LINEE News
6th Issue, January 2010

Tourist Attractions: Local and Unique, but European as Well


Cultural tourism involves many attractions: museums, national parks, sporting events, shopping malls, to name a few. In Pula (Croatia), Poznań (Poland) and Gdańsk (Poland), tourism organizations present these attractions not only as local attractions but also as belonging to Europe. This is changing not only perceptions of tourists, but of citizens as well.

European policy makers and different stakeholders see cultural tourism as an important and growing part of the European economy. More than that, they see cultural tourism as a means to make people feel as a part of Europe, not only a part of a nation state, region or town.

In Pula, Poznań and Gdańsk, researchers have discovered that these cities adapt to this view and present the cultural attractions not only as regional assets, but also as part of Europe. All of them are involved in a number of projects supported by EU funds, which aim at strengthening cross-border cooperation and stressing the European dimension of their cultural assets.

 

Re-reading the past
In the past, the impressive castle on top of the hill may have been seen as a reminiscence of the time when the region was ruled by a foreign force. Today, it is re-interpreted as an expression of one of the many cultures which have left their mark in the region, each contributing to the unique cultural experience it has to offer to tourists. All three cities employ experts to re-read the past in order to present cities, regions or countries as a part of a common European history and European diversity.

This re-reading of the past is also changing the perception of local people. In a way, they become tourists of their own history and tradition.

 

Impact on language use
Cultural tourism has also an impact on language use: officials and workers in cultural tourism have to know and use the languages of the people they are collaborating with.

Furthermore, the quality of texts of tourist brochures in foreign languages in Poznań and Gdańsk has significantly improved in recent years. Language versions of some brochures are not literal translations: their content varies as well. Some French versions, for example, show links between Polish and French history, while German versions show links with German history. English versions, however, are neutral: no references to the history of the UK or the USA are made.

 

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