SmartCulTour

UNESCO tailors capacity-building opportunities to the SmartCulTour Living Labs through bilateral consultations

As Leader of Work Package 6 on “Sustainable cultural tourism laboratories (Labs)”, UNESCO coordinates the six SmartCulTour Living Labs (LLs), including by providing support in the identification of meaningful activities, methodologies and interventions to be implemented in each of them. Within this framework, UNESCO is also responsible for raising awareness and developing capacities of concerned stakeholders for the implementation of relevant international standards, using the methodologies and tools developed in the framework of the Organization for sustainable cultural tourism management and development.

Such mission appears even more relevant in face of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has provoked a rapid decline of tourism in most countries, affecting the ability of cultural sites, attractions and experiences to function properly. The situation remains volatile with different countries and regions experiencing a different scenario of impact and recovery.

Concurrently, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided momentum to rethink existing models and steer post-COVID efforts towards cultural tourism that defines the destination, whilst reflecting UNESCO’s values and providing benefits to communities. The rebound of tourism should be an opportunity to spur innovation and test new approaches to support communities in the recovery, transforming destinations away from outdated and unsustainable models.

Since the early days of the COVID crisis, UNESCO has been working on the identification of new measures for a responsible and sustainable restart of cultural tourism, in the conviction that destination management will need to adapt, and knowledge sharing and learning will be needed to allow for more resilient responses from local communities.

Destinations should be able to shape their respective tourism systems, customising them to balance competitiveness with the needs and priorities of local communities and the sustainability of cultural resources, through a comprehensive Build Back Better (BBB) vision.

To stimulate discussion on these subjects, while informing LLs’ stakeholders about the different capacity-building opportunities that UNESCO will offer them throughout the project’s lifespan, UNESCO organized on 27 April an online Awareness-raising webinar on UNESCO’s capacity-building opportunities for SmartCulTour Living Labs (recording is available here). Attending participants included SmartCulTour Consortium partners, Lab Managers, and local stakeholders from the six Labs.

This awareness-raising webinar was intended to give participants an overview of the tools, measures and approaches that UNESCO has developed to support the sustainable management of cultural resources at territorial level, with a focus on cultural tourism development, and an outlook towards the post COVID-19 recovery. In particular, the panellists presented some specific UNESCO’s methodological approaches that can be functional to the sustainable integration of culture and tourism into local development interventions, and notably introduced UNESCO’s vision on sustainable and resilient cultural tourism, the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach, and UNESCO’s programme on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).

To complement the webinar, an additional presentation was made available by UNESCO on its approach to sustainable destination management, alongside concrete tools supporting its design and implementation (recording is available here).

Following up to these activities, UNESCO has planned a series of bilateral consultations with all Living Labs, to further discuss specific needs and priorities and identify tailored capacity-building activities to be implemented. Capacity-building actions will start at the end of the year and are expected to run throughout 2022. They will address local skills gaps, aimed at empowering local stakeholders by equipping them with the knowledge and tools that may support the planning and design of interventions contributing to the sustainable development of cultural tourism at the destination level, both within and beyond the lifecycle of the Labs. Each capacity-building package will be designed in accordance to the local cultural resources that are more relevant to the Living Lab destination and its local community, adopting a two-folded approach towards protecting cultural and social values while promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Download the programme of the webinar here

Watch the Awareness-raising Webinar:

Watch the lecture on UNESCO’s approach to sustainable destination management:

Providing policymakers and practitioners with a Toolkit for cultural tourism change in Europe

The WP7 of SmartCulTour is specifically designed to engage with diverse stakeholders through a participatory approach using of a set of service design and arts-based tools/methods. The aim is to improve inclusiveness and resilience for cultural tourism change in Europe. There are four tasks under the WP7:

  • Task 7.1 Co-design workshops with cultural tourism stakeholders
  • Task 7.2 SmartCulTour Game
  • Task 7.3 SmartCulTour Toolkit for cultural tourism policy development
  • Task 7.4 Strategic roadmap for cultural tourism change

At the current stage of the project, the SmartCulTour partners are focusing on Task 7.1, which aims to assist the living labs (LLs) by suggesting, testing and facilitating the use of a set of tools and methods that can potentially help cultural tourism policy development. To achieve this aim, there are two main objectives:

  • Co-designing a menu that utilises a set of service design and art-based tools/methods for cultural tourism stakeholder consultation and engagement, and thus potentially influencing the policy development of cultural tourism.
  • Carrying out a series of participatory workshops in the LLs with a wide range of local stakeholders. The workshops will implement and further develop the menu using a bottom-up approach.

Figure 1 The double-diamond model in the SmartCulTour living lab context

Task 7.1 lies in the first part of the double-diamond, that is, identifying and clarifying the needs of each LL (see Figure 1). Therefore, the set of tools/methods that the SmartCulTour partners are developing will contribute to the first diamond, and the focus is placed on empathy building and empathic engagement. Taking into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the set of tools/methods will support the use in both physical and virtual environments. More importantly, the LLs will be engaged in co-designing the set of tools/methods in order to ensure that the end results meet their diverse needs and serve as a menu for the local stakeholders to choose. In most of the LLs, experiments have been done on how to do this in a participative way (see Figure 2), especially in relation to stakeholder engagement but also in identifying the qualities they can bring to the table as experts on (aspects of) their destination, but also the expertise WP7 specialists should bring. The menu is expected to be available as D7.1 on the SmartCulTour website by August 2021. It will serve as a living document, constantly evolving to keep pace with the LLs’ needs throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Figure 2 Engaging participants using service design tools and methods in the Utsjoki living lab

For Task 7.2 the first game prototypes have been tested. In game development, getting the aims and rules right are crucial to make a serious game attractive but also to make sure the discussion is on the topic we need. In the game, players will take on different roles in developing cultural tourism in a destination by exploring several development scenarios together from a multitude of stakeholder viewpoints. We expect to have it ready on schedule and look forward to playing it! Figure 3 presents a recent prototype of the game.

Figure 3 The recent SmartCulTour game prototype.

Task 7.3 and 7.4 in many ways are a follow up to 7.1, WP3, 4 &5 and will evolve in the next 6 months to a balanced set of tools need for cultural tourism policy development. Obviously, the LLs are excellent playgrounds for experiments in how to use and combine the tools developed in (and outside) SmartCulTour.

Cultural tourism interventions ‘to interpret understand and disseminate’

Within the SmartCulTour Work Package 3, we proposed a taxonomy of cultural tourism interventions based on their ‘essential purpose’ (see here). One of the identified categories concerns interventions ‘to interpret understand and disseminate’. The urgency of interpreting and understanding cultural heritage clearly emerged from our data analysis, especially in association with contexts characterised by forgotten or neglected cultural heritage or heritage subject to contested or dissonant interpretations. Often, the presence of such dissonant heritage is determined by profound socio-economic and cultural changes a destination went through (e.g., the transition to a new socio-economic paradigm, conflicts, tragic events, socio-cultural or political tensions, etc.). 

The analysis conducted within Work Package 3 included a large database of interventions and a selected number of case studies. Concerning this category of the taxonomy, the case studies focused on 3 specific interventions:

  • The ‘crazy guides of Nowa Huta’: an entrepreneurial initiative to provide alternative tours in Nowa Huta, a district of Krakow (Poland) created during the Soviet Union as utopian socialist ideal city, a unique example of architecture and urban planning of that period. Disagreements among locals in the interpretation of this heritage determined a fracture in the society, between the part willing to silence the socialist heritage and the part willing to understand it better. The crazy guides of Nowa Huta approached the interpretation of this heritage with forms of ‘edutainment’ (combing education and entertainment), supported by appropriate storytelling skills and narrative techniques. They were able to provide a less divisive interpretation that contributed to healing fractures existing in the local community.

  • Migrantour: now active in several European cities, the Migrantour network organises  ‘Intercultural walks’ through neighbourhoods shaped and influenced by migrations. The walks are facilitated by ‘intercultural companions’, locals with a migration background. Migrantours provide new perspectives and interpretations of the historical and contemporary meanings of migrations for European cities, helping to understand how migrations and migrants contributed to their evolution.

  • Pakruojis Synagogue: Pakruojis is a small town in the north of Lithuania, where the Jews settled in 1710, contributing to the local economy and social life of the town. Due to the tragic events of the past century, nowadays there is no Jewish community in the village anymore, making it difficult to maintain their cultural heritage and ensure its appropriate interpretation. The renovation of the old Pakruojis synagogue included the realisation of an exhibition about Pakruojis’ Jewish culture and history and the creation of a cultural centre available for the local community. Therefore, the Synagogue not only became an element of attraction for cultural tourists, but also a place of education, aggregation and cultural encounter.

The above-mentioned examples show that the ‘reason why’ of this type of intervention often relies on the usage of cultural tourism as a viable instrument to promote interpretations of forgotten/neglected heritage or heritage subject to unclear or dissonant interpretations. Our analysis revealed how the ability to listen to people, embracing an open-minded and bottom-up approach, together with communication and storytelling skills are often crucial resources to effectively implement such interventions. Besides the necessary financial means, also the support of scientific and academic knowledge (e.g., historians, sociologists or anthropologists) is often very important. These interventions generally lead to substantial positive impacts from a social (e.g., social cohesion, social inclusion of minorities, sense of community) and cultural (awareness & knowledge of cultural heritage, intercultural understanding, reconciliation of dissonant heritage interpretations) point of view. Furthermore, a moderate positive economic impact was also observed (jobs, incomes and business opportunities), although sometimes limited to a reduced number of (local) individuals or businesses. Several success factors also became evident from the analysis, namely the availability of financial resources, the ability to listen and let territories/people express and narrate themselves and the capacity to implement engaging forms of communication (for instance, through storytelling).

Resident Support for Tourism Development: Application of a Simplified Resident Empowerment through Tourism Scale on Developing Destinations in Flanders

Bart Neuts (KU Leuven), Senne Kimps (Visit Flanders) and Jan van der Borg (University Ca’Foscari of Venice) have authored an interesting article that focuses on the relatively underdeveloped Scheldeland region in Flanders (Belgium), where a strategic goal is to leverage cultural and natural heritage to boost development.

Via a resident questionnaire based on a simplified version of the Resident Empowerment through Tourism Scale (RETS), the authors have identified support for tourism development and deconstructed the drivers of this support. The objective was to empirically validate the research instrument and underlying theory in a situation of relative ‘undertourism’ and prospective future growth. The questionnaire collected 2058 responses, and the partial least squares-structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) results indicated that support for tourism, which was generally high across the seven municipalities, was mainly affected by social, psychological, and political empowerment, with personal economic benefits not playing a significant role. These results show that social exchange theory (SET) as a theoretical basis for potential tourism support has limited validity in currently underdeveloped destinations. Secondly, comparatively speaking, the municipalities with the lowest tourism development were least supportive of tourism growth, with an increase in tourism intensity seemingly leading to increasing support due to a higher awareness of accrued benefits through tourism

You can read the full paper here: Resident Support for Tourism Development

‘VEĆI INOVACIJSKI POTENCIJAL U RAZVOJU PAMETNOG TURIZMA IMAJU DESTINACIJE POPUT OVIH GRADOVA‘

Tehnologija predstavlja podlogu koja je nužna za razvoj pametnog turizma. Ali, ona sama po sebi nije dovoljna. Da bi se destinacija mogla okarakterizirati kao „pametna“ inovacije trebaju odražavati sinergiju različitih dionika, ističe dr. Ante Mandić s Ekonomskog fakulteta u Splitu

Prošlog tjedna Europski parlament zatražio je da nacionalni planovi oporavka budu u potpunosti usklađeni s potrebama i ciljevima pravednog i zelenog rasta te digitalne transformacije. Zastupnici su istaknuli kako je Mehanizam oporavka i otpornosti (RRF) povijesni EU instrument koji ne samo da mora ublažiti negativne posljedice pandemije COVID-19, nego također imati trajni učinak na opću dobrobit te pomoći pravednoj raspodjeli gospodarskog rasta.

Hrvatska je 15. svibnja Komisiji dostavila službeni plan oporavka i otpornosti u kojem traži gotovo 6,4 milijarde eura bespovratnih sredstava za zeleno i digitalno gospodarstvo, javnu upravu i pravosuđe, obrazovanje, znanost i istraživanje, tržište rada i socijalnu zaštitu te zdravstvo. Plan uključuje i inicijativu za obnovu zgrada, a Vlada očekuje da će ulaganjima i projektima u idućih pet godina uspjeti gospodarstvo učiniti otpornijim na buduće krize.

S obzirom na značaj turizma u Hrvatskoj zanimalo nas je kako se u tom sektoru ostvaruje digitalna transformacija, koliko su kod nas dosad zaživjele inovacije u turizmu i što još možemo očekivati kad je riječ o pametnom turizmu. Naš sugovornik doc.dr.sc. Ante Mandić s Katedre za turizam i gospodarstvo Ekonomskog fakulteta Sveučilišta u Splitu reći će kako je u Nacionalnom planu oporavka i otpornosti, razvoj održivog, inovativnog i otpornog turizma jedna od šest ključnih komponenti u sklopu prioriteta Gospodarstvo. Na Gospodarstvo je alocirano 54 posto predviđenih ulaganja, a za razvoj turizma 8,6 posto ukupno predviđenih sredstava za Gospodarstvo.

– Ne ulazeći u diskusiju o iznosima alociranih sredstava, Nacionalni plan se fokusira na povećanje otpornosti i održivosti turističkog sektora upravo putem zelene i digitalne transformacije, te ubrzavanja oporavka turizma, povećanja dodane vrijednosti i neizravnih učinaka turističke potrošnje uspostavom učinkovitog okvira za upravljanja razvoja održivog turizma, što u suštini podrazumijeva reformu sustava upravljanja – navodi dr. Mandić.

Što znači digitalna transformacija u turizmu? U pojašnjenju tog koncepta dr. Ante Mandić, koji inače studentima predaje o održivom turizmu, prvo skreće pažnju na novu industrijsku politiku EU-a.

– U ožujku 2020.godine, Europska komisija je predstavila Novu industrijsku strategiju sa tri ključna prioriteta, uključujući zadržavanje globalne konkurentnosti europske industrije, klimatsku neutralnost Europe do 2050., te oblikovanje europske digitalne budućnosti. Ostvarenje tih prioriteta trebale su zagarantirati specifične aktivnosti, među ostalim i snažna potpora održivim i pametnim industrijama, inovacijama te razvoju socijalnog kapitala. Digitalna tranzicija Europe, zacrtana je kroz Strategiju o izgradnji digitalne budućnosti Europe – pomalo utopijski i isključivo afirmativan dokument, koji naglasak stavlja na ulogu tehnologija u promicanju i ostvarenju interesa građana, pravednosti i poticanju tržišnog natjecanja, te njegovanju načela otvorenosti, demokracije i održivosti društva – navodi.

Razvoj ‘pametnog turizma’

Podsjeća nadalje kako se značajniji interes EU-a za digitalizacijom u kontekstu turizma javlja 2015.godine, uspostavom Digitalne turističke mreže (eng. Digital tourism network) – neformalnog foruma EU turističke industrije za diskusiju o ključnim izazovima i prilikama koje digitalna transformacija donosi ovom sektoru. Rezultati istraživanja, koje je Europska komisija provela 2016. i 2018. godine, potvrdili su da se tehnološki razvoj odražava na transformaciju tradicionalnih uloga „proizvođača i kupaca“ u turizmu, te pojavu novih poslovnih modela (npr. ekonomija dijeljenja), ali i potrebnu za novim kompetencijama zaposlenih u sektoru i izvan njega.

Dodaje kako je pojava primjerice digitalnih platformi povećala volumen i raznolikost turističkih proizvoda, usluga i doživljaja, te istovremeno ubrzala ekonomske transakcije, povećala tržišnu dostupnost te količinu i vidljivost povratnih informacija klijenata (primjerice online recenzije posjetitelja).

– Ove promjene na tradicionalnom turističkom tržištu nisu se dogodile «preko noći», već su rezultat kontinuiranog razvoja, u kojemu je posebno evidentno da se razdoblje od inovacije do implementacija znatno skraćuje. Tako je primjerice tradicionalni turizam ušao prvo u fazu «E-poslovanja” koju karakterizira adaptacija tehnologije u segment marketinga i prodaje (unaprjeđenje internih procesa). Nakon toga dolazi faza «E-trgovine» u kojoj tehnologija doprinosi jačanju povezanosti, suradnje i komunikacija između različitih dionika u destinaciji koja rezultira inovacijama duž cijelog lanca opskrbe (destinacija se naziva ekosustav – mreža dionika koji su međusobno povezani i između kojih se formiraju različiti odnosi) – kazuje dr. Mandić.

Eru «Pametnog turizma» koja je potom uslijedila, pojašnjava nadalje, karakterizira svojevrsna evolucija u pristupu korištenja tehnologija u turizmu, prije svega u kontekstu upravljanja turističkim destinacijama, te razvoju nove razine inteligencije unutar destinacijskog sustava (odluke su rezultat strukturiranih procesa i donose se temeljem velike količine podataka i informacija).

– Pametni turizam obuhvaća tri temeljne komponente u kojima je tehnologija (digitalizacija) katalizator inovacija, uključujući pametne destinacije (fokus na upravljanje destinacijom), pametne doživljaje (fokus na unaprjeđenje, personalizaciju doživljaja), te pametni poslovni ekosustav (fokus na jačanje konkurentnosti i unaprjeđenje efikasnosti dionika u segmentu turističke ponude) – kaže naš sugovornik.

Reći će i kako je jedan od temeljnih zaključaka istraživanja koje je Komisija naručila 2018. godine taj da digitalizacija pruža alate i okvir za kreiranje dodane vrijednosti turističkim proizvodima i doživljajima, ali njen uspjeh uvelike ovisi o kapacitetu turističkog «sektora» da uči i surađuje. Do sličnih zaključaka, ističe, dolaze autori jednog od utjecajnijih znanstvenih radova u području pametnog turizma (Smart tourism destinations: ecosystems for tourism destination competitiveness), navodeći kako je uz tehnološku razvijenost, nužan preduvjet razvoja pametnih destinacija inovativnost, razvijen socijalni i ljudski kapital, te vodstvo, budući da isključivo njihova sinergija može dovesti do željenog napretka.

– Pojednostavljeno, tehnologija predstavlja podlogu koja je nužna za razvoj pametnog turizma. Međutim, ona sama po sebi nije dovoljna. Da bi se destinacija mogla okarakterizirati kao „pametna“ inovacije koje se u njoj odvijaju trebaju odražavati sinergiju različitih dionika. Nadalje razvoj ljudskog (znanje, vještine, kompetencije koje podupiru unaprjeđenje osobnog blagostanja) i socijalnog kapitala (mreže povezanih dionika čija se suradnja zasniva na zajedničkim normama i vrijednostima) mora dostignuti određenu razinu. U konačnici treba postojati vodstvo koje će usmjeravati na ostvarenje zacrtanih ciljeva kao što su jačanje održivosti, otpornosti, konkurentnosti, kapaciteta dionika u destinaciji, razvoj određenih posebnih oblika turizam ili inovativnih turističkih doživljaja – naglašava dr. Ante Mandić.

Kazuje i kako se pametnom turizmu i pametnim destinacijama, kao i samoj digitalizaciji, pristupa dominantno afirmativno, što znatno ograničava objektivnost sagledavanja načina na koji bi adaptacija određenih načela pametnog turizma mogla utjecati na pojedini sustav upravljanja razvojem turizma.

-Tako se primjerice često zanemaruje da razvoj koncepata koji uključuju radikalne inovacije, poput pametnih destinacija, za određene dionike podrazumijeva unaprjeđenje konkurentnosti dok za ostale može značiti ugrozu egzistencije. Prisjetimo se samo reakcija na dolazak UBER-a na hrvatsko tržište ili zabrinutosti koju je izazvala snažna ekspanzija platformi za kratkotrajni najam smještaja poput AiRBnB-a i Booking.com-a na tradicionalnom tržištu smještajnih kapaciteta u Zapadnoj Europi i SAD-u. Nadalje, proces unaprjeđenja kolektivnog kapaciteta za apsorpciju i analizu informacija i znanja, što je presudno za razvoj inovacija na destinacijskoj razini, je izrazito kompleksan, zahtjeva puno vremena te sustavan pristup, odnosno nacionalno opredjeljenje među ostalim i kroz obrazovne programe – kazuje.

Također ističe kako u razvoju pametnog turizma ključnu ulogu imaju poduzetnici, pri čemu vrlo često isključivo velike firme imaju resurse (primjerice financije) koji su im potrebni za razvoj ili adaptaciju inovacija. S druge strane, turizam kao djelatnost karakterizira izrazito velik broj malih firmi, što najbolje vidimo u nacionalnoj strukturi djelatnosti.

– U konačnici, često je velika razlika između mikro destinacija s obzirom na njihov inovacijski potencijal, čak i ukoliko destinacije promatramo kao regije, primjerice Istra, Srednja Dalmacija, Kontinentalna RH. Implementacija jedne ili nekoliko značajnijih promjena neće automatski učiniti destinaciju pametnom (što je u RH česta zabluda, primjerice nakon uvođenja e-Parkinga sustava), budući da se radi o dugotrajnom i kompleksnom procesu u kojemu vjerojatno neće uspjeti sve regije, primarno zbog različitosti u njihovom inovacijskom kapacitetu. Na tom tragu mogli bismo zaključiti da veći inovacijski potencijal pa i bolju startnu poziciju u razvoju pametnog turizma imaju destinacije koje imaju razrađenu strategiju pametnog razvoja ili pametnih gradova, poput Zagreba, Rijeke ili Dubrovnika – ističe dr. Mandić.

Hrvatska kao pametna destinacija

Njegovo je mišljenje kako je razvoj pametnog turizma na krilima digitalizacije prihvatljivije promatrati kao paradigmatsku nadgradnju aktualnog modela održivog masovnog turizma, nego kao još jedan posebni oblik turizma poput primjerice eko-turizma, kulturnog turizma ili nautičkog turizma.

– Osnova ovakvog promišljanja ogleda se u činjenici da pametni turizma kreira novi pristup ne samo oblikovanju i distribuciji turističke ponude, već unaprjeđenju sustava upravljanja razvojem turizma na destinacijskog razini. Pozadina unaprjeđenja sustava upravljanja ogleda se prije svega u dostupnosti velike količine podataka, koji znatno doprinose smanjenju neizvjesnosti u odlučivanju te čine izvrsnu nadgradnju tradicionalnim sustavima monitoringa, kao i u razvoju i implementaciji konkretnih tehnoloških rješenja kako bi se odgovorilo na različite izazove u destinaciji – obrazlaže.

Stoga ne začuđuje, dodaje, da posljednjih nekoliko godina ulazimo u fazu intenzivnijeg razvoja sustava za podršku odlučivanju na destinacijskoj razini.

-Primjerice, naš tim sa Ekonomskog fakulteta u Splitu je sudjelovao u izradi dva takva sustava, jedan općeg karaktera koji pokriva Mediteransku regiju (https://www.blutoursystem.eu/) i jedan fokusiran na razvoj kulturnog turizma koji pokriva 6 EU zemalja (http://www.smartcultour.eu/). U oba slučaja je cilj razvoja sustava bio isti, a to je pretvaranje velike količinu podataka i informacija u znanje, odnosno pomoći destinacijama da donose brže i kvalitetnije odluke. Prije nekoliko dana je primjerice Google predstavio Travel Insights with Google platformu, koja besplatno donosi ključne informacije dionicima iz turističkog sektora vezano za potražnju prema Hrvatskoj – kaže dr. Ante Mandić.

Turizam se, pa tako i u Hrvatskoj, suočava s raznim izazovima. Što u takvim uvjetima donosi digitalna transformacija?

– Moglo bi se reći da se turizam u RH treba suočiti sa nekoliko bitnih internih izazova, uključujući dobro strukturiran međutim još uvijek nedovoljno efikasan sustav organizacije razvoja turizma; visoku razinu ovisnosti gospodarstva o razvoju turizma; visoku stopu sezonalnosti i priobalnu orijentiranost razvoja turizma; izrazito nisku razinu domaćeg turizma; visok (rastući) udio „privatnog“ smještaja u ukupnoj strukturi smještajnih kapaciteta; izražene pokazatelje povezane sa prekomjernim turizmom u određenim mikro destinacijama. Ovim internim izazovima bismo svakako trebali pridružiti i određene globalne trendove poput klimatskih promjena, socio-demografskih promjena, sve kompleksnijih geo-političkih uvjeta, niz promjena u kontekstu turističke potražnje, te u konačnici i samu digitalizaciju. Neki od ovih izazova su posljedica i/ili dodatno potaknuti „globalnom“ digitalizacijom, dok se istovremeno digitalna transformacija sve češće nameće i kao rješenje – smatra dr. Mandić.

Dodaje kako se u turizmu digitalizacija promatra kao prilika za jačanje inovativnosti, dostupnosti i održivosti turističke destinacije, sa pozitivnim posljedicama za kupca i ponuditelja. Međutim, da bi se ova prilika iskoristila nužno je, ističe, kreirati uvjete, što je ujedno i najteže.

– Uz razvoj tehnoloških pretpostavki, to prije svega podrazumijeva pronalaženje načina kako jačati inovacijski potencijal, pokrenuti razvoj socijalnog i ljudskog kapitala te uspostavu adekvatnog vodstva. Iz ove perspektive prijedlog Nacionalnog plana oporavka i otpornosti je dobar početak, u onoj mjeri u kojoj kreira osnovu za svojevrsnu transformaciju i unaprjeđenje sustava upravljanja razvojem turizma u RH. U opisu reforme možemo vidjeti naznake svojevrsnih procesnih inovacija u nacionalnom sustavu upravljanja koje se ogledaju u uspostavi okvira za praćenje razvoja turizma, sustava za prikupljanje podataka te izrade znanstvenih podloga kao osnove za upravljanje javnim politikama. Međutim, kada dođemo do konkretnih investicija kojima se operacionalizira reforma, najsnažniji doprinos razvoju pametnog turizma ogleda se u razvoju ljudskog kapitala, kroz investiciju usmjerenu na jačanje kapaciteta sustava, te poticanje proizvodnih i procesnih inovacija kroz investiciju usmjerenu na turističku infrastrukturu privatnog sektora – kaže dr.Mandić.

Zaključuje kako u suštini reforma daje doprinos digitalnoj transformaciji, a indirektno i razvoju pametnog turizma u RH, međutim ne može se govoriti o sustavnom ili planskom pristupu.

– Ono što još zasigurno izostaje je jasno opredjeljenje za rješavanje spomenutih, konkretnih izazova s kojima se hrvatski turizam susreće. To dodatno apostrofira značaj i očekivanja od sljedeće strategije razvoja turizma u RH, koja bi trebala zacrtati putanju transformacije cjelokupnog hrvatskog turizma prema održivijoj, otpornijoj i odgovornijoj budućnosti. Pitanje je hoće li se ovo uistinu i dogoditi – kaže dr. Ante Mandić s Ekonomskog fakulteta u Splitu.

Originalan tekst ovog intervjua je objavljen u posebnoj rubrici Jutarnjeg lista, novac.hr

A new materialist governance paradigm for tourism destinations

A new paper has just been published on the Journal of Sustainable Tourism authored by Xavier Matteucci, Jeroen Nawijn and Jennifer von Zumbusch: “A new materialist governance paradigm for tourism destinations”

Until the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of tourism had confronted many destinations with policy decisions that had impacted regional ecosystems and the quality of life of their resident population. To counter the threats driven by dominant tourism growth models, a number of tourism scholars have called for revisiting the philosophical foundation upon which tourism activities are developed.

Informed by debates in philosophy and the wider social sciences, including tourism scholarship, this conceptual paper, therefore, suggests an alternative governance paradigm for tourism destinations, which is articulated in four propositions that reflect a new materialist perspective. These propositions are a monist post-anthropocentric ontology, a participatory epistemology, resilient forms of tourism and participation as methodologies, and social eudaimonia as societal value. The core argument presented in the paper is that the Anthropocene requires tourism destinations to espouse alternative governance approaches drawing from ideas emerging from new materialist scholarship.

You can read the full article here.

Second working meeting of the Huesca Living Lab

The second working meeting of the Huesca Living Lab was held on 13 May 2021. The main objective of the session was for participants to contextualize the tourist sector in Huesca and set the scene for the development of a common work strategy to strengthen the sector in the province. A total number of 17 members of the Living Lab participated in the session representing, among others, public administration and territorial management, the agriculture and food sector and the environment.

The participatory methodology was followed, using online tools to facilitate the implementation of different dynamics. The session’s original agenda was:

  • 10:00   Introduction – Aims and methodology of the meeting
  • 10:05   Rapid guide on Miro
  • 10:15   Round of introductions
  • 10:35   Dynamic 1: SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). 30 minutes
  • 11:05   Dynamic 2: Identification of priorities and needs for the LL. 30 minutes
  • 11:35   BREAK
  • 11:45   Dynamic 3: Sharing good practices. 30 minutes
  • 12:15   Dynamic 4: Identifying opportunities. 30 minutes
  • 12:50   End of session – Conclusions and next steps.

The session had a dynamic pace and active participation from start to finish. The concepts of sustainability, tools, learning and co-creation emerged as key words in relation to the expectations of the Living Lab.

Al final de la sesión se marcó la ruta a seguir y contenidos de las siguientes sesiones de trabajo a lo largo de 2021, donde se identificarán iniciativas de éxito, bien del propio territorio o bien de otros países, con el objetivo de que sirvan como referencia para impulsar el sector en Huesca.

The following dynamics enabled debates and discussions highlighting the importance of creating networking and cooperation spaces such as those generated in the project. Participants expressed particular interest in working with the other Living Labs of the project to learn about and share the concerns and methodologies in the tourist sector.  Huesca  Living Lab is characterized by having a rich diversity of resources and tourist attractions but also faces significant challenges such as rural depopulation, climate change and the new social paradigm caused by the current health crisis.

At the end of the session, the itinerary was marked out for the continuation of activities as well as the contents for the following working sessions to be held throughout 2021, where succussful initiatives will be identified either from the home territory or other countries, which serve as a point of reference from which to boost the sector in Huesca.

Segunda reunión de trabajo del Living Lab de Huesca

El día 13 de mayo de 2021, tuvo lugar la segunda reunión de trabajo del Living Lab de Huesca. El objetivo principal de la sesión fue contextualizar el sector del turismo en Huesca por parte de los y las participantes del Living Lab y sentar las bases para el desarrollo de una estrategia de trabajo común para el fortalecimiento del sector en la provincia. La sesión contó con la participación de un total de 17 personas pertenecientes al  Living Lab y representando tanto a la administración pública como a la gestión territorial, el sector agroalimentario y el medioambiente, entre otros.

La metodología empleada fue de carácter participativo, haciendo uso de herramientas en línea que facilitaron la implementación de las diferentes dinámicas. De esta manera la agenda inicial que se planteó para la sesión fue:

  • 10.00: Introducción- Objetivos reunión y metodología
  • 10.05: Guía rápida para usar Miro
  • 10.15: Ronda de presentaciones
  • 10.35: Dinámica 1: Análisis DAFO (Debilidades, Amenazas, Fortalezas y Oportunidades) 30 minutos
  • 11.05: Dinámica 2: Identificación de necesidades y prioridades del LL. 30 minutos
  • 11.35: DESCANSO
  • 11.45: Dinámica 3: Compartiendo buenas prácticas.30 minutos
  • 12.15: Dinámica 4: Identificando oportunidades.30 minutos
  • 12.50: Cierre de la sesión – Conclusiones y siguientes pasos.

La sesión se caracterizó de principio a fin por una alta participación donde los conceptos de sostenibilidad, herramientas, aprendizaje, co-creacion surgieron como palabras clave con respecto a  las expectativas del Living Lab.

A lo largo de las siguientes dinámicas, se generaron debates y discusiones que pusieron en relieve la importancia de la creación de espacios de trabajo en red y cooperación como el que se está creando en el contexto del proyecto. Asímismo, quedó patente el gran interés en trabajar de forma conjunta con el resto de los Living Labs del proyecto para conocer e intercambiar inquietudes y metodologías en el sector del turismo.  El Living Lab de Huesca se caracteriza por una rica diversidad de recursos y atractivos turísticos a la par que se enfrenta a grandes retos como la despoblación rural, el cambio climático o el nuevo paradigma social originado por la actual crisis sanitaria.

Al final de la sesión se marcó la ruta a seguir y contenidos de las siguientes sesiones de trabajo a lo largo de 2021, donde se identificarán iniciativas de éxito, bien del propio territorio o bien de otros países, con el objetivo de que sirvan como referencia para impulsar el sector en Huesca.

The Role of UNESCO Cultural Heritage and Cultural Sector in Tourism Development: The Case of EU Countries

For over seventy decades, tourism and culture have been amongst the biggest growing phenomena worldwide. Tourism is considered a significant economic sector, relevant for inclusive economic growth, both globally and locally, and culture is recognized as a powerful driver of global sustainable development, with community-wide social, economic and environmental impacts. Thus, tourism and culture present significant driving forces of economic growth and sustainable development in many destinations, with shared values and adjacent ties between tourism and culture stakeholders.

Blanka Škrabic Peric, Blanka Šimundic, Vinko Muštra (University of Split, Croatia) and Marijana Vugdelija (International Medical Corps, Split, Croatia) have published the article “The Role of UNESCO Cultural Heritage and Cultural Sector in Tourism Development: The Case of EU Countries» in Sustainability, as part of the Special Issue “A European Perspective on Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Sustainable Development and Regional Resilience”. The paper estimates the impact of different cultural indicators on tourism development in 27 EU member states for the period 2008–2018, by using dynamic panel data. The results indicate that the number of UNESCO Heritage Sites do not have a significant influence on the number of tourism overnights, whereas there are significant positive effects on international tourism receipts and tourism employment. Moreover, the additional cultural sector specifics considered in the analysis; government expenditure on culture and employment in culture, showed to have a significant positive influence on all three tourism indicators used in the research. In addition, the research results indicate that the real GDP per capita and the level of human capital are significant drivers of tourism development.

This article is based on research conducted in the context of the SmartCulTour project that has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement no. 870708.

Uncovering the ‘state-of-the-art’ of cultural tourism interventions implemented in European cities and regions

By pursuing different interests and objectives, cultural tourism stakeholders determine a wide range of impacts on tourism destinations and their communities. For instance, private businesses are constantly investing resources (time, money, expertise, skills, etc.) to innovate the cultural tourism offer, determining multiple socio-economic impacts. Destinations can embrace a variety of governance settings and influence the decisions of public or private actors. Moreover, local and national governments, the European Union and other international organisations often grant financial resources for a wide range of programs and projects, aiming at uncovering, designing and implementing more sustainable forms of cultural tourism. Such a complex range of activities and the diverse spectrum of actors involved, stress the urgency to gather and frame more structured insights on what the impacts and success conditions of these initiatives and approaches are. Within SmartCulTour, the objective of Work Package 3 is to provide a ‘state-of-the-art’ of cultural tourism interventions implemented in European cities and regions, thereby identifying good practices and their impacts and success conditions. We are pursuing this objective via a multiple-steps approach:

  • The contribution of SmartCulTour partners allowed to collect preliminary insights concerning the context, actors, objectives and impacts of more than 100 interventions all over Europe. This revealed information about interventions initiated by different stakeholders, ranging from national and local governments to private businesses or NGOs. The variety of cultural tourism interventions that have been considered includes the introduction of new cultural products, marketing and communication activities, heritage interpretation, capacity building, visitor management plans and regulations, just to mention some examples. The gathered data also revealed preliminary insights on the impacts of the interventions in terms of social, economic and environmental sustainability of the destinations and the resilience of their communities. Focusing on the essential purpose of the interventions, the analysis of the collected data allowed to propose the following innovative taxonomy of cultural tourism interventions:
  • Starting form the proposed taxonomy and supported by a process of expert’s evaluations, we selected 18 interventions (out of the initial 108), to be further investigated via in-depth case studies. Aiming at interviewing at least 3 relevant stakeholders, each case study allowed to enrich the available data, especially concerning the economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts of the interventions, revealing additional insights in terms of success conditions and “lesson learnt” from these interventions.
  • SmartCulTour Deliverable D3.2, available here, contains a ‘portfolio’ with the 18 selected interventions, reporting essential information about the context, the initiators, the required resources, the impacts, success conditions and lesson learnt through the interventions. This selection of cases reflects the variety of interventions analysed, ranging from the development of entrepreneurial ideas to initiatives focused on interpreting the heritage of minorities or capacity building projects and initiatives that provided a common space, where the tourism and culture industries could meet, discuss and work with each other.
  • By the end of May 2021, also the SmartCulTour deliverable D3.1 will be available here, providing a comprehensive state-of-the-art of cultural tourism interventions implemented in European cities and regions, with an overview and additional insights on good practices, impacts and success conditions of cultural tourism interventions.

The outcomes of this process will be useful as a reference about the state-of-art of cultural tourism interventions in Europe and can be used to initiate and structure discussions concerning cultural tourism and sustainable development in a variety of urban and regional settings.