Within the IMPACTOUR project, that is supported by a EUR 2.9 million grant from the highly competitive European Commission Horizon 2020 R&D Program, the Institute of Baltic Studies will help develop an easy-to-use methodology and innovative web-based tool for measuring and assessing the impact of cultural tourism.

In particular, the economic and social impact of cultural tourism on the destination will be addressed. Key indicators will be collected and proposed to measure impacts, which will allow each cultural tourism destination to identify the impacts themselves and evaluate the tool. The tool and methodology will be designed with the help of 15 pilots through various cultural tourism destinations and networks and after the tool is completed it will be validated by 5 pilot partners across Europe, one of which is also a pilot for developing Tartu smart city and cultural tourism destination.

The 12 partners from 9 European countries will also collect examples of good and ineffective practices and make recommendations for the sustainable development of the cultural tourism business model, maximizing positive impacts and minimizing negative impacts, applying the principles of sustainable development.

The role of the Institute of Baltic Studies is to analyze the links between cultural tourism and economic development, to propose impact assessment approaches and to contribute to the application of innovative data analytical techniques (big data, social media, traffic data, mobile positioning) to assess impacts in cultural tourism.

Cultural tourism is an important source of jobs, economic and social development in Europe’s urban and rural regions. In 2017, UNWTO has articulated the meaning of cultural tourism as a visitor experience that can be used to learn, discover, experience and consume the destination’s physical cultural attractions and attractions as well as its heritage. Cultural tourism is related to material, intellectual, spiritual and emotional experiences, which are mediated through art and architecture, historical and cultural heritage, but also through culinary, literature, music, creative industries, living arts and lifestyles, expressed in values, beliefs and traditions.

Depending on the destination, the share of cultural tourism is estimated at 40% on average globally. This means that culture is either the main reason for traveling or an important activity while at your destination. 35% of foreign visitors visiting Estonia have mentioned cultural tourism as a travel motivation for visiting Estonia, including architecture, cultural and sports events, manors (based on 2016-2017 foreign visitors survey data). Of the EUR 1.98 billion of Estonian tourism exports in 2018, this will mean services consumed by foreign visitors in various Estonian companies for nearly EUR 600 million.