LIVING LAB sustainable & resilient tourism

On February 11, we have launched a first LIVING LAB in Croatia dedicated to sustainable and resilient cultural tourism development in Split Metropolitan region. This lab is the vital output of SmartCulTour project, one of three projects financed from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme focused on sustainable cultural tourism development.

“Sustainable cultural tourism is a vital part of regional and macro-regional development strategies. In this regard, culture is both a driver and an enabler of sustainable development. Given the possible adverse effects of over-tourism and its impact on cultural heritage, some local communities and heritage experts have opposed tourism and its associated development.

Sustainable cultural tourism offers a new perspective, as it places cultural heritage and local communities at the centre of decision-making processes. Involving local communities and other stakeholders in the decision-making processes is key to ensuring results benefit both cultural heritage and the local population. The objective of sustainable cultural tourism is to ensure good conservation practices along with authentic interpretation that supports the local economy.” (Sustainable cultural tourism | Culture and Creativity)

The objectives of the labs are to set up a community of practice and create a bi-directional flow of information between multi-actor organisations, develop capacities, identify successful ways and provide input and feedback, as well as testing and trialling the project outputs, including SRT framework, the SmartCulTour Game and the SmartCulTour Platform. The living lab will:

  • Provide structure and design protocols to engage multiple stakeholders, representing different perspectives and interests;
  • Raise awareness and develop capacities of stakeholders for the implementation of relevant international standards, using methodologies and tools developed within the framework of UNESCO;
  • Assist the co-creation of the context-specific SRT frameworks, the SmartCulTour Game and Platform, through dialogue, reflection and learning;
  • Provide, discuss and evaluate the state-of-the-art (WP3);
  • Remove major barriers for the uptake of potentially successful cultural tourism interventions;
  • Measure the effects of cultural tourism and cultural tourism interventions on sustainability and resilience, via the SRT framework.

In our living lab currently, we are focused on identifying needs and priorities with critical stakeholders’ help to set up a three-year working plan. I am privileged to be appointed as a living lab manager and leader of this process. I am grateful for the help and support of colleagues from the Faculty of economic, business and tourism, University of Split, particularly team members from my Department of tourism and economy, whose longterm experience in strategic tourism planning is essential in this process.

If you are interested in discussing or joining this brilliant initiative, fell free to contact me,

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