The exemple of Porto Alegre Creative Tourism is a success story we love to explain. In only five months the Secretary of Tourism created an innovative tourist program based on traditions and creativity. The Ist. Brazilian Conference on Creative Tourism, held in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul in October 2013, inaugurated this pioneering initiative and its adhesion to the Creative Tourism Network®. Celebrating the first anniversary of this project, we met his founder, Luiz Fernando Schreiner Moraes, Secretary of Tourism for Porto Alegre, who offers us a balance of the first intense months.
- CTN – How did the project Porto Alegre Creative Tourism come about?
LFSM – Through its characteristics, Porto Alegre has been focusing on strengthening the segments in which the city can be more competitive. It is a strategy to boost Tourism. Among these segments are Events Tourism and Medical Tourism, to name just two. Within this context, the idea of Creative Tourism was founded, firstly considering that Porto Alegre is a traditional destination in terms of cultural production in Brazil. Secondly, we noted that no other South American city had implemented a similar program, which makes Porto Alegre a pioneer in the segment, something that is already of great importance.
- What are its objectives?
The strategy of investing in segments in which Porto Alegre can be more competitive is aimed at increasing the flow of tourists, the amount of time they spend in the city and also diversifying tourism-related offers. In the case of Creative Tourism, all the values and attributes of the new segment are added, especially in terms of providing tourists with a unique experience in the immaterial world of the city. And we foresaw something that actually ended up happening. This pioneering spirit generated major publicity for the city by means of spontaneous media in Brazil and abroad.
- Porto Alegre is once again enjoying the spotlight thanks to a pioneering project. What are the virtues of the city for developing this new tourism?
Firstly, we believe in the cultural tradition of the city as being the initial leveraging mechanism for the project. Porto Alegre is the cradle of many renowned authors, artists, musicians and composers, and it is a mandatory stop for all major national and international performances and shows. Furthermore, in Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul is a state whose unique identity is clearly defined, with a wealth of artistic folklore. These conditions have led us to believe that it is possible to successfully implement Creative Tourism and expand into other areas, which is what we’re doing. Nowadays, we are already adding other sectors, such as social technology, for example.
- What, specifically, is offered to creative tourists that choose Porto Alegre?
We currently have dozens of permanent workshops that can be selected through the program portal, offering the most varied activities. What we have noticed is a strong preference for workshops linked to local traditional culture, such as gastronomy, with the churrasco (barbecue) workshops – as this is the home of the Brazilian churrasco, along with chimarrão (yerba-mate) and traditional dance workshops, among others.
- In your view, what are the benefits of creative tourism?
The major merit of Creative Tourism lies in its concept, which is expanding the vision of the visitor, transforming the trip from the traditional contemplative experience to a special and unique experience of the local culture. Along with other benefits, like involving an entire network of artists and artisans in tourism. These people only sold their work to tourists. Now, they teach also, generating valuable contact with tourists, while also selling their work. We are generating income in new sectors of the city’s economy that isn’t directly involved with the Tourism cycle.
- Porto Alegre organized the First Brazilian Conference on Creative Tourism. Does this mean that this initiative could also be introduced in other regions of Brazil?
At the Conference, held in October 2013, we welcomed 600 participants from all over Brazil. Thanks to the Conference and the pioneering program, Porto Alegre has been invited to present this experience throughout Brazil. I believe we will see many destination with creative tourism programs in the near future. And in some places, we’re already seeing the articulation of creative economy programs integrating and stimulating Creative Tourism activities.
Interview: Creative Tourism Network®
Luiz Fernando Schreiner Moraes, a journalist and advertiser graduated from the Pontifical University of Rio Grande do Sul, has been the secretary of Tourism for Porto Alegre since the creation of the City Tourism Department, in 2007.He has presided over Anseditur – National Association of Tourism Secretaries and Managers of Capital and Inducing Destinations, an entity of which he is currently the vice-president. He is one of the idealizers and founders of the Porto Alegre Healthcare Cluster, the first entity of its type in the country’s Medical Tourism sector, and presides over the Brazilian Association of Medical Tourism – Abratus. In 2011, by popular vote, he was elected one of the Brazilian Tourism Personalities of the Year and received the “Leaders” award, from the North American entity Medical Tourism Association, thanks to his work in favor of the development of Medical Tourism in Brazil. Since its launch, in 2013, the Porto Alegre Creative Tourism program, a pioneer in the country, has invited been invited to lectures and seminars on Creative Tourism, hosted in different states that have woken to the new segment thanks to the initiative of Porto Alegre and the 1st Brazilian conference on Creative Tourism, held in the city in October 2013. In the 1990s, he was the Press Secretary for the State Government and Superintendent of Communication for the Legislative Assembly. He has also entrepreneured in the area of communication and presided over Fundação Cultural Piratini, radio and public television networks.
Interview: Creative Tourism Network®