Minister sees cultural tourism as a major pillar of economic recovery

Ljubljana – Culture Minister Vasko Simoniti talked about the tourism ecosystem as a major pillar of Europe’s economic recovery as he addressed an online event on cultural tourism in a post-Covid era on Sunday. He said new and innovative models of sustainable tourism are linked to the culture sector and creative industries.

The role of sustainable cultural tourism was discussed in the ReDiscover Europe Workshop, an event held under the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU on Europe Day and featuring representatives of tourism organisations and the European Commission and experts on cultural heritage and ICT.

The opening address was delivered by Portuguese Culture Minister Graca Fonseca, while Simonit had the closing address. Talking about the value and economic links between the new models of sustainable tourism and the culture sector, he said transition to a green and digital economy should rely on the cultural heritage and creative breakthrough.

He mentioned the Creative Europe 2021-2027 programme to be launched in the second half of the year and the European Commission’s initiative The New European Bauhaus, which he said carried one of the important messages of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU: “It will be impossible to find a sustainable or lasting solution to our living without taking into account cultural specifics and changing the way of life.”

Slovenia is aware of the importance of cultural heritage in tourism offerings, in particular at a time when the pandemic has put a brake on development of cultural tourism, the Culture Ministry said in a press release, adding that reforms and investments in sustainable development of tourism, including cultural heritage, have been included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

The plan projects investments in renovation of cultural heritage and public culture infrastructure as well as in digitalisation of culture, cultural heritage and archives. EUR 47 million is being allocated for renovation of cultural heritage linked to tourism and EUR 9.9 million for digitalising culture.

The release also says that the Culture Ministry secured the highest culture budget in Slovenia’s history in 2021. At EUR 238 million, it is almost EUR 46 million above the figure a year ago. Additional funds for renovation of cultural heritage are secured through the culture euro act.