Innovation and Capacity Building in Higher Education for Cultural Management, Hospitality and Sustainable Tourism in European Cultural Routes (CULTOUR+) is a Strategic Partnership (SP) of universities, local governments, SMEs and NGOs, that following the mainlines of the Higher Education Modernisation Agenda, is offering high quality and innovative courses and tools, integrating innovation, international mobility and cross-border cooperation to enhance capacity building in higher education curricula in the fields of cultural tourism and hospitality, cultural management and shared cultural heritage.
Participating organizations share the concern, expertise and experience in proving that cultural management, sustainable tourism and European Cultural Routes and Heritage can be a source to promote creative, high-quality work for young graduate and postgraduate entrepreneurs. As well as SME generation, networking, co-working and clustering, CULTOUR+ promotes intercultural dialogue and other transversal skills, specially, creativity, entrepreneurship, cooperation and global awareness.
Cultour+ is coaching a small number of selected business plans and projects, taking them as real life examples and models through the training program, aiming to take them as far as possible in their first starting-up phase. This way, expertise and learning is highly concentrated in a reduced number of projects selected by their innovation and originality, sustainability and employment creation capacity.
As general objectives, CULTOUR+ brings to European higher education those stated by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes:
- to reinforce the potential of Cultural Routes for cultural cooperation, sustainable territorial development and social cohesion, with a particular focus on themes of symbolic importance for European unity, history, culture and values and the discovery of less well-known destinations.
- to strengthen the democratic dimension of cultural exchange and tourism through the involvement of grassroots networks and associations, local and regional authorities, universities and professional organisations.
- to contribute to the preservation of a diverse heritage through theme-based and alternative tourist itineraries and cultural projects.
- to give rise to long-term multilateral co-operation projects in priority areas (scientific research; heritage conservation and enhancement; cultural and educational exchanges among young Europeans; contemporary cultural and artistic practices; cultural tourism and sustainable development);
CULTOUR+ will be centered, in a first phase, in two of the European Cultural Routes most important thematics for participant countries and regions: pilgrimage and religious tourism management and thermal historic towns and sites.
Based on the European Cultural Route “The Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Routes”, as a transnational model of inspiration, imitation and transformation, CULTOUR+ is connecting expertise in cultural heritage and tourism management to a selected number of significant religious routes and centers´ case studies from the participant countries.
CULTOUR+ is establishing links with different levels of authority – local, national and European – financial and governmental institutions, tourist organisations, and other bodies that would encourage future development of the routes and sites. It is also providing insights on and contribute to SMEs’ performance, innovation capacity, and network and cluster development in the partner countries cultural religious routes and sites. Chaves and Sao Pedro do Sul in Portugal are some of the inspiring models of thermal tourism management, another strategic area for most of the participant partners regions and organizations.