Make more use of Europeana in tourism say new recommendations

29 January 2015 Comment

Europeana has published a new set of recommendations to increase the use of Europeana content in the tourism industry.

These recommendations set out the changes in thinking and behaviour needed to achieve the systematic implementation of Europeana content in tourism, giving cultural institutions as well as cultural and tourism policy-makers a list of suggested 'to-dos'.

Photo: meineresterampe, CC0

In order to be successful in this market we must recognise that the tourism industry has its own aims, challenges and rules. We need to incorporate Europeana's offering into the existing tourism ecosystem. One starting point is to take advantage of destinations that put culture at their heart of their marketing strategies because mass tourism activities are absent or simply not possible, e.g. places that lack interesting landscapes, architecture or other specific pulls.

Jill Cousins, Europeana Executive Director, says, ‘In short, we need to create demand for Europeana in the tourism sector and ensure that cultural organisations can feed in with high quality content. We need to shout about our benefits and best practices and build solid and productive relationships between cultural institutions and the tourism industry. The recommendations outline ways that policy-makers and cultural institutions can begin to do this.’ Read the recommendations in full.

How can Europeana data be used in tourism?

Several tourism apps and services using Europeana content are already available or launching soon.

The Europeana Beacon (eBe) iOS app is a new way of thinking about tourist guides. The app determines the user’s position in a town square, museum room or exhibition, always displaying the correct information about the work of art they’re facing. Users can discover new facts, engage in fun puzzles and quizzes to explore their surroundings, while museum curators or the local tourism bureau gain a deeper insight about what people really visited. /, launching soon, is an app for the whole visitor experience - from pre-visit online planning and discovery, to on-site experiences and then post-visit personal storytelling. Digitised points of interest and real world exhibits are brought together through gamification, allowing cities and museum managers to guide and analyse visitor flow in real time. Missions, quizzes, badges, points, rankings, awards, and a newsfeed encourage positive tourist behaviour, driving them to discover places in new ways.

The Google Field Trip app will shortly include curated Europeana content to do with archaeological sites, historical buildings and monuments. This mobile app recognises where people are and allows them to explore and discover more about their surroundings. The app has been developed by Google Niantic Labs and is available for iOS, Android and Google Glass in more than 30 languages. For this pilot, we are working with the Swedish National Heritage Board, National Heritage Board of Estonia, National Heritage Board of Poland and Austrian National Library.
The idea behind VanGoYourself is to have fun recreating historical artworks and then share them online or simply keep your creation for yourself. Above all, the tourism sector seeks to provide its customers with great experiences in order to get them to return to a destination or to tell friends and family about it in a positive way. VanGoYourself can help to provide this experience.

Bella and Hanna, Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (1783-1853) vanGo'd by Juliette O'Leary - CC-BY-SA

What happens next?
The relevant ministries will publish the recommendations, stimulating interest and discussion within their national ministries of culture and tourism. Discussions will be held during regular meetings of the Member States Expert Group (MSEG) on Digitisation and Digital Preservation and a review of consequent benefits or take-up will happen during the Luxembourg Presidency in the second half of 2015.

Who is responsible for the recommendations?
The recommendations are the product of discussions coordinated by the Europeana Foundation, Culture24, and the National Documentation Centre of Greece (EKT) and involving policy-makers from ministries of tourism and culture across the EU as well as members of DG Enterprise and European Tourism & Travel Advisory Group (ETAG). A draft set of recommendations were proposed under the Greek presidency at a meeting coordinated by EKT in Athens in June 2014 and these were then developed and aligned with the Italian presidency’s own recommendations for tourism and culture.