European cities are facing growing problems due to the high and growing demands from tourism. Different and sometimes competing requirements need to be reconciled such as maintaining the physical heritage in the context of living, developing cities; creating a viable tourist infrastructure; strengthening the cultural and social viability of local communities; balancing the interests of residents and visitors; providing a sound long-term economic development and high-quality employment opportunities; minimizing the adverse ecological impacts and promoting sustainable consumption patterns. Achieving this requires collaboration between all parties concerned including the urban governments, the private sector and non-governmental groups.
This project presents an effort to work with public-private partnerships and urban governments in Europe to develop, validate, and deploy a general framework for urban sustainable tourism partnerships that is applicable to a variety of urban municipal and development contexts. The partnership framework and the benchmark tool developed by the project will help urban policy-makers realize linkages between tourism and sustainable development, including using the principles of Agenda 21, for tourism decision-making and improved management, planning and implementation practices.
(The project's national research will be focused in Germany, Austria, Greece and Bulgaria.) The case study efforts will center on four selected cities: Heidelberg (D), Graz (A), Thessaloniki (GR), and Veliko Turnovo (BG), all of which have been internationally recognized in their sustainable development efforts and have developed tourism as a strategic economic. The inclusion of Bulgaria - an EU accession candidate - will allow assessment of obstacles and potentials for such countries to reach European norms and also to draw on existing European experience.
For further information on this project see http://cordis.europa.eu.