Alessia MARIOTTI, University of Bologna, Center for Advanced Studies in Tourism, Italy
Maria Laura GASPARINI, University of Bologna, Center for Advanced Studies in Tourism, Italy
This paper discusses the state of the art of policies and governance frameworks concerning pilgrimage at European level, drawing on evidence and specific examples from the analysis carried out on partner countries of the H2020 project rurAllure - Promotion of rural museums and heritage sites in the vicinity of European pilgrimage routes(Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain).
These countries have developed different approaches to pilgrimage; however, the interregional and transnational dimension of the routes is often overlooked. Being pilgrimage a crosscutting phenomenon, the success of the policies lies in the multi-stakeholder collaboration at several and intersecting levels, contributing to fulfil several EU policy priorities in line with the green and digital transition called for by the European Green Deal.
Besides being a spiritual practice, pilgrimage is experiencing a resurgence worldwide as an outdoor and slow tourism practice, with a multiplication of historic and contemporary routes being developed and promoted at different levels from local to transregional or transnational. Driven by objectives in terms of cultural heritage-led development and environmental protection, policymakers across Europe have established so far similar, but not coordinated actions.
The paper argues that a common governance framework is required, to favour coordination among actors and unlock pilgrimage potential as effective catalyser for regional development and territorial cohesion across rural areas.
Keywords: regional development|pilgrimage|policy framework|walking routes|governance