The European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR) is a unique body implementing the cultural routes of the Council of Europe. EICR is assisting the new proposals of the routes till the election by the Council of Europe (eligibility criteria, pertinence of the theme, European dimension of the proposed route, resources and capacity of the network, scientific committee), the implementation of the route (management and financial plan, rules for the network, signposting, communication plan) and the long term performance of the route (networking between the routes, common projects, political support at various levels, training of actors). EICR is thus in constant contact with local, regional, national and European levels, acting as a link between the actors of cultural routes and the European institutions like the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, and other Institutions concerned with cultural tourism.
The European Institute of Cultural routes was involved during the last 15 years in several projects dealing with cultural tourism and the development of cultural routes through Europe (49 European regions are involved). The development of such European cultural networks usually raises serious governance challenges as it depends of concrete initiatives that connects national, regional, local and European levels, as well as private operators of different European countries – all them with very different political, legal and administrative cultures and varying degrees of decentralization. Often, the concrete impact of cultural routes is difficult and complex to asses. That’s why the EICR has an essential role in putting together the resources of the cultural routes, the actors involved, but also the authorities concerned. EICR retains also the “memory” of the cultural routes program of the Council of Europe, reports on cultural routes, contacts with the coordinators & actors involved.