Cultural heritage for development in a crisis and/or post-crisis financial context: potential and public opinion  

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ephorate of Antiquities of Thessaloniki Region 

Crisis is a situation that is repeated throughout human history. Although crisis could take many forms, financial crisis has the most severe impact on humans since its consequences affect all aspects of their lives. To overcome the situation of a financial crisis, humans are forced to exploit all available resources and assets, among which Cultural Heritage is classified. Cultural Heritage could be used as a producer of income both for states and citizens and thus as a basis for financial development. The financial applications of cultural heritage assets are really limitless taking under consideration (among others) the tourism potential of cultural heritage, the possibilities of digital technologies and the investment of funds in local markets for conservation-restoration purposes.

The potential of Cultural Heritage for financial development in a crisis and/or post-crisis era, as the one humanity experiences today (real estate crisis of 2008 in the USA, Covid-19 global crisis and war of Ukraine crisis) could not be activated without the willingness of the public to be engaged in the process. Some critical questions rise at this point: What is the opinion of the public about cultural heritage during a crisis and/or post crisis period? Is the public willing to spend resources for acquiring a contact with cultural heritage? What kind of contact does the public pursue (e.g. physical contact though visits to cultural heritage sites, use of social media, digital applications for cultural heritage etc? And finally, is the public ready to use cultural heritage as a resource for financial development?

Taking the above under consideration, current study aims to present the methodology and the results of a quantitative research aiming to propose answers to the above-mentioned questions and to measure awareness of the public towards cultural heritage and its exploitation as a resource for overcoming crisis.