The creative tourism has undoubtedly been one of the strongest bets of Fitur 2017, the prestigious tourist trade fair in Madrid.
The Creative Tourism Network®, the international organization of reference for this new tourism trend, has presented a round-table on the theme: Creative Tourism: opportunities and challenges for the destination, within Fiturtech, Fitur’s innovation program organized by the Intituto Tecnológico Hotelero (Technological Institute of Hospitality) and FITUR.
The pannel was composed by:
- Vicent Torres Ferrer, Head manager of tourism, Insular Council of Ibiza
- Carita Santos, Director of the Loulé Criativo program, Loulé City Council, Portugal
- Manuel Lara Cantizani, Conciliour of Culture, Tourism and Innovation, Lucena City Council.
- Caroline Couret, Founder and CEO of the Creative Tourism Network®.
The founder and director of the Creative Tourism Network®, Caroline Couret, opened the session by reminding the definition of the creative tourism, a concept that is increasingly used but often inadequately. – “it is not about technological innovation as it is sometimes associated with. Although the technology may intervene at some point in the process, we are conversely speaking of a tourism centered on “the human.” The human from the point of view of the demand, as it was conceptualized in the year 2000 by the Professors Greg Richards and Crispin Raymond, who defined it as a ‘Tourism which offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences, which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are taken.’
“A visionary bet for a niche tourism that, in less than a decade, went from the lonely budding artist, to a new way of traveling in which the experiential aspect and human relationships have become a destination’ differential element.
Furthermore, not only is this an evolution in the tourist industry, but it also reflects a change in the society, in which consumers have become “prosumers”, who create or co-create their experiences with the operators and destination managers.
Such a paradigm shift imposes a new – and more creative – way of managing tourism. The “If we have always done so,” no longer Works! Imagine that from now, the attraction of a destination stops being its church for a granny who teaches tourists how to make basketry, or the baker who, in free time, proposes them to make their own bread. Obviously the management model will have to adapt to this new reality. And here, more than ever, the human factor intervenes.
As any disruptive situation, it creates challenges and opportunities. The challenge of involving local actors who do not belong to the tourism sector (artists, artisans, associations, etc.) to design experiences that are both unique and marketable, and the opportunity to create a chain of value for the destination (quality of the offer ), as well as for the territory (residents’ quality of life).
For this reason, it is very important not to reduce the management of the creative tourism to mere digital platforms.
This issue was exposed by the panel.
Vicent Torres Ferrer explained how, through the IbizaCreativa program, the Insular Council of Ibiza and the five municipalities of the island create a new offer to attract a seasonal tourism, interested in the creative potential of the island. Whether participating in a DJ course, a fashion design workshop or a photographic route, the creative tourists who choose Ibiza correspond to different profiles (singles, familial, MICE or even co-workers), but they all value the quality and authenticity of the proposed experiences. These experiences are designed within the framework of training seminars that enable local actors to be empowered with new knowledge and responsibilities. The program thus becomes a tool to boost the local economy, beyond the tourism sector.
Carita Santos, responsible for the LouléCriativo program, promoted by Loulé City Council, not only spoke about the experiences through which the traveler can live to discover the local culture through crafts courses, traditional cooking classes, dance workshops, and thus a long etcetera, but also presented the municipal strategy that turns creative tourism into a motor of economic development. Thus, in addition to involving local communities in the creation of a new business, LouléCriativo presents itself as a hub that creates synergies with festivals, start-ups and supports the creation of an arts and crafts training center, among other projects. The creative tourism not only allows to attract a new profile of tourists in the interior of the Algarve, but also acts as a tool for territorial development.
Manuel Lara Cantizani, insisted on the importance of developing creative tourism in a city like Lucena to offer travelers a unique experience of their intangible heritage, marked by the coexistence of the three cultures, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. This heritage that today’s traveler can appreciate participating in a Sephardic cooking or music course, a wine tasting, a craft workshop or performing a concert with his orchestra or choir in one of the many monuments or auditoriums of the city as, the creative tourism is also the most relevant way of betting on programs such as the Unesco Creative Cities Network, for which Lucena has presented the program “Lucena City of Music – Harmony for Tolerance”.
These three examples demonstrate that the creative tourism not only aims to meet the demand of the new generation of tourist, but offers also as a model of sustainable development for the territory. That’s the reason why, destinations from all over the world, members of the Creative Tourism Network®, are betting on the creative tourism as well. The missions of the Creative Tourism Network® are precisely to advise and train their local agents, and to promote them internationally, within this booming sector.