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Article
october 08, 2010
A New Itinerary: Cultural Routes

We highlight in this opportunity the product Touristic Routes as an alternative to the sun- beach tourism and because of its great dynamism in promoting activities and territories.

For decades we have witnessed a shift in leisure consumption patterns leaning preferences from the extended sun-beach-rest complex to a search for other kind of experiences. Changes in social and cultural goods consumption typologies have led the tourism industry to diversify its products supply.

Between these products we highlight in this opportunity one in particular: the Cultural Routes or Touristic Routes due to its great dynamism and because it represents a key element capable to articulate numerous locations and activities. The concept of touristic route, as the itinerary that links many points connected by a particular attraction (Wine Routes, Green Routes, Coffee Routes, Castles and Sanctuaries Itineraries), is a way to standardize and structure a set of attractions over a certain area.

Among the routes that are characterized by recapture the past history and heritage of a region, the paradigmatic example is undoubtedly the Route of Santiago de Compostela. This road to the city of Santiago de Compostela was run for centuries by pilgrims from all over Europe who came to venerate the relics of the apostle Santiago Mayor (St. James). It began as a religious practice and continued over time enriched by each pilgrim, and shaping an experience that now includes both historical and cultural elements and activities to enjoy nature. Camino de Santiago was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and has been honored by the European Council as a "European Cultural Itinerary."

Cultural Routes success and proliferation in Europe, especially in the aspect of being a vehicle to cultural and historical past awareness, is deeply related to the promotion of both private and public entities. In 1998 the European Council arranged the formation of the European Institute of Cultural Routes to review, monitor and promote this kind of projects. In the European context, the product "cultural routes" is part of explicit policies and strategies often linking supra-national efforts, a good example is the Via Francigena, a medieval route that connects Canterbury with Rome, which has led to agreements between the countries through which the road runs: Italy, France, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Through the concepts of hospitality and solidarity, reminiscent of the kind of trip or pilgrimage of the past, where travelers relied on them to survive and thrive, it is aimed to strengthen the European past, the common values and a pan-European identity.

Spain has an important role in promoting its cultural heritage through cultural routes, the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Routes, the Silver Route, the Route of the Caliphate, the Route of the Spanish Language, and The Routes of the Nasrids, among many others. Other mayor European roads are the Transromanica, a guide through Romanesque castles, cathedrals and monasteries; the Phoenicians’ Route, Phoenician major shipping routes through the Mediterranean, the Route of Cistercian Abbeys, the European Cemeteries Route, etc.

Many Latin American countries are making efforts to restore and promote their heritage in a framework of visible policies to increase their tourism industries from sustainability. An example is the project of "Cohesion, Inclusion and Social Development through Sustainable Tourism - Tourist Borders", which aims to promote pre-Columbian roads of Bolivia, Argentina and Peru. Another example is the Route of “el Che” , which links Argentina, Bolivia and Cuba in a joint effort to publicize the sites that have been important in the history of the leader and his revolutionary crusade.

In these many examples we can identify a clear intention towards increasing local heritage value while creating social, economic and environmental benefit.

C4T possess the skills and experience to develop such products; if you are interested in stimulate, activate or promote your project please do not hesitate to contact us.

Luciana Asinari - C4T


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