for Cultural Tourism
By Erika Daniene, UAB Consulta group
Supported by EU PHARE 2002 program “Cross Border Cooperation - Special Action in favor of the Baltic Sea Region” Šis dokuments ir sagatavots ar Eiropas Savienības finansiālu atbalstu. Par šī dokumenta saturu pilnībā atbild Latvijas Piļu un muižu asociācija un tas nekādā ziņā neatspoguļo Eiropas Savienības viedokli.
Overview of culturial tourism development in Lithuania
"Cultural Tourism is a genre of special interest tourism based on the search for and participation in new and deep cultural experiences, whether aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, or psychological" (Stebbins 1996).
Plenty of culture heritage objects (above 10 thousands, which have the status of ancient monuments) make prerequisite for the cultural tourism development.
There are about 350 objects of interest those are attractive for tourism in
nowadays, but actually using less. Lithuania positively takes part in these projects: "Baroque way", "Amber way", “Hanza way” and etc. Castles, the Old towns, manor houses, and cloisters should be turning to the cultural tourism products.
Other important resources of county‟s cultural tourism are museums, exhibitions, art centers, theatres, folk-crafts or ethnography. Statehood locality, the Old cities and sacramental architecture, art, ethnic architecture, appliance museums, folk art, culture centers and thematic events still have the opportunities in hand for preparing the route of the cultural tourism in Lithuania. The main problem is that objects aren‟t ready for visits of foreign tourists, there is lack of information, propagation and enterprising, development of the tourism objects marketing is not as good as need, it is paid puny regard to the local tourism. Culture heritage objects that are using for tourism is particularly pending in the Cultural tourism
development program, but exposition, facility and mixed purpose is using for tourism separable. Limited financial resources of state does not allow many cultural heritage objects fit to the culture and tourism point that is why financial recourses machinery of the private sector is necessary as alternative for the part of culture sponsorship policy and collapse of the heritage objects. It is necessary to set opportune juristically, economical conditions and good environment for the right leasehold and privatization of the heritage objects and for the tourism service supply. At museums the work should be organized in the way that oriented to the market conditions and developing the national matter of primary interest at museums base and expositions. At all culture sphere fit means of marketing and orient them to the user and collaboration with tourism enterprises. Cultural tourism and active development is alternative for decline of the heritage objects. It is effective mean of country people self-awareness formation and thorough familiarity with the country. It is effective way present Lithuania to the world and format its image.
According to the vision developed by the group of experts that the invited by UNESCO cultural tourism in the Baltic countries will by the year 2006 be an approved branch of the national economies and a leading power of national tourism economies recognized in the Baltic Sea Region and known on the international market as a product concept based on genuine culture and heritage in a sustainable way.
The main goal of cultural tourism development in the Baltic countries is to ensure sustainable economic, social and cultural development combined with preservation
and active enhancement of cultural resources through increased supply, diversity and quality and sale of viable cultural tourism services.
The survey has been conducted to analyse situation regarding cultural tourism development and cultural heritage. In 2005 there were:
- 815 manors and castles
- 579 on the heritage protection list.
The National Heritage Protection Department has assembled a database of most of the manors that is available online at www.heritage.lt.
90 heritage sites that were in operation has been by the consultant surveyed in order to find out specific characteristics of those sites and draw conclusions regarding their use.
These 90 objects included:
- 64 manor and estates
- 12 castles
- 7 palaces
Hardly any accommodation and meals are available in all of those locations which serves as an example of inadequate service.
The responses have been grouped by the type of activity that is organised in the heritage site. Majority of the objects (36) surveyed are state and municipal museums. 11 percent have not been used for any activity, and 11 percent have been privately owned.
2% 3%Cultural centres7% Art galleries
Educational inst. 7%
41%Higher education 8%Other
Non used Museums10%
One very important element of judging the popularity of cultural tourism and sepcific heritage sites is number of visitors that these objects attract. Below is the chart that demonstrates number of visitors in the most popular sites of cultural heritage in Lithuania.
Visitors Rankin Museum 000 g 2004 m.
Trakai castle 283,3 1
Gediminas castle 159,3 2 Palanga Amber museum 78,4 3
Kretingos manor 75,3 4
State national museum in Vilnius 42 5 Kaunas Botanical gardens 40 6 Rokiškio manor estate 25 7 Biržai castle 20 8 Maironis literate museum 20 9
Chodkevičiai palace in Vilnius 19 10
National museum in the Old arsenal 16,7 11
Vilnius Botanical gardens 13 12
Smaller Radvilų palace in Vilnius 12 13 Jurbarkas manor 10,50 14 Radvilų palace in Vilnius 10 15
As we can see only a small number of heritage sites attracts more that 10.000 visitors a year. It is a worrying situation because other sites either have poor management, improper marketing, or their attractiveness is not utilised to full extent.
Available products of cultural tourism in Lithuania can be categorized into several groups:
Material cultural heritage: buildings and exhibitions in those buildings, manors, castles, palaces, monasteries, churches, industrial heritage, parks and gardens etc. Key attractions have been already listed in the table for t popular sites: Trakai castle complex, Gediminas castle, Amber museum in Palanga, botanical gardens in Vilnius and Kaunas, that are located in the former manor estates etc. Cultural events: music and song festivals, art events, performances: Pazaislis Baroque music festival organised in the Pazaislis Monastery in Kaunas, Trakai musical festival etc.
Mixed products: combination of sites and activities, routes organised arround the religiuos, ethnic, historical ideas or some special interest issues, for example Polish tourists coming to visits Catholic places of worship: Ausros vartai church in Vilnius, Siluva St. Mary„s Church and the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai or Jewish heritage that includes remaingin communal and religiouse buildings, gravesyards and other relicts.
Soviet heritage is becoming a new cultural tourism product. It includes former military bases near Plunge and other locations that impress with their size and fortifications as well as ironic protrayal of the Soviet times is also popular attraction near Druskininkai – Park of Sovietism in Grutas. These places have
growing interest not only among foreigners but also among Lithuanian visitors. Nature sites of cultural heritage combine mounds, former castle hills and landscapes that offer spelndind views and satisfaction. The system of national and regional nature parks is developing new sustainable tourist services that can be included into the concept of cultural tourism.
Potential for development of new products
The biggest potential for the development of new products is related to the efer increasing financial assistance from the European Union and privatization of some of the heritage sites.
In addition the Government and municipalities are getting more interested in tourism and they notify that heritage sites can be a positive tool in attracting more revenues.
To name just a few new initiatives we can start with the most ambitious one: the King„s palace complex in Vilnius. The total cots of the rebuilding of the King„s Place might be nearly 120 mln. Litas. The Government has provided most of the funds, but private individuals and companies have provided some of the moeny as well. The palace is being build below te Gediminas castle behind Vilnius Cathdral. It is a very controversial project not only because of very high cost but also because of the lack of reliable justification and data how the building should look like, what purposes it should serve etc. In addition existing museums and heritage sites were underfinanced thus creating an atmosphere of resilience to the whole project. In any case the Place once completed in 2009 to
commemorate the first notice of Lithuania in 1009 will serve cultural tourism purpose as well.
Private initiatives are taking pace as well. One excellent example is Park of Europe near Vilnius. It is an open air museum of modern art sculptures and monuments that have been erected by internationally famous artists from arround the globe. The park is very popular with both locals and visitors from other towns and countries.
New products can be developed by mixing existing underutilised locations and events. For example medieval castles that are along side the river Nemunas are not popular with visitors, however they can represent a uniques opportunity for municipalities, NGOs and private businesses to become an interesting alternative to existing popular tourism sites. Combination of river and road tourism can be used in order to access the castles. However financial resources are needed in order to refurbish or build new service facilities, toilets and cafes in those buildings.
One interesting example of utilising existing heritage sites for culture is annual alternative music festival organised in the ruined stable hous of Tiskevicius manor estate in Lentvaris. Despite the fact that the stable has no roof it creates a unique space for music performances and can hosts several hundred listeners.
NGOs have developed new marketing tools for the heritage sites. In September 2005 the new website that provides tourist information in Lithuanian, English and Latvian has been set up with data on over 200 heritage sites at www.pilys.lt . The State Tourism Department finally agreed to publish 20.000 copies of the map of Lithuania with description of over 50 marnos, castles and palaces that are of interest to visitors.
SWOT analysis focuses on key elements of cultural tourism development in Lithuania.
Abundance of different type of cultural tourism products;
Multicultural heritage available;
Even distribution of the cultural heritage sites across the country; Succesful expamples of managing heritage sites and developing of cultural products are in place;
Poor management of heritage sites;
Lack of client oreinted culture;
Too few public – private partnerships in place;
Lack of national cultural tourism development strategy.
Growing purchase power and demand for cultural tourism products both locally and internationally;
Growing numbers of foreing visitors;
Availability of more investments into development of heritage sites and cultural
Negative influence of Mass culture when the heritage sites are targeting some
Further deterioration of existing heritage sites;
Lack of balance between heritage protection and accesibility by visitors.
With huge potential for the development of cultural tourism in Lithuania available
additional resources should be provided in order to use it successfully. Based on
the current situation and in order to ensure a sustainable development of cultural
tourism in the Baltic countries it is of crucial importance to:
1. clearly define the responsibility for the development of cultural tourism on a
state and ministerial level;
2. adopt strategy documents on cultural tourism;
3. provide more know-how support to owners of cultural, historical and
4. create financial instruments and tax policies that stimulate the
development of cultural tourism;
5. continue to implement laws and adopt tough policies to protect cultural
heritage against pressure from other interests;
6. introduce policies and positive measures to promote access to public and
private sites of cultural tourism interest;
7. make sites more accessible for all people, including people with physical
8. provide information in more languages;
9. tailor opening hours of sites as well as tourist information offices to the
needs of tourists;
10. set up more signs and information on how to reach cultural tourism sites;
11. set up a Baltic cultural tourism internet portal;
12. make food and drink quality regulations pragmatic to allow samples of
local cuisine and local beverages for tourists;
13. ensure that public support for cultural events can be given 2 years before
14. allocate more public funding to add value and renovate, restore and
protect monuments, shrines, museums, archaeological and historical
15. survey revenue flow and leakage of cultural tourism;
16. implement tourism impact survey and establish carrying capacity for the
17. make the tourism industry more use cultural and historical heritage;
18. more support handicraft traditions;
19. focus on music and dance to develop cultural tourism;
20. use minority cultural heritage and rich multicultural resources;
21. use the soviet heritage;
22. make use of features that have been kept more or less unchanged for the
past 50 years
23. pay more attention to cultural tourism in education and research;
24. establish systematic, regular and long-term partnership with enterprises;
25. discuss the touristification of culture;
26. commit the policy-makers to sustainable development; 27. establish rules for sustainable cultural heritage and tourism development; 28. ensure the awareness and access to protection and conservation know-
29. strengthen the dimension of intangible cultural heritage in cultural tourism; 30. facilitate communication between professionals and the community; 31. strengthen international co-operation;
32. strengthen international marketing of Baltic cultural tourism products; 33. conduct market research;
34. increase round-the-year tourism;
35. develop the Baltic countries as an exemplary region of cultural tourism; 36. broaden cultural tourism product range;
37. monitor and improve product quality;
38. cover the whole region and seasons with available cultural tourism
39. develop an investment policy to support investments in cultural tourism; 40. consolidate cross-sector cooperation;
41. make more efficient use of proximity to the key source markets; 42. use more efficiently domestic market;
43. provide systematic training opportunities;
44. involve more old people in cultural tourism activities.
Sources: www.heritage.lt, Baltic Cultural Tourism Policy Paper, 2001-2003, State tourism