My definition of creative tourism is;
‘Tourism that offers visitors a creative pursuit (including arts, crafts and cookery workshops), with the opportunity to stay in high quality accommodation, and to connect with local people in a distinctive destination.’
Research indicates that people want more time, space and energy, and a greater sense of wellbeing. They are demonstrating a growing desire to connect with each other and feel more in touch with local communities. Some of this can be achieved through creative tourism as it provides visitors with the opportunity to learn a new skill, provide a sense of achievement and to create a unique souvenir, for example, a painting, crafted object or food product. This type of break is also more likely to give people a lasting emotional attachment to the destination and will encourage them to recommend and also revisit the destination.
Even with the current downturn in the economy many people still feel that a holiday is fundamental and a destination that offers the opportunity to learn something at the same time as providing a change of scene will gain a competitive edge.
Because I live in and am passionate about encouraging more people to discover Kent, particularly Kent’s coast I am working with creative people and interesting venues on the coast, to encourage them to develop creative workshops. These will be promoted through through the Kent’s Creative Coast campaign and via twitter.
I organised 4 ‘Escapes’ in Whitstable as part of the research and development for the campaign Kent’s Creative Coast campaign and if you would like me to help you develop creative tourism in your town, region or county please do contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in developing workshops for the visitor market I would also love to hear from you and am particularly interested in;
- Visual artists for watercolour, pastel and oil painting
- Furniture makers
- Wood carvers
- Craftspeople for knitting, textiles, weaving, embroidery
- Traditional Kentish crafts e.g. beer making, decorating with hops
- Chefs cooking with local Kent produce, e.g. oysters, mussels, fish, food foraged in the Kent countryside
- Food producers for cheese making, cooking with apples etc.
- Vineyards for winemaking, farms/orchards for cider, apple juice
I believe it is not enough to encourage people to just visit a place of interest connected with the arts. There is a significant market of people looking for deeper and more satisfying experiences where they can actually participate and also connect with local people and feel part of the community they are visiting. Other countries and areas around the world are developing this type of tourism product and I have been particularly inspired by the ideas of Greg Richards and Crispin Raymond and the creative tourism work they undertook in New Zealand.