The event was opened by Alexandros Thanos, Head of Tourism Sector of Region of Central Macedonia on behalf of the lead partner. Mr Thanos stressd that Cult-RInG is the first and only project addressing the important role of European Cultural Routes for growth and jobs in the current Interreg Europe programme.  Thanks to Cult-RInG project, the six partner destinations are now involved in the certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, with activities along the routes in the partners’ territories and related policies. 5. The Cult-RInG project has achieved:

• Increased capacity by 49 persons, policy-makers, staff members and key stakeholders representatives

• Involvement of 45 stakeholder bodies in the 6 partner regions

• 10 Good Practices identified and documented by project partners and validated by Interreg Europe, 2 Good Practices are in the Good Practice database

• 6 Action Plans implemented in the partner regions

• A new Cultural Route certified by the Council of Europe in 2019, the ‘Iron Curtain Trail – Reunification of Europe Cultural Route’ and another one as candidate status, ‘Saint Paul’s footsteps Cultural Route’ led by Central Macedonia with founding members Lazio Region, Pafos Regional Board of Tourism and ECTN.

• Extensions, improvements and increased visibility of 3 existing Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: Via Fancigena South in Italy, Saint Olav Ways in west Sweden and St James Way in north Portugal.

• Several other proposals for activities in existing Cultural routes such as: Hansa, Vikings and European Cemeteries in north Latvia, Iter Vitis and Phoenicians Cultural Routes in Pafos-Cyprus

• Proposals for new Cultural Routes such as: ‘Afrodite Goddess of love’ from Pafos-Cyprus to Europe, ‘Argonautica route’ involving 16 countries, Maritime Heritage, Baltic Way, Amber trail.

• 133 media appearances in 6 countries

• 6 policy instruments influenced, 3 Regional Operational Programmes – EU Structural Funds (Central Macedonia-Greece, Lazio-Italy and Norte-Portugal), 2 Tourism Plans (Vidzeme-Latvia and Pafos-Cyprus) and 1 Strategy for growth and development (Västra Götaland, Sweden).

The Cult-RInG project leaves a rich legacy for further development and promotion of European Cultural Routes, with significant benefits for regional development, economic growth and employment generation, through sustainable cultural tourism, new products and services.

The keynote address was given by Mr Michael Cramer, former MEP and Chair of the Tourism and Transport Commitee of the European Parliament. Mr Cramer presented the reunification of Europe cultural route  'Iron Curtain Trail' (ICT) - EuroVelo13 (EV13) cycling route that has been certified as a cultural route by the Council of Europe in 2019, in the frame of the Cult-RInG project. The application for CoE certification of the ICT-EV13 is one of the actions in the action plans of Vidzeme Tourism Association's (VTA), Latvia, as well as the LP Regional Development Fund of the Region of Central Macedonia on behalf of the Region of Central Macedonia, EL, within the Cult-RInG project.

Other speakers were:

Mr István Ujhelyi MEP, Vice-Chair of Transport and Tourism Committee, European Parliament

Ms Sneška Quaedvlieg – Mihailovic, Europa Nostra Secretary-General

Dr Eleonora Berti, University of Bologna, formerly of EICR.

. The Programme Director Mr Erwin Siweris presented the successes of Interreg Europe. ECTN advisory partner presented the achievemnts of Cult-Ring project.

In the next session all partners presented their results in terms of improvements/extensions of existing cultural routes as well as the development of new routes. In the 3rd and final session the project legacy was discussedin terms of policy change in a structured dialogue between the project partners policy-makers and the senior leaders of six CRs of the Council of Europe.  

▪ Alexandros Thanos, Head of Tourism Sector, Region of Central Macedonia, Greece

▪ Silvio Marino, staff member of Assessore Regionale al Turismo, Lazio Region, Italy

▪ Conny Brännberg, Chairman of Cultural Board, Region Västra Götaland, Sweden

▪ Raitis Sijats, Chairman of Vidzeme Tourism Association (VTA), Latvia

▪ Luís Pedro Martins, President of Turismo Porto e Norte, Portugal

▪ Nasos Hadjigeorgiou, Executive Manager of Pafos Regional Board of Tourism, Cyprus

▪ Nino Tvaltvadze, Deputy Mayor of Kutaisi, Georgia (ancient Colchis)

▪ Piet Jaspert, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, Belgium

▪ Dr Agathoniki Tsilipakou, Museum of Byzantine Culture (Thessaloniki), Greece

Senior Representatives of selected 6 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe:

▪ Emanuela Panke - Iter Vitis Cultural Route, President

▪ Elena Dubinina - Via Francigena European Association

▪ Inger Harlevi - The Hansa Cultural Route, Vice-President

▪ Antonio Barone - The Phoenicians Route, Director

Views of experts:

▪ Jordi Tresserras, University of Barcelona, Spain

▪ Iulia Niculica, European Travel Commission.