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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)
News article21 May 20212 min read

TraCEs – CulTour is Capital

Tourism as a tool for transformation

CulTour is Capital banner


Interreg Europe recently featured COSME co-funded project TraCes – CulTour is Capital  as a successful approach in turning European Capitals of Culture into laboratories for tourism innovation.

The TraCes project goal is to connect European Capitals of Culture (ECoCs – including candidates, winners and participants) with Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), and with the Tourism Sector. By bringing these together, it is possible to increase an innovative tourism offer and direct the flow of visitors into less developed regions. This can boost local economies, tackle unsustainable mass tourism practices, and allow travellers to experience Europe through a mix of tradition, culture and innovation.

How did they do it?

The TraCEs team began its journey by carrying out a series of on-site and online Transformative Labs and Blogger Experiences – workshops and trips, respectively – to stimulate diverse local CCI and Tourism actors. These initiatives helped local actors think outside the box regarding how to utilise their cities’ ECoC status to create jobs linking CCI and Tourism.

All these experiences resulted in the development of a digital tool, the Game of TraCEs platform, which maps the creative and cultural supply present in a selection of ECoCs. Through this platform, representatives of the CCI and Tourism Sectors can exchange knowledge and work together, which will spur entrepreneurship, job creation, and growth.

Each city and experience is presented with content made by fellow travellers and locals who experienced the cultural and transformative experiences. The platform includes an intuitive search tool that allows users to filter by topics such as Inspiration, Discovery, Relaxation, Adventure, Empowerment, and People.

This way, the project manages to connect travellers to a selection of lesser-known destinations, allowing them to enjoy a more transformative travel experience.

At the end of 2020, the project offered a three-day artistic residency to talented ECoCs’ residents active during the COVID lockdown: the “Cultour is Capital Fest”. Three winners were selected from the 18 participants to carry out their residencies (opportunities to develop their skills with local artists and cultural operators) in Gelsenkirchen, Kosice, or Matera.

The TraCEs team has been at the forefront of the current trends in the Travel Industry, whose shift toward sustainable and meaningful experiences becomes even more pressing after the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps one of the most significant changes we have experienced has been the increase in online or virtual experiences. Even here, Game of TraCEs is keeping up with the times.


Publication date
21 May 2021