For centuries, Europe has been praised for its cultural heritage. Many countries feature precious ongoing historical tradition, generations of artists outshine one another, architectural gems are lurking behind every corner – Europe really offers an overwhelming variety of cultural treasures which never seem to get old. Or do they?
The one thing more important than all Europe’s cultural gems is our will to preserve them. The European Commission
launched a massive project in 2006 called EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence)
whose objective is to promote Europe’s destinations
, help preserve their characteristics and promote tourism in all its aspects. The diversity of Europe is breathtaking and many destinations depend solely on the income from tourism. To secure the sustainability of this crucial industry is one of the major goals of this initiative.
Each year, twenty destinations are chosen by the Commission according to a given theme. The countries interested in participation select destination according to their own choice (with respect to the criteria presented) and the Commission chooses one winner for each country. While in the past, themes like Heritage and Rural Tourism were in the focus, Tourism & Protected Areas
is the 2008-2009 theme; these are currently being selected all around Europe. All suggestions need to be submitted by the end of May, when the Commission will select and award the 20 ‘Destinations of Excellence’ of 2009.
In the past, Cyprus’ charming rural area of Agros, Finnish wild Taiga, Italy’s Comune di Corianaldo or Luxembourg’s Echternach (or “Little Switzerland”) were among the awarded Rural areas.
More information: EDEN