Volos.- The Magnesia Declaration on Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development was launched at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London by the CHIRON Cultural Tourism Network, as part of the World Responsible Tourism Day (WRTD) activities.
The Governor (Nomarchis) of Magnesia, Dr Apostolos Papatolias was present at the launch of the “Magnesia Declaration” at WTM, as well as the Deputy Governor for Tourism and Culture and President of the Tourism Promotion Committee of Magnesia, Ms Evi Adamaki-Tzavella and the CHIRON Co-ordinator, Mr Manos Vougioukas.
The Magnesia Declaration “Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development”, signed by the CHIRON project partners, builds on previous declarations and charters, namely:
– the International Cultural Tourism Charter “Managing Tourism at Places of Heritage Significance” (1999) by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
-the Cardiff Declaration of European Cultural Tourism Netwrk (ECTN) on Cultural Tourism (July 2005)
-the Malta Declaration on Cultural Tourism: its Encouragement and Control, by the Europa Nostra Congress (May 2006)
-the Gothenburg Declaration of the European Cultural Tourism Network (ETCN) on Cultural Tourism (November 2006)
-the results of the annual European Tourism Forum organised by the European Commission Tourism Unit.
The Declaration acknowledges that:
-Cultural Tourism is the fastest growing sector of European tourism and can contribute to the sustainability and competitiveness of tourism in the European Union and its neighbouring countries
-Europe has the richest Cultural Heritage and Identity in the world which enriches visitors and contributes to inter-cultural dialogue and understanding, including between EU member states, candidate and neighbouring countries
-The tourism sector can facilitate the conservation of cultural heritage, a process that requires responsibility, integrity, cooperation and commitment by all concerned
-Local communities should be fully involved in conserving cultural heritage sites and in the promotion of sustainable tourism
-The development of tourist destinations is linked to their cultural distinctiveness
-Creating the right balance between the needs of the cultural environment and the development of competitiveness of destinations requires an integrated approach where all shareholders share the same objectives
-Sustainable tourism is crucial for the preservation and enhancement of Europe`s cultural heritage
-Concrete benefits to the tourism sector may be achieved by facilitating partnerships at all levels and with all actors, including transnational partnerships
-The creation of new tourism products, such as cultural tourism, plays an important role in increasing tourism participation
-There is a need to plan towards sustainable development of tourism and in particular the development of cultural tourism.
The CHIRON partners declare to adopt the above relevant previous Declarations and in addition:
-To strengthen the planning procedures and instruments for cultural tourism, particularly in the form of strategy plans for the spatial development planning for cultural tourism
-To strengthen the information means, channels and materials for the promotion, education, study and awareness-raising of prospective visitors before, during and after their visits, including creation of multilingual material and Visitor Information Centres
-To create place marketing frameworks, strategies, plans and channels for cultural tourism in all forms
-To strengthen the sustainability and competitiveness of European tourism through cultural routes and cultural landscapes
-To encourage and facilitate the networking of cultural tourism destinations.
The CHIRON Project Partnership, strongly calls upon Destinations:
-To establish an enlarged Network of Cultural Tourism Destinations that will apply, update, enhance and further disseminate the project’s outputs
-To work together towards the development and promotion of Cultural Tourism, in accordance with relevant documents, instruments and initiatives of the European Union
-To raise awareness for the preservation of Cultural Heritage for Tourism Development, in increasing social and economic cohesion, sustainability and competitiveness of European tourism.
Furthermore, the CHIRON Project Partnership, strongly calls upon European Union Institutions:
-To assist, fund, facilitate and support schemes, initiatives and pilot actions in the field of cultural tourism development and promotion
-To support the work of pan-European Networks for the development and promotion of Cultural Tourism
-To promote the advantages of Cultural Tourism in relation to sustainable development, the environment, climatic change, employment creation, cohesion and competitiveness
-To facilitate the co-funding of actions and services of Quality Cultural Tourism, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe including candidate and neighbouring countries, on the basis of the expected sustainability, cohesion and competitiveness benefits.
The Declaration concludes by encouraging other local and regional authorities, cultural associations, tourism promotion agencies and NGOs throughout Europe to adopt this declaration and to join the CHIRON partners in the establishment of the enlarged Network through NECTAR, working together for the development and promotion of Cultural Tourism in Europe.
The Declaration is been submitted to the European Parliament Committees on Tourism and Culture, European Commission, the EU Committee of the Regions, Europa Nostra and UNWTO.
CHIRON has adopted the principles and practices of Responsible Tourism and was at WTM wishing to contribute to WRTD by highlighting its commitment to responsible tourism development, through conservation of cultural and natural heritage, involving local people at all stages of tourism development, promoting greater understanding of local cultures, improving accessibility to cultural assets and building local pride and confidence.
CHIRON aimed to develop and promote cultural tourism in a sustainable and responsible way, through strategic planning towards local and regional socio-economic development and cohesion. In this sense, local stakeholder groups have been established in the form of a Cultural Tourism Forum involving tourism and cultural bodies from public, private and voluntary sectors, a 5-Year Strategy Plan for the development and promotion of Cultural Tourism has been prepared for each of the seven partner destinations.
In addition local pilot actions include: Visitor Information Centres have been established and staffed following suitable training, cultural landscapes have been promoted for tourism and a series of promotion and marketing tools are being developed (guides, DVDs, plans, internet, etc) in order to promote local distinctiveness and characteristics (eg local products, local cuisine, handicrafts, industrial heritage, specialised museums, fine arts, festivals, folkrore, mythology, history and archaeology).
CHIRON brought together for the first time a number of organisations concerned with cultural tourism and responsible tourism in Central and South-Eastern Europe. CHIRON now forms a permanent network of destinations, regions and agencies from public, private and voluntary sectors committed to the development and promotion of Cultural Tourism, also based on the principles and best practices of Responsible Tourism.
Lead Partner: Magnesia Land of the Centaurs, Mount Pelion and peninsula Islands of Northern Sporades, Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos Beautiful and dynamic city of Volos, the city of the Argonauts, Olympic city in 2004 and host city of the 2013 Mediterranean Games Neolithic settlements of Dimini and Sesklo
Responsible Tourism Principles and Practice
CHIRON and Magnesia have adopted the principles and practices of Responsible Tourism through conservation of cultural and natural heritage involving local people at all stages of tourism development promoting greater understanding of local cultures improving accessibility to cultural assets building local pride and confidence
CHIRON Project Results
– CHIRON developed and promoted cultural tourism in a sustainable and responsible way, through strategic planning towards local and regional socio-economic development and cohesion
– Local stakeholder groups have been established in the form of a Cultural Tourism Forum involving tourism and cultural bodies from public, private and voluntary sectors
– A 5-Year Strategy Plan for the development and promotion of Cultural Tourism has been prepared for each of the seven partner destinations
– Visitor Information Centres have been established and staffed following suitable training
– Cultural landscapes have been promoted for tourism
– Marketing tools have being developed (multi-lingual guides, DVDs, websites, etc) to promote local distinctiveness and characteristics (eg local products, local cuisine, handicrafts, industrial heritage, specialised museums, fine arts, festivals, folklore, mythology, history and archaeology)