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The economy of cultural heritage and landscape

A systemic and integrated vision

December 9, 20119 December 2011

Economic impact of culture

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This study developed the “Florens Index” as a means to compare the cultural and creative sector between eight countries and between Italian regions. The index examines four key elements:

  • Cultural and environmental capital, which includes cultural and environmental heritage assets, performing arts activities, visual arts activities, and the teaching of cultural knowledge. This element accounts for 40% of the index score.
  • Creative industries, including advertising creation, design, architecture, fashion, wine, gastronomy, “artistic and creative craftsmanship”, and research and development (30% of the index score).
  • Media, including broadcasting, books, films, digital media, music distribution, and daily newspapers (20% of the index score).
  • Networking opportunities such as trade fairs, digital communications, and lifelong learning opportunities (10% of the index score).

The international comparisons are based on a measurement of 40 indicators related to these key elements in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. ranked first on all four key elements, generating an overall index score of 3.45. The United Kingdom ranked second (index score of 3.10), followed by France (2.91), Italy (2.62), Germany (2.56), Spain (2.28), Japan (2.20), and Greece (1.62).

The report also provides findings from a survey on culture of 4, 000 Italian residents and 1,000 residents in the other countries (except Japan, where no survey was conducted). The survey probed public attitudes and behaviours regarding culture, including words commonly associated with “culture”. In Italy, France and the U.S., the word “museum” was most commonly associated with culture. In Spain and Germany, culture was associated with traditional or local customs and festivals. In the United Kingdom, culture was most commonly associated with food, wine and culinary traditions. The Italian survey also found that people between 18 and 24 years of age “associate the words ‘fashion’ and ‘design’ with the concept of culture almost three times more than the Italian average”.

In terms of factors that promote young people’s interest in culture, respondents in all countries indicated that travel and experience are most important. Friends ranked second in four countries (Germany, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.), while family and social environment ranked second in two countries (France and Italy). School ranked third or fourth in all survey countries. In terms of the factors that discourage involvement in cultural activities, high prices ranked first in all countries. Entry lines or crowding ranked second in four countries (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), while transportation problems ranked second in two countries (the U.K. and the U.S.).

The survey results also show that interest in cultural events in one’s own city or area of residence is high in Italy, France and Germany, medium-high in the U.K., and medium-low in Spain and the U.S.

Within Italy, the report finds that the Florens Index and regional per capita Gross Domestic Product have a positive and fairly significant correlation.

The report concludes that “the perception of the concept of culture has gradually broadened and is fairly different from country to country. For these reasons, the decision to focus on cultural tourism requires careful evaluation of the ‘real’ cultural expectations of potential tourists.”

The report provides 13 recommendations and policy directions, including “renewed attention to investments in the cultural sector as a strategic industrial policy tool”, “initiatives to support patronage”, and “greater accessibility to culture for young people”.

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