Visitor Centres can play an important role in the management of UNESCO designated sites (hereby intended as including World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves and UNESCO Global Geoparks) especially by promoting education and awareness, improving accessibility, fostering community engagement, supporting visitor management, influencing behaviours during visits and collecting data on visitors, their needs, expectations and site experience.
The upcoming workshop is organised within the frame of the regional initiative on “The role of Visitor Centres in UNESCO Designated Sites” launched by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in 2018. The initiative aims to investigate how visitor/interpretation/information centres dedicated to World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks can contribute to the broader goals of the designations and of the sites themselves.
Following previous meetings held in Palermo, Italy (2018), Bamberg, Germany (2019), and Ercolano, Italy (2021) respectively, the 4th workshop will focus on tourism sustainability and visitors management, as one of the three core work domains for such centres identified during the 1st workshop (along with education and community engagement).
The workshop is organised by UNESCO through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe and hosted by the Buzău County in collaboration with the Buzău Land UNESCO Global Geopark, the University of Bucharest - Hateg Country UNESCO Global Geopark, and the Romanian Commission of UNESCO. The organisation of the workshop is made possible thanks to the annual contribution of Italy to the UNESCO Regional Bureau.
The definition of “Visitor Centre” within the present framework refers to any kind of organised service with front-desk activities, the main purpose of which is to welcome and orient visitors, facilitate the visit, and enhance the presentation and interpretation of UNESCO designated sites. This concept includes a broad range of different structures, sometimes carrying different names such as “interpretation centre”, “information centre”, “house”, site’s “house” or “museum”, among others.
The general objective of the workshop is to advance knowledge on how Visitor Centres at UNESCO Designated Sitescan contribute to the improvement of tourism sustainability and visitors management at their respective sites, with a view to providing useful indications to both existing and future centres. In particular, the workshop is expected to:
- increase participants’ awareness and capacities on the matter, inspiring follow-up action at the respective sites
- provide an opportunity for experience exchange, networking and cooperation
- produce advice and recommendations for a broader audience across relevant UNESCO networks
- reinforce the alignment between site management objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals
The above-mentioned objectives will be achieved through a blend of facilitated knowledge exchange, group work and presentations, combined with site visits and meetings with local actors, using the Buzău Land and Hațeg Country UNESCO Global Geoparks as real case studies.
The working language of the workshop is English.
Eligibility and selection criteria
The workshop is primarily aimed at professionals (managers or other relevant staff) from visitor/interpretation/information centres dedicated to World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves, and Global Geoparks in Europe.
A maximum of 25 applicants will be selected to participate, based on a combination of criteria including: eligibility of applicants, completeness of application, quality and relevance of the application file, balanced representation of different UNESCO designations and of cultural and natural sites, gender balance, and geographical distribution.
While the call for applications is open to the broader European region, priority in the selection of participants will be given to applicants working for UNESCO designated sites in countries under the geographical scope of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, namely: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Türkiye; plus Italy, as the Bureau’s host country.
Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Selected applicants will receive accommodation (boarding and lodging) in Buzău for the duration of the workshop.
Applicants may request support for their travel costs, which will be provided in the form of pre-paid tickets, contingent on the availability of funds. Priority in the provision of the travel support will be given to eligible applicants from the countries under the geographical scope of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe.
How to apply
Please fill out and submit the online application form by no later than 16 September 2022.
In addition, applicants who did not participate in previous activities organised by this Regional Bureau are advised to send aletter of support by the respective visitor centre or site managing authority and an updated CV to Zhi Ye (firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)) within the above-mentioned deadline.
Report 1 | The role of Visitor Centres in UNESCO Designated Sites: Report of the first Regional Workshop for Europe (Palermo, Italy, 2018)
Report 2 | The role of Visitor Centres in UNESCO Designated Sites: Report of the second Regional Workshop for Europe (Bamberg, Germany, 2019)
Report 3 | The role of Visitor Centres in UNESCO Designated Sites: Report of the third Regional Workshop for Europe (Ercolano, Italy, 2021)