Reus wants to enter the European routes of Art Nouveau, cemeteries, olive trees and wine
Open new horizons. That is the objective that Reus sets itself in terms of culture and tourism. And it is that the Agència Reus Promoció, the branch of the City Council aimed at promoting local attractions, is activating the machinery so that the city grows in various directions and becomes part of wide-ranging circuits. On the one hand, it has initiated contacts with representatives of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe to try to join some of them. Specifically, four are of interest: the Art Nouveau Networkthe Olive Routes, Iter Vitis, the paths of the vineyard and the European Cemeteries Route. Apart from that, the City Council is advancing on its own route, whose creation it leads and in which it has initially involved Turin (Italy) and Chambéry (France). It is the future European Vermouth Route.
The Councilor for City Promotion, Montserrat Caelles, explains in the Daily that "we are analyzing what attributes we must have to join some of the 48 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe".
In this sense, at the beginning of this October, an expedition from Reus already traveled to Crete to participate in the 11th Annual Consultative Forum organized by the Council itself. There, "we had the opportunity to get to know the itineraries that already exist and those who started them up and maintain them," adds Caelles, who highlights that "we had already noticed some of them and, likewise, we saw opportunities to join others."
The works, as the person in charge of Promoció underlines, are still very incipient and "we still have to start looking at how it would be done." However, "as itineraries that Reus could attend, we have identified a very obvious one, which is that of Art Nouveau, which would simply be the European route of Modernism." “That one, certified in 2015, seems very clear to us”, values Caelles, who expresses that “we would very much like to be able to present a candidacy, since we think we have all the requirements to be in it”.
On the other hand, "we have also seen the itineraries of olive trees and wines as possibilities", specifies the councilor, who highlights that "in the promotion plan, they are elements that we deal with the Estació Enològica de Reus as a building capable of linking the history of our city with its local products and position Reus as a gateway».
The City Council understands that the option of the Olive Routes me the path of the vine "It fits a lot in our speech of the city, of the agri-food product and of quality oil and wine, of which we have always been a marketing and meeting point for businessmen and price fixing." And it values "all the experiences that surround these products".
Finally, "the other itinerary in which we think it is interesting to begin to investigate is that of the cemeteries." The project is still in its infancy but "we came back from Greece very excited," says Caelles.
The Agència Reus Promoció will not advance alone on these new paths. The councilor recalls that "for example, in the case of the cemetery, it would also have to be explored from the point of view of the administration" taking into account the particularities of the space and "in the Art Nouveau itinerary it would be pertinent to speak with owners of private buildings, that they must be in the team and add ». The same thing happens in the Olive Routes me the path of the vinein which "the appellations of origin, the producers or the Chamber" would have something to do with it. Therefore, "so far we have only given a brushstroke and it is the first contact."
Cultural Routes are, as defined by the Council of Europe itself, "an invitation to travel and discover Europe's rich and diverse heritage by uniting people and places in networks of shared history and heritage".
A powerful project from home
But the most powerful project for Reus is the one directed by the city itself, the future European Vermouth Route. “We presented it before the pandemic and, for obvious reasons, with the Covid it was paralyzed but now we have taken it up again with force,” says Caelles. And he says that "it is a network of collaboration and tourist alliance with Turin and Chambéry because the three cities are historically producers of vermouth, with similar characteristics and positioning except for their different measures."
The European Vermouth Route is an initiative "perhaps two or three years away", which "must be developed". What is already clear is that "there are possibilities of synergy and of carrying out joint actions that favor the visibility of the three around vermouth, not only as a product but also as a tourist experience and as a cultural and historical fact".
The municipalities involved have already maintained face-to-face and telematic contacts and it was through Turin that Reus was invited to the 11th Annual Consultative Forum on Cultural Routes. "As the driving force behind this project, we were invited to assess and analyze the possibility of this network that we are starting to set up and that it ends up being certified by the Council of Europe," the councilor details.
In any case, the European Vermouth Route that Reus launches will be created regardless of whether or not it ends up fulfilling this aspiration. Caelles indicates that "they have explained to us how to do it, the steps to take, the way to develop the project until presenting the candidacy and our goal was to bring together all the possible information." “We are satisfied, very excited and waiting to be able to hold new meetings with Turin and Chambéry soon to move forward”, he concludes.
Local agents welcome the expansion of cultural and tourist scenarios
The course of Reus will have repercussions on the agents of the city. Asked about it, the director of Casa Navàs, Sílvia Sagalà, values that "opening horizons is always good news" and "positioning Reus as a modernist square in Europe can only be positive".
"Reus left the European network of Modernism a few years ago and I know that the intention of the council is to work to be in it again," says Sagalà, and recalls that "Casa Navàs is the only modernist building in Europe that conserves its original interior and it is clear that the city has invaluable heritage».
Also consulted in this regard, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Jordi Just, states that "one of the slogans that has made a fortune in the Chamber when it comes to encouraging the internationalization of companies is Our market is the worldand that same philosophy must be applied to the areas of projection of our architectural heritage linked to tourism promotion».
For this reason, "we celebrate the City Council's initiative of wanting to establish these synergies with European networks", he adds, and says that "it is these alliances that put you on the map". "We have a track record and experience and a territory full of treasures that gives us uniqueness," says the president of the Chamber, who recalls that "the city needs to be sold."
Return of the international visitor and the path towards seasonal adjustment
Summer 2022 has brought the return of international tourists. This is confirmed not only by the feelings of the merchants but also, for example, by the Airport data. Between January and September, the infrastructure has moved 811,412 passengers. Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Eindhoven and Cork are, in this order, the places of origin that brought the most travelers to the aerodrome during the season.
With initiatives like the ones it is now beginning to explore, the City Council also intends to give a boost to the deseasonalization of tourism, that is, to maintain the attraction beyond the purely summer months. This is a claim that has also recently been addressed, frequently and forcefully, to the Airport itself, which is moving towards another winter without commercial flights.
Caelles explains that "entering certified routes in Europe also gives us a seal of prestige and quality that represents an important leap for the city." In addition, "our European Vermouth Route, on which we have been working for nearly three years, already has an entire network and a designed strategy and it would also be very interesting if it were certified."