“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.”

Greg Richards, Crispin Raymond in 2000

Painting « azulejos » in Portugal, upcycling the red carpet from the festival in Cannes, being a “silletero” for a day in Medellín, making your rose-based cosmetics in Bulgaria, participating in a wall-painting workshop in Valparaíso, practicing snow carving in Canada, learning the Carnival dances in Brazil, participating in a music master class in Morocco or Jamaica, or a cooking lesson in the Philippines, or even performing your concert in Barcelona…

… are among the endless travel interests of creative tourists and new generations of travelers.

Creative Tourism is considered the new generation of tourism, characterized by co-creating authentic experiences between locals and tourists.

This new way of discovering the genuine culture by experiencing it with the locals has been growing for the last decade. Today, tourists (better said travelers) need to feel involved in the destination and to co-create unique experiences with its people.

This paradigm shift implies managing tourism more creatively, to convert these new challenges into new opportunities and create a value chain for the territories. This is precisely the mission of the Creative Tourism Network®.

In the wake of the new economies #creativeeconomy #circulareconomy #experientialeconomy #orangeeconomy – Creative Tourism has positioned itself as THE new-generation tourism and a holistic solution for all kinds of destinations, raising several ethical considerations.

These include respect for local cultures, sustainability, economic impact, authenticity, and inclusivity, converting creative tourism into a lever for sustainable development which complies with most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

“Creative tourism encourages local communities to diversify tourism offers, making small entrepreneurs more proactive as they become able to create new products without the need for much investment into tangible infrastructure but using its creativity to capture tourists’ interest.”

United Nation Development Program, UNDP, 2022.
Sustainable Development Goals

Here are some of the creative tourism ethical principles formulated by the Creative Tourism Network® to ensure meaningful experiences and a value chain for the territories.

1 Respect for Local Cultures

Cultural Sensitivity: Creative tourism should promote understanding and appreciation of local traditions, customs, and ways of life. Tourists should be educated to avoid cultural appropriation and respect the community’s values and practices.

Empowerment: Activities should be designed to empower local communities, allowing them to share their culture on their own terms.

2 Authenticity

Genuine Experiences: Creative tourism should offer authentic cultural experiences, avoiding the commodification of culture where traditions are altered to suit tourist expectations.

Community Involvement: The local community should have a significant role in shaping the tourism experiences offered, ensuring they remain true to the culture.

3 Inclusivity and Accessibility

Inclusive Practices: Creative tourism should be inclusive, providing opportunities for all community members to participate and benefit, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Accessibility: Efforts should be made to make creative tourism accessible to a diverse range of tourists, including those with disabilities.

4 Ethical Marketing

Truthful Representation: Marketing materials should accurately represent the experiences and avoid misleading tourists. This helps in setting realistic expectations and fosters trust.

5 Learning and Exchange

Mutual Benefit: The focus should be on mutual learning and exchange rather than one-sided benefit. Tourists should learn from the community, and the community should also gain insights and benefits from the interaction.

6 Sustainability

Environmental Impact: Creative tourism should minimize its ecological footprint. This includes using sustainable materials, reducing waste, and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Long-term Planning: Initiatives should consider the long-term impact on the community and environment, ensuring that tourism does not lead to the degradation of local resources.

Economic Impact: Fair Compensation: Local artists, artisans, and cultural practitioners should receive fair payment for their contributions. This supports local economies and encourages the preservation of traditional crafts and skills.

Economic Equity: Efforts should be made to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are distributed equitably within the community, avoiding exploitation and ensuring that marginalized groups also benefit.

10 Good reasons (and more) why destinations should bet on creative tourism:


To meet the new global – and quality – demand for experiential tourism


To all destinations and territories (villages, cities, mountains, islands…)


Covering all the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda


Using creative tourism to administer, monitor, control, or report the territories’ data


By boosting tourism without investment, just relying on existing know-how


By turning cultural DNA into an ORGANIC BRANDING of the territory.


Training, mentoring, and entrepreneurship of vulnerable groups


Throughout the year and across the entire territory


Generating economic growth, a value chain, and a virtuous development through cross-cutting co-creation (tourism, arts, creative industries, education, etc)


Instead of competing with destinations of all types


As the main resource: “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have!”. (Maya Angelou)


Using creative tourism to administer, monitor, control, or report the territories’ data


Enhancing locals’ self-esteem by recovering their traditions


Meeting new targets: millennials, foodies, crafters, dance-music-lovers, singles, bleisure, digital-nomads, seniors, MICE, LOHAS, Premium, staycation, accessible tourism, …

“Creative tourism is a projection of a new tourism in which natural, cultural and personal ressources are not manipulated and exploited but valued and enriched”.

Jelincic and Zuvela, 2012

It is difficult to draw a portrait of those new tourists as they want to be “unique”.

Creative tourists are travelers interested in actively participating in cultural experiences and engaging with local communities during their trips. They are seeking more immersive and hands-on activities that allow them to learn about local traditions, arts, and crafts. Creative tourists are usually curious, open-minded, and interested in exploring the cultural heritage of the destinations they visit. They seek authentic and unique experiences that go beyond typical tourist attractions.

They can be solos, couples, families, or a group of travelers.

  • They can plan their trip themselves or contract professional services.
  • The nature of their creative activities can be educational (courses, workshops), can refer to the creation (art residency, co-creation with local artists), or the representation (performing concerts, acting, exhibiting).

Among the great diversity of creative tourists… we could meet

  • A traveler who participates in a cooking class to meet locals or to share experiences with his peers.
  • Choirs who travel to perform in each place they visit.
  • Groups of dancers, sketchers, or photography lovers, whose travel purpose is to practice their hobby.
  • Families that take part in a mosaic class during their stay, to experience the local traditions.
  • To name but a few …

Creative tourists in broad brush strokes

  • They share the same values and interests based on respectful human relationships, cultural exchanges, ethics, authenticity, lifelong learning, know-how, hands-on experiences, and DIY.
  • They want to experience the local culture by participating actively in artistic and creative activities.
  • They want to live experiences wherever they feel “like a local”.
  • They spend a substantial part of their budget on these experiences.
  • They like doing creative tourism in various contexts: urban, rural, mountain, islands, etc

One of the main missions of the Creative Tourism Network® is to identify and reach creative tourists, throughout their evolution, under all their forms and respective channels, both in B2B and B2C.