More than 40% of European heritage houses belong to families. They provide multiple contributions to the EU including cultural, social, educational and environmental benefits that reach far beyond the physical boundaries of their properties. Culturally, they host activities such as concerts, festivals, plays, exhibitions, and artist-in-resident programmes. Socially,they involve local communities, volunteers, school children and local associations in their activities.
These contributions help to foster social cohesion across Europe by embodying a ‘European identity’ and in particular it helps to preserve social ties within rural areas. They make an undoubted contribution to tourism, with family-owned heritage houses across Europe having hosted an estimated 52 million visitors in 2018.
However, the COVID-19 crisis has had a dramatic impact on tourism related to heritage houses. Most houses are completely dependent on public revenue during the spring and summer months. Although in some countries governments have introduced measures to pay wages or finance economic unemployment, some work cannot be done remotely and many seasonal jobs have been suppressed.
In addition to this catastrophic situation, European historic houses have faced challenges with 45% of private owners operating at a loss and injecting personal funds to the business activity in order to keep their building open to the public. A publication on family-owned heritage houses highlights a gap in current digital training for historic house owners.
As a result of a lack of visibility, they are not able to maintain and restore the European Common Heritage and are limited in their abilities to employ staff. This ultimately results in the stagnation of local communities where it is their only tourism value.
HERIT will focus on implementing the EU policy recommendations by building capacities of digital skills in partnership with tertiary education as well as national and European organisations. The main target groups of this project include all key stakeholders (current and future private-owners, landowners, employees of historic houses, etc.), who deal with historic houses, with a particular focus on the family-owned properties. These target groups have a recognized need which this project will address.
The general objective of this project is to provide the needed training to private-owners and their employees so that they can overcome the COVID-19 crisis impacts by developing and professionally managing digital activities related to communication and cultural heritage and foster the development, commercialization and promotion of tourism connected to cultural heritage.
The specific objectives are to:
- Mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 crisis through the development of online and digital training.
- Foster an entrepreneurial and proactive spirit.
- Maintain the jobs of local communities surrounding historical buildings.
- Enhance the visibility of the common European cultural heritage, online and offline, in order to raise awareness about and promote the cultural heritage related to historic houses
- Promote tourism related to cultural heritage and revitalise rural areas.
To reach these objectives, the following output will be produced:
IO1 – Digital innovation in private cultural heritage management: guide and best practices.
IO2 – HERIT curriculum.
IO3 – HERIT training contents.
IO4 – HERIT MOOC.
Duration: 01/06/2021 – 31/05/2023
Grant: 270 176 €
Web page: Available soon