Categorization: tourism, cultural heritage
Period: 12.07.2013 / 31.07.2016
Name: Giuseppe Avenia
Organization: Sicilian Region - Department of Cultural Heritage
Summary description: CUL.TUR.A.S is a cross-border project between Sicily and Tunisia. The project aimed to identify new models for the cultural heritage exploitation, by testing a pilot project concerning the cultural heritage enlargement and the specialisation of the tourism cross-border supply on two specific segments: underwater and cycling tourism.
EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, (iii) enhancing local community prosperity and quality of life, (iv) reducing the seasonality of demand
EU Principles: (i) taking a holistic and integrated approach (economic, social and environmental aspects), (iii) involving stakeholders, (iv) multilevel governance
Reason of interest for COASTING: The main reason why is that the project focus 2 particular niche market, for a new model of sustainable tourism in some areas where there is an excessive tourist pressure concentrated in summertime. Then, the realisation of a bottom up approach to promote local tourism development.
Budget: 1,361,000.00 €
Financial sources: 80% european funds, 20% national funds
Territorial context: Description relates the Province of Trapani and data are updated to 2015. Territory is morphologically changeable with a coastline of 294 kilometres marked by wide beaches, gulfs, cliffs and with the presence of tuna traps, castles, towers, mills and historical centres. The income per capita is € 8.850, a little bit less the regional data, but much less than the national data that is € 13.713. The unemployment rate is about 20% but the youth one is the 50%. The growing sectors are the tourist and the property ones. The agriculture sector is decreasing in spite of good performances of the wine and olive oil sectors. The province is rich of traditions, celebrations and popular events, mainly religious but even connected to agricultural and culinary products. Tourist flows seem to prefer hotels, from 1 to 5 stars. Tourist stays on average 3,64 days. The most of tourist flows are italians. Among the strangers the most are french, german and US. Tourist operators have a low tendency to associate themselves.
Relation to policies and strategies: The good practice is framed within wider sustainable tourism policies taken by the Sicilian Ministry of Tourism in the Tourist Promotion Plans in the last years. These plans have focused on the experience-based tourism, the brand reputation, niche tourism, the exploitation of cultural and landscape heritage, the culinary tourism, seasonal adjustment. They have a national and international relevance and contain actions addressed to those countries that are considered strategical to increase touristic flows in Sicily.
Regulation framework: Laws and regulations that are relevant to the good practice implementation are regulations UE, moreover those ones connected to cooperation programmes (Interreg, cross-border programmes) and SIE funds, the National Code of cultural heritage and landscape, national and regional Tourist promotion plans.
Objectives: Main objectives of the good practice are: - exploiting new tourist niches - building a new model of partnership between public bodies and private enterprises - providing an experience-based tourist - raise awareness new generations on cultural and landscape heritage - increasing technical capacity of the operators
Developers (and governance): The project involves public bodies: Regional departments of cultural heritage and of tourism, the province of Trapani, the Tunisian national tourism office and the Tunisian Institute of heritage. And then schools, private companies and diving and biker associations.
Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries of good practice are local communities and the next generations, local economic players, current and future tourists.
Innovation aspects: Innovation aspects are: - the new model of partnership between public bodies and private entrepreneurs, persuaded to trust the project and to invest their time and money to preserve and exploit for touristic purposes the routes created by the public body; - the building of new supply addressed to tourist niches before ignored; - a bottom up approach to promote local tourism development
Actions: The actions, made in both the territory (Sicilia and Tunisia) are: - Studies and marketing researches This action includes site research, analysis of the feasibility, selection of the routes. Then, an investigation on underwater tourism and an analysis of the tourist demand and supply - Social and economic animation Training to the operators, shared drafting of product specifications, creation of a "club de produit" - Marketing plans - Promotion on national and international market
Stakeholders involvement: During the project were involved: - 10 schools in the Province of Trapani and 30 in Tunisia - tourist entrepreneurs - bike associations and diving centres - local public administrations
Results achieved: Results achieved are: - 11 underwater archeological routes and 17 cycling tourism routes in Sicily and in Tunisia, in total, were realised. - Tourist demand and supply analysis in each territory (for market segment) and attention on the level of specialisation of the operators - Market research en Sicily and in Tunisia - Technical assistance to the operators and an ideas competition in Tunisia - Establishment of local and cross-border operator networks with common rules - National and international events and information, enjoyment and promotional material, for Sicily and Tunisia - Methodological manual for the exploitation of cultural heritage
Potential for learning and transfer
Challenges and obstacles: Some problems were at the beginning of the project in the relationship with the tunisian partners, probably due to the difficulty to well understand the project and to different points of view about the way to conduct common actions. Some partners were at their first experience in the cooperation projects. May be a little bit of mutual diffidence too. These problems were overcome after first meetings through which partners had opportunity to better know the project and became more confident.
Success factors: Main success factor was coordination among the partners, their professionalism and efficiency. Obviously, the goodness of the project in which, after the first period, all the partners believed strongly.
Transferability in COASTING project: The project identified a methodology, a bottom up approach to promote local tourism development, by exploiting niches of tourists very sensitive to the respect of the environment and that travel in all the period of the year. It's this kind of methodological approach that can be transferred in COASTING project.