Setting the Scene project obtains ERC Proof of Concept grant to make media tourism more sustainable and inclusive

Black and white picture of moving crowd
Picture of Dubrovnik (Croatia)

The past decades knew an immense influx in media tourism: more and more people visit places related to their favourite TV show, movie or book. Apart from the subsequent, celebrated economic growth in these areas, this also means grave discomfort and interference to local communities. Prof.dr. Stijn Reijnders received a Proof of Concept grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for his proposal Setting the Scene, which aims to balance these two antagonistic implications. The Proof of Concept grant – worth €150,000 – enables researchers to explore the commercial and societal potential of their frontier research projects in order “to progress on the path from ground-breaking research towards innovation”. The grants are part of the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe.  

Image: The city of Dubrovnik (Croatia) became a popular tourist location after its important role in Game of Thrones.

Today, popular culture is of great significance to the tourism economy, but it also raises important questions about environmental degradation, spatial justice and cultural heritage. To circumvent such concerns, municipalities worldwide need well-thought-out policies that support more sustainable and inclusive media tourism.

The goal of the present initiative is to found a global consultancy agency called Setting the Scene (SETS) which provides city governments with products and services to optimise the implications of media tourism in an environmentally, socially, and culturally responsible manner.

SETS will be carried out at the Erasmus Research Center for Media, Culture and Communication (ERMeCC). ERMeCC is a multi-disciplinary research center, located at the interface of media studies and cultural studies, and thus the ideal environment for the project’s fulfilment. The project will be led by Stijn Reijnders. He is a Full Professor of Cultural Heritage at ERMeCC (ESHCC), Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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