- Creative Tourism Network (CTN): How did the idea of creating this MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) come to life?
Nicolas Monquaut (NM):
This project came to life shortly after the first Rencontres du Tourisme Culturel (Meetings of Cultural Tourism) organized in December 2016 in Paris by the French Ministry of Culture. These meetings brought together 450 tourism and culture professionals. The success of this event showed that the actors of both sectors had strong expectations regarding the exchange of experiences.
At the same time, the Ministry of Culture was working with the two ministries in charge of tourism, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy and Finances, on establishing an action plan, which led to an inter-ministerial agreement on cultural tourism that was signed on January 19th, 2018. Together, we identified from the get-go that training courses were a key issue that needed to be part of our roadmap. This roadmap sets several goals, and one of them is to develop cross-training schemes, with programmes, traineeships and online courses for professionals of both sectors.
The head of education in tourism at the CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts), Brice Duthion, made a speech during the first Meetings of Cultural Tourism. Following extensive exchanges with him, the Ministry of Culture and the CNAM signed a partnership that led to the creation of the “Tourism is Cultural” MOOC, which is the result of a long and meticulous process.
[The MOOC’s] structure is set on a precise goal: help handle the culture/tourism matter better, its issues in terms of territory development and access to culture, the multiple careers and dimensions of cultural tourism, but also how tourists and visitors are welcomed and accompanied.
- Who is this course designed for?
It is intended for all actors in the public and private sectors, in France and French-speaking countries, who see synergy between culture and tourism developing and growing on a daily basis, which requires them to broaden the scope of their skills – whether they are professionals in the cultural or touristic fields, companies in said sectors (travel agencies, tour operators…) or public entities. It is also designed for students as well as anyone who is passionate about cultural tourism.
The MOOC forms a rather broad database on current trends and issues in cultural tourism in a rapidly-growing context, and proposes frameworks of action that both parties can benefit from and instigate together on their territory. Registered users will also be able to keep full access to all contents, even after the course ends.
- Could you tell us more about these contents?
The online course highlights the synergies at play, the best practices as well as the broad scope of resources, both in France and worldwide, for cultural tourism. Of course, all of this is observed through the lens of economic globalization, digital revolution, decentralization of public policies, research of territorial dynamics and new partnerships, and the emergence of new clients and international competition.
Its structure is set on a precise goal: help handle the culture/tourism matter better, its issues in terms of territory development and access to culture, the multiple careers and dimensions of cultural tourism, but also how tourists and visitors are welcomed and accompanied.
It also focuses on management and cooperation between actors in a cultural tourism destination and analyses strategies for enhancing attractiveness of territories.
This MOOC lasts for six weeks, each week is divided into six sequences. Each sequence is composed of a video course that tackles a particular theme, followed by an interview -sometimes two- with an expert. The sequence ends with a short quiz, so that learners can review and evaluate their progress.
The modern traveller is now increasingly interested in being a part of cultural experiences, achieving personal accomplishments, and discovering new places.
- Why did you find it relevant to include creative tourism in the MOOC?
This MOOC follows the evolution of the tourists’ demand, their identity and their behaviours. Tourists are slowly turning away from mainstream offers, and this tendency is particularly clear when it comes to creative tourism. The modern traveller is now increasingly interested in being a part of cultural experiences, achieving personal accomplishments, and discovering new places. This traveller seeks social interaction, and the integration of creative activities and contents into their tourism experience.
Creative tourism is built around the active participation of tourists and local actors, professionals and creators, and as such it forms a remarkably innovating form of tourism, in which the traveller can develop their creative potential according to the local features of their destination.
Creative tourism opens new ways for destinations to distinguish themselves in the eyes of tourists, but it is not its only advantage. It also adds value to tourism by attracting a new generation of tourists and dynamizes the image and the attractiveness of a territory, all while helping protect its cultural heritage. It promotes the development of creative activities and industries, and even “creative exports”! All these features make creative tourism an amazing opportunity for territories.
France is undoubtedly a fertile ground for creative tourism.
- Would you say that creative tourism complies with the 2018 culture/tourism inter-ministerial agreement and with the Inter-ministerial Tourism Councils?
Without a doubt. A destination’s cultural richness is among the main motivations for tourists, it is a key attractiveness factor. This is not limited to France; this richness is undoubtedly the most well-distributed in the territory if we take all its dimensions into account: tangible and intangible heritage, artistic creations, lifestyle, know-how, cultural and creative industries… Creative tourism considers most of these aspects. It applies to cultural, artistic and creative practices, which can be traditional or modern.
Today, France must confront several challenges. It especially needs to learn how to better spread and regulate the flows of tourists in the country. Hence, the goal is to exploit this great potential in all its aspects, with a particular focus on regions that are further from the usual tourist destinations. It is also essential to conciliate tourism development and sustainable tourism – this development needs to preserve cultural and natural resources and their diversity, while also fully engaging the local population and make it as rewarding for them as it is for tourists. In this regard, creative tourism is highly relevant.
This is precisely why we wanted to highlight it during the second Meetings of Cultural Tourism, which were held on November 20th, 2018, at the Louvre-Lens museum in the Haut-de-France region. In her conference, the head of the Creative Tourism Network®, Caroline Couret’s strengthened our belief in this: France is undoubtedly a fertile ground for creative tourism.