Edited by Greg Richards
The research project on which this book is based began to take shape in 1991, when the European Association for Tourism and Leisure Education (ATLAS) was given financial support by DGXXIII of the European Commission for a transnational study of European cultural tourism.
The basic reason for establishing the ATLAS Cultural Tourism Project was that very little comparative data then existed on European cultural tourism. Previous studies had tended to cover individual cultural tourism markets, or were generalized conceptual studies. The lack of data was problematic, as the European Commission had designated cultural tourism as a key area of tourism development in Europe in 1990.
Without basic data on cultural tourism at European level, it is difficult to implement or to evaluate the implementation of cultural tourism policies. The ATLAS Cultural Tourism Project was therefore designed to provide comparative transnational data on cultural tourism, which would serve as a basis for the analysis of cultural tourism developments and trends across Europe. Although this was originally envisaged as a fairly limited project, the problems associated with organizing a transnational project and collecting and analysing comparable data ensured that the project extended far
beyond its original scope.