The IMPACTOUR project proposes to bring together Cultural Tourism (CT) related stakeholders and researchers to achieve new approaches taking advantage of the large amounts of information that confront policy-makers.

The project will deliver an innovative methodology and tool (combining data analytics algorithms with artificial intelligence and machine learning strategies) providing CT stakeholders with strategic guidance so that policies and practices on CT can be improved.

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

IMPACTOUR involves 12 partners from 9 European countries, including cultural tourism developers, research institutions and policy makers at both European and national level. From Estonia, the Tourism Development Center of Enterprise Estonia and the Institute of Baltic Studies participate as a research partner.

The project will provide 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. To measure impacts, key indicators will be collected and proposed, which will allow each cultural tourism destination to identify the impacts themselves and evaluate the tool. The tool methodology will be developed in cooperation with cultural tourism destinations and networks across Europe through a total of 15 pilot projects. After that the tool will be validated by 5 partners from all over Europe, and Estonia will participate in a project to develop Tartu’s smart city and cultural tourism destination.

The project will 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.

Depending on the destination, the share of cultural tourism is estimated at 40-50% on average globally. This means that culture is either the main reason for traveling or an important activity while at your destination. 35% of Estonian foreign visitors have mentioned cultural tourism, including architecture, cultural and sporting events, manors as travel motivation (according to the data of the 2016-2017 foreign visitors survey). Of the EUR 1.98 billion in Estonian tourism exports in 2018, this will mean services consumed by foreign visitors in Estonian companies for nearly EUR 600 million.