots

The project aims to boost entrepreneurship and develop personalized approaches to sustainable tourism while involving the local community in all aspects of the project. The 8 pilots are unique locations with various cultural heritage and specific needs.

We will give you a summary of the impact and objectives of the pilots within TexTOUR to truly demonstrate in practice how the project is capable of being adapted around the world.

The project is already doing so with TExTOUR’s five chosen  “Scalable Territories”  for replicating the bottom-up approach of setting out actions that are in line with the project’s spirit.

 These sites offer a variety of scenarios, including inland, coastal, rural, urban, deprived, and peripheral areas with multiple challenges. 

The five replicator sites are Caretos na região de Trás-os-Montes in Portugal, Eco Museum Zagori in Greece, Itinerarium Rosalie in Italy, Menjez Village in Lebanon, and Sabbioneta in Italy.

Crespi D’Adda

As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Lombardy region, Crespi d’Adda, a picturesque village built by the Crespi family between the 1800s and 1900s, is an exceptional example of a company town.

Within TExTOUR, Crespi D’Adda aims at:

  • Increasing the visibility of the site and improving the experience for tourists
  • Stimulating the local economy and tourism, through the production and marketing of new services
  • Preserving the industrial and cultural landscape
  • Raising people’s awareness of the cultural landscape initiative
  • Establishing integrated management with the other UNESCO sites in the Lombardy Region”


As part of the Narva Pilot cultural tourism project, Narva’s post-industrial Kreenholm district is being explored as a former textile manufacturing facility. Since its Russian-speaking population has made the area part of Narva’s cultural heritage, the region faces challenges such as minority dynamics, mixed identity, and shifting geopolitics.

Within TExTOUR, Narva aims at:

  • Understanding the heritage value and potential through stakeholder engagement activities
  • Organising living-lab events that combine film, augmented reality and design.
  • Promoting cultural tourism through better use of (or new) Kreenholm’s infrastructure and socio-cultural capacities
  • Positioning and enrolling of Narva Kreenholm complex and Narva city as an important post-industrial heritage and cultural tourism node in trans-regional and international platforms”


Located in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, the Umgebindeland consists of Upper Lusatia, Görlitz/Zgorcelec, the Zittau Mountains, Northern Bohemia, and Lower Silesia.

Named after “Umgebinde” houses, the region offers potential for cultural tourism due to its late Middle Ages cultural landscape and modern industrialization.

Within TExTOUR, Umgebindeland aims at:

  • Stimulating the local economy and tourism through the production and marketing of regional high-quality products (local textile industries)
  • Giving inclusive economic perspectives to minorities
  • Preserving the “Umgebindehäuser” and the natural and cultural landscape
  • Raising people’s awareness of the potential of the cultural landscape
  • Establishing an effective tri-national management system”

Via Regia

Via Regia is Europe’s oldest and longest road link, connecting 8 countries. In 2006 the VIA REGIA was designated as a “Cultural Route.” TExTOUR takes an in-depth look at smaller cultural heritage areas, such as Rivnenska in Ukraine. The project aims to promote cultural tourism, strengthen transnational cooperation, and foster a sense of belonging between Europe’s regions and localities.

Within TExTOUR, VIA REGIA aims at:

  • Upgrading poor public infrastructure
  • Enhancing and creating new tourism services
  • Training tourism professionals in the area”


Trebinje, a border city in Bosnia-Herzegovina, has a rich urban fabric spanning various historical and cultural periods. Although efforts are being made to promote the city as a tourist destination, it still has much less cultural tourism than neighbouring UNESCO sites, particularly Dubrovnik and Kotor.

Within TExTOUR, TREBINJE aims at:

  • Redirecting tourist flows, boosting cultural tourism in Trebinje while decongesting overloaded areas within a critical carrying capacity condition – and collaborating beyond borders and historical disagreements
  • Raising awareness of the common and universal values of cultural heritage and the multiple roles they may play
  • Training local inhabitants and stakeholders through workshops or local events
  • Collecting useful data to help local stakeholders, and cultural and tourism managers in the decision-making processes”

Tarnowskie Góry

In Upper Silesia, Tarnowskie Góry was a significant industrial city in the 16th century, known for its mining of silver, lead, and zinc. It was closely associated with the Industrial Revolution due to its early steam technology.UNESCO has designated the post-mining heritage as a World Heritage Site and a part of the Industrial Monuments Route.


  • Sharing experience with other similar sites
  • Conducting scientific research on the environmental impact of post-industrial cultural tourism
  • Developing a model for managing cultural routes
  • Integrating components of cultural routes with local development policy and strengthening the involvement of entrepreneurs
  • Improving fund-raising mechanisms for revitalization, maintenance and promotion of facilities
  • Creating innovative tools to manage and promote cooperation in the field of culture tourism”

Vale do Côa – Siega Verde

UNESCO has declared the Prehistoric Rock Art Sites of Côa Valley (Portugal) and Siega Verde (Spain) a world heritage site. They are notable open-air ensembles of Paleolithic art. Despite protection and designation as cultural heritage sites, these sites show the iconographic themes and organization in Palaeolithic rock art. However, the exploitation of the Siega Verde site is less known, and the Spanish portion of the site is less explored.

WithinTExTOUR, Vale do Coa – Siega Verde aim at:

  • Sharing experience with other Pilot sites
  • Developing a common cultural tourism strategy between the two sites based on what they have in common and what differentiates them, thus promoting tourist flow between the two sites
  • Developing communication strategies with local populations and stakeholders, raising awareness of the importance of Paleolithic rock art, for the conservation of this millenary heritage and showing the economic potential of cultural tourism for these regions
  • Improving knowledge supported by new archaeological data and 3D recording of rock art
  • Promoting a transfer of scientific knowledge and developing a cultural management strategy that involves local communities
  • Integrating Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Region”

Anfeh – Fikardou

Located 70 km north of Beirut, Anfeh has olive trees, coastal activities, archaeological remains, and a historical Greek-Orthodox monastery. Sun and beach tourism are thriving, but they threaten local trade. Anfeh’s heritage management is seeking to revitalize the salt industry.

The city of Fikardou, a traditional mountain settlement in Cyprus, received the Europa Nostra award in 1987 for its architecture and natural surroundings from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Both Anfeh and Fikardou, now listed on the UNESCO Tentative List, are committed to high-quality protection and management of their unique components. They also foster harmonious relationships between built and natural environments.

“Within TExTOUR, Anfeh and Fikardou aim at:

  • Exchanging ideas and experiences about management procedures and conservation of the built and landscape heritage and their adaptive reuse
  • Reinforcing local typical products at a high-quality level and contributing to their marketing
  • Cooperating in cultural tourism and cultural heritage diplomacy
  • Inserting more tourism activity in the local economies through longer stays and willingness to return
  • Increasing the visibility of the sites and experiences for inbound visitors and tourists
  • Preserving the cultural landscape and bringing awareness for the cultural heritage of the sites and the cultural landscape initiative”

Explore multiple resources! 

The MUST see:

  1. Adapting Methods and Tools for Participatory Heritage-Based Tourism Planning to Embrace the Four Pillars of Sustainability
  2. Policy Recommendations by Horizon2020 Sustainable Cultural Tourism Projects
  3. TExTOUR Guidelines for cultural tourism development 
  4. Co-developed Cultural Tourism: Seven-step guideline

Our take

TexTOUR’s website and resources are fantastic and offer a wealth of information. TExTOUR has it all: local community, sustainable tourism, boosting entrepreneurship, personalised approach and so much more to explore and love! Not to mention a fantastic website and resources! The 8 pilots are all wonderful and unique locations and feature a variety of cultural heritage and specific needs. The Scalable Territories offer researchers a lot more data to work with and serve as a proof of concept for the project’s deliverables.  Overall, TexTOUR is an excellent example of a sustainable and innovative approach to tourism development that can be adapted around the world.

I want to learn more:



Scalable Territories

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