The Spirit Youth Project presented in Fatima as a good example of Regional Sustainable Religious Tourism Development
Which is the Role of Regions and local communities on the development of Sustainable Religious Tourism? Mr Patrick Torrent, Catalonia Region intervened during the International Congress on Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage, organised in Fatima by the UNWTO in the framework of the International Year on Sustainable Tourism Development (IYSTD) 2017.
A concrete and innovative Project. The focus of Mr Torrent's intervention has been on Spirit Youth, an European Project co-funded by COSME which gathers 7 partners from 5 countries committed to develop a European transnational tourism itinerary for young people around the concept of Spiritual Tourism, as a means to diversify the tourism offer year-round.
Trans-regional cooperation. The sites and activities proposed in the Spirit Youth itinerary include both, natural resources, cultural and religious sites in Montserrat (Catalonia), South Limburg (Dutch Limburg Province) and Prato (Tuscany), which fit into the spirituality concept and with the specificity that this offer must be available during the medium and low season. This product was tested by 75 youngsters “pilots” from 10 different countries, who encouraged us to pursue with this project, beyond the European funding period.
From Project to Product through NECSTouR regions and partners. This project has been also the opportunity to: build the appropriate ecosystem for Spirit Youth to flourish, involving the right partners and facilitating their cooperation; position Spirit Youth as a complementary offer, which brings quality and authenticity to a destination; Invest in groups while developing the European demand; Reach out the commitment of the Regional Tourism Boards where the pilot destinations were located and capitalise to other NECSTouR Regions, which are developing spiritual tourism as well.
The good practices from two partners of Spirit Youth. During the conference, also Mr Josep Altajó, General Manager of Montserrat had also the opportunity to intervene with a presentation on “Improving visitor’s management through new technologies: the case of Montserrat”. Ms Silvia Aulet Serrallonga, Professor and Researcher at the Faculty of Tourism of the University of Girona (another partner of Spirit Youth Project) moderated the session dedicated to the future of religious tourism: innovative marketing and use of technology.
The good practices from NECSTouR. On his intervention, Mr Torrent presented also the good example of "Catalonia Sacra". In another intervention in the same panel, Ms Susana Ibáñez Rosa, from the Secretary-General for Tourism, of Andalusia, presented the case study of Seville as well.
Watch again the interventions:
- Session 2: Role of religious tourism in sustainable economic growth and social inclusiveness of local communities
- Ms. Susana Ibáñez Rosa, Secretary-General for Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sport, Junta de Andalusia, Seville, Spain: Case study of Seville
- Mr. Patrick Torrent, President, Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism (Necstour)
- Session 4: The future of religious tourism: innovative marketing and use of technology
- Ms. Silvia Aulet Serrallonga, Professor and Researcher, Faculty of Tourism of the University of Girona, Spain
- Mr. Josep Altayó, General Manager of Montserrat: “Improving visitor’s management through new technologies: the case of Montserrat”, Barcelona, Spain