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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday June 15, 2020

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Georgia Evans

Georgia Evans

Senior Editorial Officer , Europeana Foundation

Introducing Europeana's ‘Discovering Europe’ season

While cultural tourism has been badly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, cultural heritage continues to act as inspiration for individuals across Europe to explore the continent’s history, sites and art. In this post, we introduce our ‘Discovering Europe’ season, which will highlight Europe’s rich natural beauty and cultural heritage to inspire travel to local and alternative destinations.

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Landscape from Arles
Paul Gauguin

Cultural tourism represents 40% of tourism in Europe, making a significant contribution to the sector. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on tourist activities has affected cultural tourism badly, with activities like fairs and festivals cancelled and institutions such as museums closed (93%, of museums closed globally according to a recent NEMO report).

While the opportunities for cultural heritage tourism have been reduced by COVID-19, online initiatives sharing cultural heritage have continued to offer inspiration to audiences across Europe. And, as the European Commission’s recently published strategy for recovery ‘Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond’ highlights, the relaxation of some travel restrictions offers people the chance to explore and enjoy cultural heritage, within their own countries and within the bounds of safe travel.  

In this context and as highlighted in the strategy, today we are launching our ‘Discovering Europe’ season. Whether our audiences plan to stay close to home, visit new areas, or learn about unfamiliar places, our season will showcase cultural heritage to inspire travel plans to local and alternative destinations. Throughout the summer we will feature cultural jewels and hidden gems across the continent in galleries, blogs and learning scenarios which highlight the diversity and beauty that Europe offers. Explore them all on the Discovering Europe browse page.

We will also showcase projects, apps and initiatives from the sector and Europeana Network which highlight cultural heritage as inspirational to travel. A dedicated page on the Europeana Pro site will bring together information about the editorial for our season with relevant news related to cultural heritage tourism and of interest to cultural heritage professionals. Explore the page. 

Our 'Discovering Europe' season is one of a series of complementary European Commission related initiatives to promote cultural heritage in the context of tourism this summer. These will include the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC)’s ‘Europe’s Culture Close to you’, launching June 18, and promotion of the Joint Research Centre’s Cultural Gems app from July. 

Get involved

Cultural heritage institutions can get involved by sharing their own collections which celebrate the beauty of Europe and local attractions online with the hashtag #DiscoveringEurope.

If you have seen examples of inspiring ways the cultural heritage sector is encouraging and supporting tourism locally? Or projects, resources and initiatives related to cultural tourism? We are looking to gather resources for cultural heritage tourism to share with our network - and more widely - so if you have an initiative that you think that we could profile, let us know.