The increasing trend of experiential and personalized tourism is an advantage for creative tourism to thrive in the future.
What is Creative tourism?
The creative tourism concept was first defined by Professor Greg Richards and Crispin Raymond in 2000, as:
“Tourism which offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in learning experiences which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are undertaken”.
In other words, it can be emphasized by “co-creation” and “activeness” when referring to Creative tourism. This form is a part of cultural tourism, but in addition to “passively” observing and enjoying the landscapes or local products, travelers will co-create those products by themselves with support from locals. Creative tourism activities can include painting, carving, pottery, folk dances, cooking, etc.
Who are creative tourists?
While in the past, travelers interested in creative tourism are those who have already had personal experiences related to art and want to participate in other art activities on their trip to enrich their artistic experiences, the defenition of creative tourists now is much larger. Creative tourists can now be people who have not had any artistic experiences before, but they like to explore the culture of the destination by participating in the process of creating, making typical products of the region they visit.
Creative tourists do not see themselves as “tourists” but rather expect to experience as locals. They are eager to learn, get access to art activities and connect, interact with local residents as well as experience the traditional lifestyle.
Benefits of Creative tourism
The most obvious benefit of Creative tourism is to preserve and impluse the development of intangible heritage. It is required both the pride of local communities on their tradition and recognition, and interest to experience from visitors to successfully preserve traditional local products like crafts, cuisine, languages, music, nature, sports, etc.
Besides, Creative tourism is a form of sustainable tourism because the main source of this tourism activity is the creativity of travelers and local residents. Unlike the historical sites or landscapes which are easily eroded over time and difficult to retain the original characteristics after restructure, Creative tourism is exploited based on creativity and experiential spirit of travelers together with the expertise values of locals – a firm and continuously innovative foundation.
Creative tourism is specific to each region because of its unique cultural values. This type of tourism exploits the value of locals’ knowledge, life experience and expertise so that it brings unique experiences and is difficult to copy. This also enables regions without geographic and natural advantages to attract travelers with historical and cultural values and the innovation in creating exceptional experiences for travelers.
Some Creative tourism examples in the world
Porto Alegre is a dynamic cultural city located in the south of Brazil. “Porto Alegre Creative Tourism” is a program organized by local government that allows travelers to participate in short courses, workshops and many other activities that brings the local art and gaucho culture. Creative tourism activities here also motivate many enterprises to participate in the innovation and creation of tourism in this city.
The town of Loulé is famous for its crafts in Portugal. This town has a long tradition in pottery, shoemaking and metalworking. “Loulé Criativo” is an initiative of the local government to promote and enhance the identity of this region through supporting artisans and organizing many art activities for travelers to participate. This action is intended to help recover traditional arts and crafts, and preserve the intangible heritage of this region.
Mandagascar Explorer is a tourism operator founded in 1988 in the beautiful Madagascar. Madagascar Explorer organizes a lot of creative tourism activities for travelers to create and design quality traditional products, such as woodcarving by ancestral techniques, making silk scarf or making Antemoro paper.
Although Creative tourism is only a niche segment in cultural tourism, it has strong potential to develop in the future as travelers’ demand does not stop at relaxing and enjoying but is moving gradually to seeking personal experiences.
Creative tourism is a projection of new tourism in which natural, cultural and personal resources are not manipulated and exploited but valued and enriched – Jelincic and Zuvela, 2012.