HERIT, an Erasmus + project aimed at mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on European heritage houses through the development of digital tools and training.
THE HISTORICAL SITUATION
Did you know that more than 40% of European heritage houses belong to families?
These houses provide multiple contributions to the EU including cultural, social, educational and environmental benefits (cultural festivities, volunteering events, school trips, etc.) that reach far beyond the physical boundaries of their properties. These contributions foster social cohesion across Europe by embodying a ‘European identity’ and preserve social ties within rural areas. They make an undoubted contribution to tourism, with family-owned heritage houses across Europe having hosted an estimated 52 million visitors in 2018.
However, the COVID-19 crisis has had a dramatic impact on tourism related to heritage
The majority of houses are completely dependent on public revenue during the spring and summer months. In some countries governments introduced measures to pay wages, nevertheless some work cannot be done remotely, and many seasonal jobs have been suppressed.
Also, approximately 45% of private heritage house owners operated at a loss and
injected personal funds to the business activity in order to keep their building open to the public.
A study on family-owned heritage houses highlights a gap in current digital training for historic house owners, which resulted in a significant lack of visibility in the online
sphere. This results in owners not being able to maintain and restore the European
Common Heritage and be limited in their abilities to employ staff. This ultimately results in the stagnation of local communities where it is their only tourism value.
This project, Heritage Efficient management through Relevant IT use (HERIT), will focus on implementing EU policy recommendations by building the digital skill capacities of heritage house owners in Europe, in partnership with tertiary education as well as national and European organisations.
The main target groups of this project include all key stakeholders (current and future private-owners, landowners, employees of historic houses, etc.), who deal with historic houses, with a particular focus on the family-owned properties.
The project’s main objective is to provide the needed training to private-owners and
their employees so that they can overcome the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis
by developing and professionally managing digital activities related to communication
and cultural heritage and foster the development, commercialization, and promotion of tourism connected to cultural heritage.
The specific objectives are to:
➔ Mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 crisis through the development of online and
➔ Foster an entrepreneurial and proactive spirit;
➔ Maintain the jobs of local communities surrounding historical buildings;
➔ Enhance the visibility of the common European cultural heritage, online and
offline, in order to raise awareness about and promote the cultural heritage
related to historic houses;
➔ Promote tourism related to cultural heritage and revitalise rural areas.