The State of the Art in Creative Tourism
Leading Research | Advanced Practices | Future Trajectories
1-2 June 2017
Call for Proposals
Deadline: February 14, 2017
This conference has two aims:
First, to bring together leading creative tourism researchers with creative tourism networks and practitioners to outline “the state of the art” – the main lines of research and key issues in both the research and practice of creative tourism. What is the state of the art within creative tourism research and practice? What are the leading trends and contextualizing influences today? What are the key questions and issues to be addressed going forward?
Second, to inform the development of a creative tourism network – CREATOUR – focusing on small cities and rural areas within the Norte, Centro, Alentejo and Algarve regions of Portugal. We are eager to learn from creative tourism efforts internationally that can advise the network’s development and the array of creative tourism practices to be conducted by the pilot initiatives within CREATOUR.
What is creative tourism?
Creative tourism offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in workshops, courses and other learning experiences that are characteristic of the destination where they are taken. Creative tourism allows visitors to deepen contact with the local culture by directly participating in cultural/creative activities and being involved in the creative life of the destination (rather than just displaying creative products, for example). The creative tourism approach allows the destination communities and regions to benefit from significant advantages, and enables artistic and other creative activities to play a driving role in broader socio-economic development.
In the early 2000s, creative tourism emerged as a reaction against “mass cultural tourism” approaches as consumers sought more authentic and engaging experiences and desired to cultivate their own creativity through tourism. Originally, creative tourism referred mainly to active learning experiences, often linked to tangible cultural elements such as crafts, and this stream continues to be vibrant in creative tourism. Added to this, a shift towards a more extensive relationship between tourism and the creative industries is also observed, moving from a focus on specific forms of culture to creative content more generally and the platforms that make the distribution of this content possible. This new wave of creative tourism embodies an approach centred on “contemporary creativity, innovation and intangible content” (OECD 2014: 7), although it may use traditional culture as a source of inspiration. Becoming more than just a new tourism niche, this represents a source of innovation and an expansion of tourism as a whole.
Creative tourism experiences combine different creative content elements and engage with creative lifestyles. Visitors or consumers want to be actively involved in creative experiences and activities. Creative tourism consumers desire to “go where the creativity is” and to directly participate in creation and co-creation activities. They are increasingly playing a co-creation role in the development of creative experiences, sharing knowledge, and contributing skills to the creative experiences. Creative tourism experiences are not only economically valuable, but may stimulate the development of new ideas, products, and services through the interactions, conversations, and co-creation experiences that occur.
Furthermore, creative experiences must be embedded in the destination so that “people have a reason to be creative in a particular place. Destinations have to identify characteristic creative content and activities that connect with the needs of visitors and residents” (OECD 2014: 54). Creative tourism involves collaboration with a wide range of actors to develop “dispersed value networks” (p. 7).
The highest-profile creative tourism platforms are in cities well known as creative centres (e.g., Paris, Barcelona, Santa Fe) or linked with popular films and music (e.g., Lord of the Rings and Wellington, New Zealand; Korean new wave cinema and music, with various sites). However, other initiatives, for example, in Canada and Japan, have been developed from regional or small-town contexts.
Who is organizing?
The conference is organized within the project CREATOUR: Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas (Desenvolver Destinos de Turismo Criativo em Cidades de Pequena Dimensão e em Áreas Rurais). The overall objective of CREATOUR is to develop and pilot an integrated approach and research agenda for creative tourism in small cities and rural areas in Portugal, developing strong links within and amongst regions. CREATOUR is a national three-year project (2016-2019) funded under the Joint Activities Programme of PORTUGAL 2020, by COMPETE2020, POR Lisboa, POR Algarve and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.