New EC initiative “Crossroads of Europe” to promote European Cultural and Religious Routes

The European Commission organises the first annual event “Crossroads of Europe” whose aim is to highlight places and routes in Europe associated with a coming together of different cultures. For the first year, the event  will be focused on cultural and religious routes and it will take place  in Pavia (Italy) from 6th to 10th June 2012.  ‘Crossroads of Europe’ is also an occasion to meet possible partners to join efforts and organise or promote activities around a cultural route.

This annual event is intended to raise awareness among citizens on the values that the cultural routes promote and on the need for a new kind of tourism, which is slow, respectful of the environment, of the natural and cultural heritage, of the local traditions (hence sustainable).

From June, 6 to June, 10 a fair will take place: there will be stands, exhibitions, photographic contests, eno-gastronomic tastes. On June, 7 a conference is scheduled on religious tourism and pilgrimage routes. Apart from the main day-conference and the fair, other activities will take place, like ateliers, technical meetings, information sessions, cultural events, “study-tours”, concerts and other “animation” events.

‘Crossroads of Europe’ is open to all – cultural associations, pilgrims associations, international organisations, national and regional authorities, tourist operators, travel agents and tour operators, specialised journalists and members of the public. The event is expected to host approximately 400 participants at the main conference (the central moment of the fair) and up to 800 visitors to the fair, plus the normal tourism flows in Pavia in a period which is already high season.

Cultural routes are a good way to promote the variety and complexity of European cultural tourism offer. Being 90% of their trails in rural areas, they are for example an interesting resource for Small and Medium Enterprises, providing new markets for their products or services and calling for innovative measures.

“European Cultural Routes” are itineraries crossing several regions or countries with historical or religious origin or around a specific theme. They highlight the common history or culture of European regions and invite tourists to cross borders. Besides, they are regarded as being a sustainable, ethical and social model, because they build on local knowledge, skills and heritage assets, they often promote lesser known European destinations.

The Programme of ‘Crossroads of Europe’ is available at: ec.europa.eu/enterprise

 

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