Creative Tourism – environmental and cultural sustainability

What's the problem?

The “touristification” processes of cities such as Barcelona and Lisbon, and the negative impacts these processes have demonstrated in the big cities, has been raising important reflections on how to turn the touristic investments sustainable and compatible with the persons' forms of life. The insertion in the local milieu local, through promoting a visitor's immersion experience in the local culture and institutions, has been one of the debated strategies as a way to promote a sustainable tourism. Within these dynamics, concepts such as creative tourism have arisen, involving active learning experiences which allow self-expression and the development of creative skills, with a broader and more integrated relation between the cultural and the touristic sectors, the emerging creative industries and platforms that enable that content's distribution.
Beyond the visitor attraction potential to spaces that would otherwise not be visited, creative tourism invites to the active participation in creative activities, generating new ideas and renewed thoughts on the local resources, allowing the engendering of added value – economic, social and cultural – at the local and regional level. This potential needs, however, to be studied in a continuous process together with its practical application.

What are we doing?

“CREATOUR - Desenvolver Destinos de Turismo Criativo em Cidades de Pequena Dimensão e Áreas Rurais” (Developing Creative Tourism Destinations in Small Dimension Cities and Rural Areas) is a  multidisciplinary investigation initiative with the format of a demonstration based upon collaborative processes performed by five university centres working with cultural/creative organizations and other interested parts located in small cities in the North, Centre, Alentejo and Algarve regions. Coordinated by Nancy Duxbury, the projet's general objective is to develop and implement an integrated approach and an investigation agenda, both focused on the creative tourism in small cities and rural areas, strengthening connections within and among Portuguese regions. The project interlaces theory and experimentation, combining theoretic and methodological multidisciplinary referentials, cultural mapping and benchmarking exercises with the analysis of creative tourism study cases.
The project also aims at producing policy recommendations, with special attention to cluster interaction and the collaboration in network as fundamental options for continued development.
Among its main objectives are the reinforcement of the connection between the cultural/creative and the touristic sectors; catalysing the development of a network of 40 entities for the promotion of creative tourism offers in small dimension cities and rural areas in the North, Centre, Alentejo and Algarve regions; planning and implementing the professional development and co-learning events through regional and national IdeaLabs; monitoring the pilot initiatives for an analysis and evaluation of their engagement and socio-economic impacts in the local communities; nationally and internationally disseminating the observed and analysed results through a series of publications directed to investigators, professionals and agents involved in formulating policies.

What do we seek to bring about?

Apart from the 5 investigation centres, the CREATOUR projects relies on 40 organizations which develop creative tourism pilot activities, dispersed along the North, Centre, Alentejo and Algarve regions.
Developing a pilot projects' network is essential in CREATOUR, in which the integrating pilot organizations assume a prominent role through developing and implementing a set of creative tourism set of activities. The pilots here are co-investigators, entrepreneurs and local network catalysers, actively contributing for this project's success.
In declarations to Jornal de Abrantes, Councillor Luís Dias praises the fact “how these pilot projects have achieved marking the territories, and somehow affirm tourism in their territory through other areas of economic promotion”.
Since the summer of 2017, in all the regions, several (around 100) creative tourism activities have been promoted in the context of CREATOUR based upon local traditions, artistic expression, relation to nature and the place.
Additionally, spaces for discussion and knowledge exchange are also created aiming at its integrated building, with both informal as structured components. The IdeaLabs are examples of such moments, with the main objective of supporting the content's development and the connection of creativities to the territory. They represent spaces of regular contact (pilots-pilots/pilots-investigators), important for the support in developing the creative tourism initiatives and other project actions and for the promotion of intra and interregional synergies among the pilot organizations and the cultural/creative and the touristic sectors.
Through their newsletter and the social networks, the project publicizes the scientific advances as much as the activities developed within the pilot projects.

Related Projects

Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas


Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas

Nancy Duxbury

November 1, 2016 to June 30, 2020

POR Lisboa
POR Algarv

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