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Cultural heritage is good for the economy, jobs - study

Italy stands out for tourism says ESPON study of 11 countries

(ANSA) - BRUSSELS, AUG 5 - Cultural heritage is increasingly a strategic resource for the European economy, with great potential in terms of development and employment, with Italy dominating the sector, especially with regards to tourism, according to new research.
    The 'Heritage' study of the ESPON programme, which specializes in EU regional policy analysis, evaluated the economic impact of cultural heritage in 11 EU States and regions (Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Flanders and the Brussels region).
    According to the study's report, activities linked to this sphere, which is only part of the cultural sector as a whole, accounted for 2.1% of employment in the countries studied, generating revenues of almost 84 billion euros in 2016.
    The role of tourism is fundamental and Italy stands out as it is first in terms of revenues (20 billion euros in 2017), workers employed (over 80,000 in 2017) and expenditure by travelers (38.96 billion euros in 2017).
    The ESPON study is based on the recognition of the growing importance of cultural heritage as a strategic resource for the economy, the labour market and territorial cohesion.
    The researchers also highlights the value of the sector for society's well-being, recalling the results of a special Eurobarometer survey in 2017, which reported that 71% of people polled said that living near to beauty can improve quality of life and sense of belonging to the EU.
    The research showed that activities linked to cultural heritage employed 550,000 workers full time, 2.1% of employment, and contributed 1.6% to the added value produced by firms and 3.4% for those in the service economy.
    The study showed that tourism and construction create more jobs and profit with respect to the other spheres examined: architecture, archeology, real estate, museums, libraries and archives.
    So 57% of the revenue produced by cultural heritage comes from tourism, which employs 73% of culture workers.
    In this case tourism only regards the segment linked to cultural heritage, which accounts for around 30% of the whole sector.
    According to the researchers, this segment deserves to be considered separately as it is important in relation to the destinations chosen by tourists, especially international ones.
    Italy is the king among the countries that have a higher concentration of cultural sites, museums, libraries and archives.
    The construction sector, understood as extraordinary maintenance of buildings and renovations by firms specialized in the sector, generates around 32% of revenue, giving employment to 25% of the people whose work is linked to cultural heritage. (ANSA).


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