Changing Gear Workshop: How to reduce the impacts of visitor travel on cultural and heritage sites?
The first part of the day was dedicated to the concrete case study of the UNESCO site of Jelling, where the workshop took place, and understanding the issues that the site faces as a result of the increasing numbers of visitors. Morten Teilmann Jorgensen, Director of the Museum Kongernes Jelling, took the participants outside to see first-hand Jelling’s attractions – rune stones, burial mounds and palisade – but also the opportunities and challenges it faces in terms of visitor transportation.
Most visitors currently come to Jelling by car, which creates challenges with congestion and lack of car parking, particularly during the summer months, but also negatively affects the experience for other visitors (e.g. cyclists don’t feel safe on the roads surrounding the site). Promoting bikes and public transport as ways of accessing UNESCO sites is thus a real need in places such as Jelling.
A new initiative aiming to encourage the use of the bicycle has been developed by the local public authority, Vejle Municipality, entitled: Bike Friends. It is a network of 25 businesses that have committed to help passing cyclists (e.g. if they have a flat tire, if they are looking for directions etc.).
Henrik Lythe Jorgensen from Danish Cycling Tourism presented a user’s perspective with a guide on what steps a UNESCO site should take to become more bike friendly. Richard Weston from the University of Central Lancashire gave some ideas on how to enable behaviour change – setting our both the ‘carrot’ and the ‘stick’ approaches. Some of the soft measures mentioned included a reduced price for people showing up by public transport and providing better parking facilities for bikes.
This hard day of learning and thinking was then wrapped around some delicious Danish cakes.
Head over to the dedicated page for the Changing Gear Workshop for additional information including the event programme and presentations.