The Institute was repeatedly asked to work on the
essential question of preparing heritage and culture for tourism.
From the Gdansk Conference in 1997 to the preparation of the Summit
of the Great region in 2000, ethical and practical questions have
What cultural tourism? How to define it? What
social, cultural, and economic significance does it have? Lastly,
what does cultural tourism bring to the places that accommodate it?
Is it useful to them? Do they have to control it? And what is its
from conference to conference
Jenny de Vasson. Venise 1908. Copyright
We bear in mind that the Institutions and
Associations dealing with heritage's issues proposed reflections,
even Conventions and Charters on cultural tourism. We were invited
to work even with UNESCO and with the World Tourism Organisation.
By the same token, the programme of the cultural routes occasioned
constant reflection on this subject.
Since its creation, the Institute put together a
complete documentation, based on meetings in which it took part or
which it co-organised with States, regions and cities, for example:
Liege, Tournai and Butgenbach in Belgium; Nantes, Lyon and Paris in
France; Barcelona, Logroño and Santiago de Compostella in
Spain; Milan and Venice in Italy; Budapest in Hungary; Sinaïa
in Romania; Sarajevo in the Republic of Macedonia; Gdansk in
Poland, and even Khiva in Ouzbekistan and Hanoi in Northern
Each page of the domain aimed at discovering
Europe testifies to history, if not to cultural tourism, at least
to the voyages and courses of Europeans in Europe. Many books, such
as - to quote only the most recent French literature - the
collective work published under the direction of Alain Corbin in
1995 "The Advent of Leisures 1850-1960", "Cultural Tourism in
France and Europe" by Valéry Patin (1997),
"Reinventing holidays. The New Galaxy of Tourism",
co-ordinated by Jean Viard in 1998 or finally "The Wheel and the
Pen. How we have become tourists" by Catherine Bertho Lavenir
(1999) lengthily reconsider the origin of the phenomenon, from the
guides of Greece, with accounts of the voyage of the explorers, the
vogue of thermal spas, to the fascination with the shore and the
pure spaces of the Pyrenean and alpine mountains.
The history of tourism is marked by revolutions
that always rest on new media: written media, means of transport,
and today, of course, computer media.
Symbolically, it is an invention dating from mid
sixteenth century, which changed the vision and the preparation of
the voyage. The publication of "The Guide to the Ways of France" -
the term being feminine at the time - by Charles Estienne in 1552,
a work followed by the "Rivers of the Kingdom of France" and the
"Voyages from Rome, Santiago and Jerusalem" constituted an
Photo Cartier Bresson
These guides will constitute models for portable
works allowing the traveller to find his way, to choose his
lodgings and to guard himself against the dangers he might come
across during the voyage. One can say that they will produce the
following generation of large collections of European guidebooks,
those of the nineteenth century, which will propose much more than
They will truly seek to educate the viewer in a
coded language using aesthetic reference marks founded on "the
natural wonders" and the "highlights of civil and military
architecture" which "deserve the detour" or constitute "exceptional
points of view" and to impose emblematic courses and routes, as
well as visits to museums and arranged heritage sites, whose number
increases during the century, with a marked desire to preserve and
develop the "national" heritage.
At the end of the nineteenth century, popular
leisure is turned rather towards sports or fishing, while the
curious travellers are still aristocrats and renters who follows
the rhythm of the seasons at the shore of the sea or to the
mountains, launching the vogue of alpine clubs, cruises and voyages
in luxury trains.
turn of the twentieth century
It is necessary on the other hand to pay attention
to one of the conquests of the French Popular Front and of other
comparable European movements from the thirties, since that starts
a phenomenon continuing until today, namely popular tourism. The
formulas for the reception of these new tourists, having paid
leaves, were added to each other. They were initially characterised
by communal responsibility: youth inns, holiday centres of workers'
councils, villages and holiday clubs, as well as by criteria of
economy: bed and breakfast, host rooms, farm tourism...
Silk route, Ouzbekistan. Photo MTP
But this popular tourism, which today became mass
tourism, treated both by economic actors and by those from other
industries, registered this fantastic rise only because of the
considerable improvement in the speed of the means of transport,
from the vogue of train excursions, passing through that of bus
trips, to the success of charter flights today. "Two centuries ago
still, our ancestors considered mountains horrible and seashores
worrying. Only vagrants walked and slept in open air. One could
hardly see anything but carts on the roads, and nobody worried
about monuments and sites. And then the bicycle appeared initially,
then the car, and with them modern tourism", affirms Catherine
Bertho Lavenir. This new social behaviour was itself carried to its
apogee starting in the sixties with the great vogue of "sea, sex
However, this presentation of the evolution of the
European voyage deserves to be nuanced when one addresses the whole
of Great Europe. The stages closest to this evolution are
singularly different if one considers the West and the East.
The seminars in which we took part, just like the
requests addressed to us by the countries of the C.I.S. or the
Caucasus, even those of Central Asia located on the Silk Roads,
testify to a recent will towards opening, but also to the wish to
take part in the tourist industry and to recover part of the 3000
billion euros spent by travellers each year throughout the world.
But all this while proposing which forms of tourism?
other web sites