11.10.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Memory, Identity and Responsible Tourism along the European Waterways

©Museo della Navigazione Fluviale

The International Center Civiltà dell’Acqua, in collaboration with the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy) is organizing an International workshop entitled “Memory, Identity and Responsible Tourism along the European Waterways”, which will take place on 12 and 13 October. On the first day, the venue of the workshop will be at the premises of the Castel of Catajo in Battaglia Terme (Padua). The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy) will host the second day of the event, on 13 October 2012.

The workshop through two days of debates will try to achieve various objectives, such as: the promotion at European level of a more coordinated management of “slow” tourism practices along historic waterways in order to foster their cultural and natural heritage (monuments, landscape and environment, with the related recreational activities including: typical local food tasting and farm holidays accommodation); the creation of a lasting Partnership of Institutions and Museums devoted to promoting responsible tourism practices along European waterways (European River Navigation Partnership for Responsible Tourism); the discussion on how to build a common vision of the future and of the priorities related to responsible/slow tourism; the comparison of different good practices; and, the creation of new job opportunities, creating economies of scale and greater efficiency.

The heritage of historic waterways and artificial canals represents a significant aspect of the European identity. The increase in value and the restoration of this cultural, natural and landscape heritage are crucial to foster a more “responsible” tourism vis à vis the need to protect and safeguard for future generations precious water environments.

Waiting and not acting would imply too expensive future investments.

Under the aegis of UNESCO, the workshop among Institutions and Museums devoted to river navigation is aimed to promote a European Partnership in order to support more sustainable tourism practices on historic waterways, by using ecological means of transport: preferably traditional wooden boats, or small boats with solar/low energy power motors, but also paths and routes to be enjoyed by foot, bicycle, or horse. Such an approach aims to foster an authentic dimension of “slowness” in the perspective of a lasting, sustainable development in the long run. In this process, also the local, typical food specialties and the rural accommodation in restored, traditional buildings play an important role.

The European waterways are: a potential source for socio-economic growth vis à vis some insufficiently exploited resources (cultural heritage, typical food economies, environmental pedagogy); key drivers to communicate to a large audience many ambitions in terms of lasting, sustainable development; and, a unique heritage to promote responsible, slow tourism that can preserve these artefacts from a cultural and environmental point of view.


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