University of Toulouse studies the Via Francigena

The European Association of Via Francigena Ways (EAVF) participated in the conclusive study of the "Via Francigena" project realised by the School of Tourism of the "Jean Jaurès" University of Toulouse (Occitania).

The meeting took place at the French University which dedicates an annual in-depth biannual course with practical workshops to the themes of sustainable tourism and routes. Since it's conception, the project has been shared with the European Association of Via Francigena Ways, which follows the various steps of the study which began last November.

This university research produced an intermediate analysis (presented in December 2018), qualitative and quantative research, with project proposals, methodology for studies applied to slow tourism, data collection and a final dossier for the development of the Via Francigena in France. Two aspects were at the centre of their analysis: social-cultural and economic impact of the route in France (900km) and access and use of cultural heritage along the Via.

The study confirmed that a part of the French route is still unknown and unused by French and international pilgrims, thus emerged the necessity to broaden the network of territorial entities involved in the development of the route. On the other hand, an extraordinary potential has been revealed for the Via Francigena for the development of the Via Francigena, especially considering that 90% of the French section is in rural areas.

The 24 students, divided into 5 thematic work groups, presented the final dossier to professors Francis Vayre (Director of the Laurea in Turismo programme), Dris Boumeggouti (Director of the Master in Turismo programme) and the EAVF, which raised interesting ideas which may be developed in the future: clusters, new technology, route festivals, information gathering for a pilgrim profile, excursions and territorial animation. At the end of the presentation the EAVF was invited to express their opinions on the work carried out.

The EAVF and the University of Toulouse have decided to continue with their collaboration with an international agreement which allows collaboration with students, opening up possibilities with other universities in England, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain. It's a way to invest in young people and students who can suggest many enthusiastic ideas for the Via Francigena, making them important ambassadors for the route.

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