EUROPETOUR – Developing cultural tourism networks in rural areas of Europe

Since 2011, the cultural tourism network KIRA developed and managed by the German association “Kultur und Arbeit” has been working on providing support to cultural tourism institutions, their employees and partners across the areas of the Taubertal, Hohenlohe and the country around Heilbronn. Now, its 250 members are set to benefit from another great achievement: The funding of the association by the European Commission as part of the EUROPETOUR project.Apart from “Kultur und Arbeit”, the tourism destination management company “Heilbronner Land” is another beneficiary located in the area Heilbronn-Franken. All members of the KIRA network as well as the local tourism associations are to be granted access to this unique knowledge exchange with colleagues from across Europe, including the development of cultural tourism skillsets and guidelines thanks to EUROPETOUR.

Networking as key to success

EUROPETOUR is a so-called “Strategic partnership” of the ERASMUS+ educational training programme. It brings together five different cultural tourism networks, all of them in various stages of development: The KIRA network of the Heilbronn-Franken region, the Austrian network “Kreativ Reisen Österreich – Creative Tourism Austria”, the German-Polish “Klosterland” network, the network of Moldavian churches in the Roman area Bukovina as well as the network “Future for Religious Heritage”.

In addition, two European regions – Spanish Cantabria as well as the Italian Marche region – are to build up their own cultural tourism networks during the project period.


Heilbronn-Franken set to benefit

“This is a tremendous success for our region, rich and unique in its cultural heritage”, managing director Dr. Karin Drda-Kühn is proud saying. First of all, the project aims at identifying the necessary steps for successful cultural tourism development in rural areas. In a second step, guidelines for local stakeholders wishing to develop or foster their own skills are established, including guidelines for the use of Social Media as well as online marketing in cultural heritage, and cultural tourism. One particular such guideline has already been developed by the KIRA network in 2013. It will be further translated into seven different European languages and spread across Europe.


European travellers on their way to discover cultural heritage

All project partners to EUROPETOUR have committed to developing networked, tangible offers and ready-made packages across Europe. In this way, travellers with a special interest in, say, castles and monasteries or creative travel, should end up with a tailor-made travel arrangement allowing them to explore the Italian region Marche, the Spanish region Cantabria or the German region of the Taubertal in a similar way. Opportunities provided by Social Media as well as the use of mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, are to be directly addressed. The goal is to generate income for cultural tourism stakeholders, to develop attractive packages for cultural travellers and to benefit from the best-practice examples demonstrated by the project partners across Europe.

“We are really happy to see our many years of experience in regional development and cultural tourism networks contributing to a successful outcome of EUROPETOUR”, Karin Drda-Kühn says. Receiving support from the European Union does not only raise the profile of local networks, but also ensures their continuous development, especially with regards to education and qualification. EUROPETOUR successfully secured 321.000 Euros of funding until autumn 2018, being one of 38 funded projects against some 300 competitors. These funds are to be distributed among the participating cultural tourism networks, the tourism stakeholders and partner regions in Germany, Poland, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy and Belgium. Karin Drda-Kühn: “What brings us together is our common belief in the power of cultural tourism to provide income for people in rural areas, and in the power of networks as key to success. This is what we have set out to do as a transnational team.”


More about EUROPETOUR from the website of “Kultur und Arbeit” (German only):

Contact: Dr. Karin Drda-Kühn Tel.: + 44 7931-56 36 374 or


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