The project objective – in addition to the preservation of the cultural heritage through general renovation and conservation works – is also to develop the heritage. This is to be achieved through, above all, making the monuments more accessible to the public by creating a new exhibition area in the attic of the Basilica. Its huge area (1,250 m2) increased the previously available space by more than a half (which until now was almost 2,470 m2). Unique technical monuments, which were previously inaccessible to visitors, are presented in the attic.
Speaking of the monuments, we have to mention a giant tread-wheel from the 17th century, six cranes (including at least one from the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries) and turnstiles, bender, or equipment for material processing. The Basilica was constructed with innovative devices used to, for example, pull building materials and wooden elements of the rafter framing. The unique collection is the oldest set of technical devices in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe.
The listed technical monuments have not been restored so far. The most interesting device – tread-wheel – was on the verge of collapse (the wooden structure of the crane wheel was already heavily tilted). Some of the devices were heavily corroded. Renovation of devices was aimed at increasing the attractiveness of the Basilica as a tourist facility and attracting new groups of customers.
Modernisation of the tourist offer, which used to be very modest and standard – covering only the possibility of visiting the interior of the Basilica, alone or with a guide – is also supposed to increase the number of visitors. A number of tourists' needs were not met. The basic shortcomings included such fundamental problems as disturbing the peace of the faithful by tour guides, lack of modern technologies supporting individual tours around the cathedral, lack of offer for children or visually and hearing impaired persons, and lack of
a souvenir shop. Meanwhile, visitors are becoming increasingly demanding, and acquiring them for the Pelplin temple and the city itself requires a more enriched offer.
In order to solve these problems, the project intended the creation of a new cultural and educational offer. Four thematic paths will be introduced, a tour guide system will be purchased, and audio-guides will be made available to the visitors for individual tours.
A number of facilities for the disabled have also been introduced and a souvenir shop offering more than just devotional items has been opened. These activities will attract new groups of visitors that will spend more time in the Basilica.
An important factor in making the offer more attractive for the visitors is the fact that the project concerned is the main, but not the only undertaking prepared by the Diocese of Pelplin in the area of the post-Cistercian-cathedral complex. A few undertakings planned nearby the Basilica include: creation of the Kociewian Cultural Centre or revitalisation of the palace and park complex. The complex covers such tourist attractions as: Diocesan Museum with the only Polish copy of the Gutenberg Bible (1453-1455), Diocesan Archives in Pelplin and Library of the Higher Seminary that gathers masterpieces of painting and sculptures of Central Europe created in Pomerania.
As a result of the above activities, the Basilica opens up to new groups of recipients from all over the country (e.g. children, business tourists, people interested in unique technical monuments, e.g. student groups from technical universities), and the range of its impact will significantly increase. Therefore, one can expect a significant increase in the number of visitors (from 13 thousand people to about 27 thousand people a year), the number of people taking part in other important local events (Museum Nights in the former Cistercian Abbey, Festival of honey, herbs and undergrowth, Cistercian Fair, Review of early music ensembles), and consequently the time spent by the visitors in Pelplin.
This fact should have important consequences for the whole local community, and increased tourism should positively translate into the economy of Pelplin. This may result in the creation of new jobs among local companies focused on tourism (gastronomy, shops, small services) in the city with a relatively high level of unemployment.