CONCERTOUR stands for 'Concerted Innovative Approaches, Strategies, Solutions and Services Improving Mobility and European Tourism'. It was a Horizontal Activity (Support Action) project piloted by the European Commission and developed by a Consortium of seven partners: consultancies and research organisations from seven EU countries.
The tourism sector is a key driver of economic growth and employment and has a fundamental role in matching the Lisbon Strategy objectives: making the EU more competitive and dynamic economy. The recent communication 'A renewed European Union Tourism Policy: Towards a stronger partnership for European Tourism' introduces the strategy to be pursued for better exploit growth and employment potentials of the tourism sector in a sustainable way. It also refers to how the stakeholders can be involved in EC actions.
CONCERTOUR aimed to create synergies between transport, research and tourism sectors in Europe. Its overall objective was to propose new guiding concepts for tourists based on the successive stages of 'the whole travel itinerary' and to support EU policies in improving the competitiveness of its tourism sector. In parallel it will take into account emerging needs and tourism demands by acting on the main aspects which affect the tourism market (e.g. co-modality, information, ticketing) and by identifying policy-driven solutions to remove barriers to mobility and tourism.
In CONCERTOUR tourism market and transport supply were considered as an integrated environment, starting from the assumption that the local community is the key to a successful tourism destination as they are the guardians of the local resources and provide the service for paying guests. The project set out to identify policy driven solutions to remove barriers, creating the conditions for value added transport services provision (e.g. institutions/instruments facilitating co-ordination between governmental departments in the planning phase, tourism travel plans, pricing policies and technical standardisation).
The project focused on transport as lever/opportunity and not as barrier to sustainable development and competitiveness, taking in consideration relevant key factors such as: improvement of socio-economic benefits, sites attractiveness, reduction of adverse environmental/social impacts, guarantee fair/equal access to tourism for all.
Continuous interaction and supporting projects activities, in order to:
- involve key decision-makers at all levels (institutions, associations, public bodies, research institutes, tourism industry, citizens, local businesses, etc.) from both EU 27 and non-EU Countries;
- ensure continuity of proposed actions;
- communicate and publish proposed supporting actions clearly, regularly and widely at every project stage;
- provide the widest possible access to best practices;
- generate a sense of partnership through improved understanding and the establishment of long term activities.
The tangible outputs of the project are the two main CONCERTOUR tools:
- The Handbook: This is a practical and dynamic tool aimed at identifying all possible solutions and available best practices which bridge the transport supply with the tourism demand and supply.
- The Action Plan: Which is based on The Handbook and describes strategic measures recommended to EC decision makers, for instance tax systems, infrastructure development or monitoring systems and so on.
The CONCERTOUR Consortium has carried out throughout the project several dissemination activities in order to increase awareness, participation and interaction among different stakeholders in relation to Tourism and Transport across Europe. CONCERTOUR is based on setting the ground for an increased participation among stakeholders, based upon common actions, discussions and the exchange of (good) practices. These elements of awareness and interaction have been initiated through activities such as:
- An extensive awareness campaign.
- The invitation, participation and involvement of key stakeholders on different stages of the project, through workshops and conferences.
- The dissemination and communication of activities and results on a wider channel through general communication tools, such as newsletters and web-oriented solutions.
- The maintenance of the CONCERTOUR Community, aiming at ensure cooperation between Tourism and Transport stakeholders at all levels, from citizens to operators and policy makers.
The main result of these activities is that they have led to a wide level of acceptance of the CONCERTOUR Community among stakeholders.
2. Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour.