General

SmartCulTour D7.1 – Set of service design and art-based methods for co-design and stakeholder work in cultural tourism

The SmartCulTour project seeks to support ‘regional development in European regions, with special attention to rural peripheries and the urban fringe, through sustainable cultural tourism’. This aim will be reached through several objectives, with an ultimate goal of improving inclusiveness and resilience for cultural tourism change in the European regions that possess tangible and intangible cultural assets, in particular rural regions and cities. In line with the fifth objective – ‘Develop innovative methods to support community-led cultural tourism initiatives’ and the sixth objective – ‘Local experimentation in Living Labs and construction of a Toolkit and Manual regarding the successful implementation of cultural tourism interventions’, Work Package 7 has been designed to engage with diverse stakeholders in the development of sustainable cultural tourism using participatory methodologies.

The first output of this work package (Deliverable 7.1) is a Manual, which is now available on the SmartCulTour website,  that consists of a set of service design and art-based tools/methods for cultural tourism stakeholder consultation and engagement will be developed in collaboration with the Labs.

The Manual presented by D7.1 is one building block of a system of instruments within WP7, along with the SmartCulTour Game, the SmartCulTour Toolkit, and the Strategic Roadmap, which will be developed in the next stages under WP7, constantly evolving to keep pace with the Labs’ needs throughout the lifecycle of the SmartCulTour project. The Manual provides 12 service design and art-based tools/methods for co-design and stakeholder work in cultural tourism. The methods included in the Manual will be adopted and further developed in collaboration with the Labs, while the Manual itself can also serve as a valuable tool for the organisation and facilitation of community workshops in general.

Taking into consideration the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manual is designed to support the use of the tools/methods in both physical and virtual environments. Each method is described according to 12 topics: (1) Underlying idea of the techniques; (2) Situations in which the tool can best be used; (3) Expected output; (4) Guidelines for using the method; (5) Recommended settings in terms of facilitators, participants, and duration; (6) A link to a virtual template (where possible); (7) Materials needed for in-person use of the method; (8) Links with other tools/methods, either as input or as output; (9) Lessons learned from earlier applications of the method; (10) Suggested next steps to complete; (11) Inclusion guide for use of the tool with participants with disabilities; and (12) Reading references.

The Manual is intended to provide relevant stakeholders with a useful set of tools/methods to choose from when developing sustainable cultural tourism in diverse contexts. However, it is worth noting that the Manual is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Audiences are encouraged to adopt it proactively, adapt it creatively, and eventually make it fit to local specificities.

Pandemija, kulturna baština i održivi oporavak turizma na području splitskog LL-a

Autor: prof.dr.sc. Lidija Petrić (Ekonomski fakultet Split, Katedra za turizam i gospodarstvo)

Još uvijek aktualna COVID 19 pandemija ozbiljno je uzdrmala globalno gospodarstvo, pri čemu je turizam zasigurno jedna od najpogođenijih djelatnosti. Nažalost, ne postoji niti jedna zemlja niti regija koja nije pogođena drastičnim padom potražnje,  zbog čega nositelji turističke ponude trpe goleme štete, a mnogi su bili primorani i ugasiti svoje poslovanje.

Stoga se, iako svjesni problema koje je sa sobom nosio prekomjerni turizam (engl. overtourism), s nostalgijom prisjećamo rezultata pred-pandemijske 2019. godine, kad je samo u Splitu realizirano cca. 944,465 dolazaka (4,8% od ukupnog broja u RH) i 2.757,305 noćenja (3,02% od ukupnog broja u RH). Na području  živućeg laboratorija (engl. Living Lab – LL) splitske metropolitanske regije ostvareno je ukupno 4.209,207 noćenja, od čega su četiri obalna grada (tj. Split, Trogir, Kaštela i Solin) ostvarila preko 97% ukupnog broja noćenja u LL-a (koji, osim navedenih gradova obuhvaća i općine Klis i Dugopolje te grad Sinj). Prema podacima Turističke zajednice Splitsko-dalmatinske županije (2019, 2020, 2021), u 2020.godini na području LL-a ostvareno je 1.475,968 noćenja, odnosno 65% manje nego u 2019. godini. U novu sezonu 2021. krenuli smo s oprezom, pri čemu nam porast  kumulativnog broja noćenja na području LL-a za razdoblje siječanj-lipanj 2021. u odnosu na isto razdoblje 2020.godine, u iznosu od cca 73% (359,802 u odnosu na 208,206 noćenja) ulijeva nadu u kakav-takav oporavak.

Prema procjenama Svjetske turističke organizacije (UNWTO), od trenutka kad se pandemija zaustavi, turizmu će trebat između 2 i 4 godine da se oporavi (ovisno o području). Iako je u uvjetima izrazite nesigurnosti i brzih promjena nezahvalno davati prognoze o brzini oporavka turizma na području Splitsko –dalmatinske županije i LL-a  Splitska metropolitanska regija, ne smijemo zanemariti procjene i preporuke recentnih studija koje su temeljem iscrpnih analiza trendova i resursa za RH i Splitsko dalmatinsku županiju dale preporuke smjera u kojem treba krenuti u budućnosti. 

Prema rezultatima istraživanja Instituta za turizam, «Stavovi i potrošnja turista-TOMAS Hrvatska 2019» (Marušić et al, 2019), u RH je do 2019. godine zabilježen kontinuirani rast motivacije vezane uz aktivni odmor, pri čemu i dalje dominira more i priroda, u nešto manjoj mjeri posjet gradovima, razgledavanje, kultura i umjetnost te sport i rekreacija, a zamjetan je i trend porast interesa za gastronomijom, zabavom i festivalima, ruralnim područjima, te događanjima. Kad je riječ o zadovoljstvu turista ponudom u RH, iskazano je visoko zadovoljstvo atmosferom destinacije, a umjereno zadovoljstvo kulturno-umjetničkom ponudom i kvalitetom razgledavanja. Kvaliteta događanja ocijenjena je niskom ocjenom, što ukazuje na potrebu daljnjeg promišljanja o kulturnim aspektima turističke ponude. Slične su ocjene zabilježene i na području Splitsko-dalmatinske županije.

Master plan turizma Splitsko-dalmatinske županije (2018) također je istaknuo porast putovanja motiviranih kulturom na području Županije, uslijed čega se spektar aktivnosti koje uključuju kulturnu komponentu dalje širi, čime doprinosi sve izraženijoj segmentaciji tržišta kulturnog turizma. U tom smislu Master plan ističe tri pod-segmenta kulturnih turista s obzirom na motivaciju, i to: turiste  motivirane učenjem o kulturnoj baštini temeljem posjećivanja kulturno-povijesnih znamenitosti; turiste motivirane sudjelovanjem na kulturnim događanjima, uključujući popularnu kulturu; i turiste  motivirane kreativnim i kulturnim aktivnostima temeljenim na nematerijalnoj kulturnoj baštini, poput podučavanja glagoljice, tradicionalnih vještina, suvremene prakse kulture života i rada ili suvremene umjetničke produkcije. Uz ove primarne segmente, sve je veća potražnja za kulturnim «iskustvima», a posljedično i integracija klasičnih kulturnih i turističkih proizvoda s religijom, gastronomijom ili umjetničkim i kreativnim praksama. Trendovi na suvremenom turističkom tržištu povezani s potragom za autentičnošću i aktivnim sudjelovanjem potiču rast potražnje za turističkim događanjima i promiču sudjelovanje turista u samom proizvodu, što dodatno naglašava važnost kreativnosti u (su) dizajniranju različitih proizvoda kulturnog turizma. Iako takve proizvode traže turisti različitih dobnih skupina i razine obrazovanja, važno je ipak naglasiti da interes za kulturu raste proporcionalno starosti i prihodu.

Iako Splitsko-dalmatinska županija ima izvanredan potencijal za razvoj baštinskog turizma (engl. heritage tourism) na cijelom području, s obzirom na sezonalnost potražnje kulturna baština privlači svega 13% turista koji su posjetili Županiju 2018.godine.  Iako su relativno zadovoljni prezentacijom kulturne baštine (55%) i kulturnih znamenitosti (57%), županijski turisti dnevno na kulturu troše svega dva eura. Analiza kulturne baštine po mjestima i turističkim klasterima Županije pokazala je da je kulturna baština prvenstveno nespremna ili djelomično pripremljena za turističko tržište, uzrokujući tako jaz između obilja kulturne baštine i udjela turista koji su za nju zainteresirani.

Što se tiče kreativnog turizma kao elementa županijske kulturne turističke ponude, Master plan (2018.) svoje je pod-proizvode grupirao na sljedeći način:

  • ljetne umjetničke radionice i / ili škole koje vode poznati umjetnici ili profesionalna / amaterska udruženja za djecu, mlade i amatere;
  • ljetne umjetničke radionice koje vode stranci ili ih organiziraju razne škole, udruge, zaklade za svoje članove / učenike na raznim destinacijama, uključujući županijske destinacije;
  • programi opuštanja i oporavka (joga, meditacija) koji se često kombiniraju s kreativnim (npr. pisanje) ili sportskim (veslanje, jedrenje) aktivnostima;
  • radionice temeljene na tradiciji kulture života i rada, koje u pravilu nude županijske turističke agencije, uključujući posjete eko-etno selima, tematske planinarske ture, degustacije hrane i pića, kulinarske radionice i foto ture.

Što se tiče turizma događaja (engl. event tourism), Master plan ukazuje na slabo zadovoljstvo turista brojem i raznolikošću zabave. Stoga je to jedan od niže ocijenjenih elemenata turističke ponude, koji pokazuje da je 58% zadovoljno brojnošću događanja, a 52% kvalitetom raznih zabavnih događanja.

Master plan županije SD (2018.) ukazuje da, osim za Splitsku rivijeru, gdje se nekoliko kulturnih događaja može smatrati spremnima za valorizaciju tržišta, svi ostali događaji ili nisu spremni ili su djelomično spremni za privlačenje turista. Sukladno navedenom, u istome dokumentu autori definiraju  niz strategija i aktivnosti povezanih s budućim razvojem županijskih turističkih proizvoda. Tako je baštinski turizam proglašen primarnim proizvodom, kao i eno-gastro turizam, pri čemu se za potrebe njegova razvoja ističe nužnost jačanja proizvodnje lokalnih gastro i enoloških proizvoda, stvaranje lokalnih opskrbnih lanaca proizvodnje hrane i vina, jačanje mreža među proizvođačima i turističkom industrijom itd. Turizam događanja (event tourism) dobio je status tercijarnog proizvoda sa strategijama usmjerenim na poboljšanje njegove kvalitete i smanjenje sezonalnosti. Kreativni turizam proglašen je sekundarnim proizvodom u portfelju županijskih proizvoda. Napokon, gradski turizam i vjerski turizam doživljavaju se kao tercijarni turistički proizvodi.

Visitor survey in Utsjoki during an event week

The University of Lapland took part in Utsjoen Lumo event on the 9th of July at Onnelantörmä in Utsjoki. The event included live music shows, theatre shows, one author interview, and Sámi handicrafts and local food for sale. The event was part of the Utsjoen Lumo theme week 5.–11.7.2021, which included several cultural activities during the week. While participating in the cultural events, the University of Lapland conducted a visitor survey for the tourists who were visiting Utsjoki.

The purpose of the visitor survey was to gather insights from tourists for cultural tourism development in Utsjoki. The survey included among others questions of tourist’s purposes of their trip, expectations for cultural attractions, and ideas for cultural tourism development. The impact of COVID-19 on personal traveling habits was also inquired. The timing for this survey was ideal since it is traditionally the high season in tourism in Utsjoki. Salmon fishing is one of the major reasons for tourists to come in Utsjoki, but for this summer the salmon fishing in Teno river is restricted. Surprisingly there has been the same amount of tourists as previous years according to tourism entrepreneurs.

Although the visitor survey was small scale, the contents of it were insightful and useful. Utsjoki’s beautiful nature is often the main reason for traveling to Utsjoki according to the survey results. The cultural offer, in general, was seen important as well in a destination. More information for tourists should be gathered in an easily accessible place. The survey was also offered for holiday villages to distribute for their customers.

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:

Third hybrid working meeting of the Utsjoki living lab

The third hybrid working meeting of the Utsjoki Living Lab (LL) was held by the University of Lapland on 8th July 2021. The main objective of the meeting was to engage the local stakeholders in developing the LL’s communication and visibility plan, including tailored communication tools and channels such as a dedicated blog on the SmartCulTour website. Although only five participants were able to attend the meeting due to the tourism peak season, each of them represented different local stakeholders, specifically, the Municipality of Utsjoki, the Sámi Parliament of Finland, the local tourism entrepreneurs, the local service industries, and the local reindeer herders. They offered valuable and constructive ideas on how to enhance the LL’s communication and visibility. During the meeting, a Utsjoki LL tailored roadmap, the DSS – also known as the SmartCulTour Platform, and the SmartCulTour Game were also introduced to the participants, in order to keep them informed of the latest developments in the project.

There were several highlights regarding the LL’s communication and visibility plan:

·  The representative of the Municipality of Utsjoki suggested that a storytelling video about the local culture can be created to provide important information to guide tourists during their visit.

·  The representative of the local reindeer herders suggested information giving on the local handicrafts which have been exhibited in the local museums and/or village house, as this would allow tourists to learn more about the local culture.

·  The representative of the Sami Parliament suggested the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance as a possible channel through which the SmartCulTour project and the Utsjoki LL could be presented.

·  The participants discussed the rights for filming the local reindeers. It was emphasised that the reindeers owned by the natives, herders, and any private parties should not be filmed without their permission.

The meeting closed with the participants planning the LL’s next steps to be taken in the autumn.

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

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.