2018 Year of Cultural Tourism
07 Mar 2018

2018 Year of Cultural Tourism

The Culture. The key to any tourist destination.

2018 is the Year of Cultural Tourism.

Held throughout Europe, it was declared by the European Parliament with the intention of promoting the cultural heritage of the different member countries and also as a fundamental element of diversity and intercultural dialogue. The representatives of the Council and the European Parliament decided to celebrate this cultural year with the aim of raising awareness, through culture, of European values and strengthening the sense of community identity.

During the Year of Cultural Tourism there will be a numerous program of activities and projects that follow this initiative to enhance the uniqueness of cultural attractions and where endless experiences and tourist and cultural suggestions are proposed in all parts of the territory.


The year will see a series of initiatives and events across Europe to enable people to become closer to and more involved with their cultural heritage. Cultural heritage shapes our identities and everyday lives. It surrounds us in Europe’s towns and cities, natural landscapes and archaeological sites. It is not only found in literature, art and objects, but also in the crafts we learn from our ancestors, the stories we tell to our children, the food we enjoy in company and the films we watch and recognise ourselves in.

At European level, all EU institutions are committed to making the year a success. The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, as well as the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee will organise events to celebrate the year and launch activities focusing on cultural heritage.

In addition, the EU will fund projects supporting cultural heritage. A dedicated call for cooperation projects relating to the year has been launched under the Creative Europe programme. A wealth of additional opportunities will be available under Erasmus+, Europe for Citizens, Horizon 2020, and other EU programmes.

To make sure our efforts leave an imprint beyond 2018, the Commission, in collaboration with the Council of Europe, UNESCO, and other partners, will be running ten long-term impact projects. These will include activities with schools, research on innovative solutions for re-using heritage buildings or the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural goods. The objective is to help trigger real change in the way we enjoy, protect and promote heritage, making sure that the European Year benefits citizens in the longer term.

In Catalonia Country case, the Catalan Tourist Board is joining this initiative with a view to promoting cultural tourism and will be organising a number of specific actions related to this product.

In doing this, 2018 continues the line taken in previous years, which focused on family tourism (2014), inland and mountain tourism (2015), gastronomy and wine tourism (2016) and sustainable tourism (2017).

The challenge facing the Year of Cultural Tourism is to position culture as a key, differentiating factor for the destination, with tourism playing an essential role: highlighting the value of culture and contributing to its social and economic sustainability.

The Catalan Tourist Board wants to stress the value of all cultural heritage, from the internationally renowned to the more local and less known. Cultural heritage is found all over Catalonia and the aim is to constantly improve the balance between the different regions and ensure that the economic benefits of cultural tourism are widely distributed.


The goals of the Year of Cultural Tourism 2018 in Catalonia are to:

  • Link culture as a differentiating factor more closely to the Catalonia brand.
  • Increase the volume of tourism income by offering a higher value tourism experience.
  • Promote the creation of a quality offer oriented towards quality demand, by transforming cultural resources into saleable tourism products.
  • Stress Catalonia’s value as a destination of self-governed, sustainable and competitive destinations, promoting better territorial distribution of tourism.
  • Take this opportunity to reduce seasonal differences in tourism, highlighting the tourism value of Catalan culture.
  • Increase the consumption of cultural tourism experiences by visitors once in Catalonia.
  • Maximise the benefits that culture which takes advantage of tourism can also offer local residents.