With the aim of boosting tourism in the Atlantic area, six European regions have agreed to work together on the AtlanticCultureScape project, which will focus on promoting the culture of the sea, with traditional woodwork on the riverbanks or fishing and textile arts as common links that unite the Atlantic communities, an intangible heritage, sometimes little protected and barely visible, which this project seeks to identify and enhance, with the ultimate aim of generating authentic cultural experiences that will ultimately result in an increase in tourist visits.
This European project involves Galicia, Cantabria, Andalusia, the Maior River in Portugal, areas of Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland and is funded by 1.5 million euros from the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme through the European Regional Development Fund, which aims to collectively promote these intangible cultural heritage experiences which, in turn, will strengthen and complement tourism in the Atlantic area.
The University of Vigo, which will have a contribution of more than 270 thousand euros for the development of the project, is one of the six partner entities, setting its objectives in the identification and development of this intangible cultural heritage, focusing on its protection and conservation. The Newry, Morne and Down District Council, which acts as general coordinator; the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority; the Río Maior Municipality in Portugal; the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland; the Autonomous Government of Cantabria and the Andalusian Agency of Cultural Institutions will work together with UVigo. Eleven associated entities have also signed the support document, including the Galician Tourism Cluster, the Agência de Promoção de la Cultura Atlántica and Tourism Northern Ireland.
Studying, inventorying and publicizing intangible heritage
The ultimate aim of AtlanticCultureScapes is to support rural communities in the pursuit of sustainable economic development generated transnationally but locally appropriate through the recovery, protection and enhancement of cultural resources inspired by landscapes and seascapes in order to help improve the lives of those who live, work and visit these environments by fostering sustainable economic growth, taking into account the environment, developing innovative mechanisms and using creative solutions to common problems. This will encourage the creation of innovative heritage products, an Intangible Heritage Route in the Atlantic Area and a transnational marketing programme that will favour greater recognition and visibility of intangible cultural heritage in the Atlantic area.
Pilar Muñoz, lecturer at the Department of Financial Economics and Accounting, principal researcher at the University of Vigo in the project, points out that an inventory will be made of “the intangible heritage of each area and a sustainability plan will be drawn up to contain possible impacts of tourism on heritage”, carrying out a pilot project in which good tourist practices relating to the cultural and intangible heritage will be determined, allowing a sustainable development of the area analysed and determining the common points of the Atlantic area.