The shift from tangible to intangible tourism resources places pressure on destinations to become ever more creative in their development strategies. As Richards and Raymond (2000) argue, "creative tourism" is a further development of tourism towards more experiential forms of consumption, which emphasise personal development. They define creative tourism as: "tourism which offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are undertaken".
The development of creative tourism presents new challenges for both the tourist and the destination. One of the important implications of creative tourism is that the destination has to be creative in order to develop intangible cultural resources, which are characteristic of the destination (such as traditions or local skills) into creative experiences for the tourists. It is not just a question of the tourists themselves engaging in creative activities, but it should be a system of "co-production" between the tourist and the producers in the destination.
As Richards and Wilson (2006) demonstrate, creative tourism is already taking place in many forms, even though the label creative tourism may not be used. For example painting courses, photographic trips and dance holidays have long been offered to those wishing to develop their creativity on holiday. What is now beginning to change is that creative experiences are actively being developed, packaged and offered for tourists by a wide range of destinations, often in an attempt to diversify the tourism product. This diversification can take a wide range of forms. This volume looks at the different ways in which creativity is being applied in tourism, and the implications that this has for the tourist experience and the tourism destination.
In Chapter 2, the experiential and multisensory nature of modern tourism is explored by Sonia Ferrari, G. Emanuele Adamo and Anna Rita Veltri. They show that tourism demand is increasingly shifting towards experiential modes of consumption. They look in particular at a series of case studies of the use of different senses in tourism experiences - sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. On the basis of this analysis they develop a model of multisensory tourism which shows how the different senses can be used to develop creative tourism products.
Claire Haven-Tang and Eleri Jones look at ways of using culture creatively to differentiate tourism destinations in Chapter 3. They take the case of Monmouthshire in Wales (UK), where creative strategies have been used to develop a "sense of place" for the region. They emphasise the importance of involving the visitor in creative experiences so that aspects of local culture are more clearly related to place. This can be achieved through the bottom-up involvement of local residents, using their own feeling of place to communicate the intangible aspects of their culture to the visitor.
The theme of active involvement is emphasised in a different context by Tamara Klicek in Chapter 4, where she looks at the use of international voluntary camps to develop cultural tourism. She argues that voluntary tourism is an embedded form of experience which requires active participation from both residents and visitors, and which ultimately benefits them both. Looking at volunteer camps in Serbia, she finds that volunteers are less interested in sightseeing and more interested in experiencing the living culture and everyday life of the destination. She concludes that volunteer tourism can be a good way of promoting the intangible culture of a region and a means of getting local people more involved in the production of tourism experiences.
Aurkene Alzua-Sorzabal and Maria Teresa Linaza examine a more technological solution to the problem of cultural interpretation in Chapter 5. They describe the PRISMA project, which examines the use of Augmented Reality technology in tourism. The system allows the visitor to interact creatively with multimedia content, so that they can choose what kind of information to view, and in what form. This adds new dimensions to previously static modes of interpretation, and allows the destination to be more creative in its presentation and the tourist to be more creative in their interpretation of local culture.
In Chapter 6, Satu Miettinen examines the development of creative tourism as a tool for local empowerment in Namibia in Southern Africa. She looks at a number of crafts projects where tourists have been able to get more creatively involved by learning to make crafts objects themselves. This form of creative tourism has also empowered local people, who have changed their roles from sellers of objects into teachers of craft skills. This allows locals and tourists to build up a relationship based on mutual respect, rather than pure commerce.
These papers were all presented at the ATLAS conference on Tourism, Creativity and Development held in Barcelona in November 2005 (other papers from the conference have been published in companion volumes by ATLAS, as well as Richards and Wilson, forthcoming). This conference was designed to explore the interfaces between tourism, development and creativity, particularly in the context of potential collaboration between the creative and tourism sectors.
Some 116 delegates from 24 countries gathered at the University of Barcelona to listen to an interesting set of keynote presentations, over 60 workshop sessions and round-table debate. The many and varied workshop presentations provided a wide array of different approaches to tourism and creativity, ranging from the creative marketing of tourism, to the creative re-packaging of cultural tourism to the development of "creative tourism" .