The International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) took part in the Global Cultural Districts Network Convening, held on 10-13 May 2017 in Barcelona. The session “Balancing Act of Tourism: Residents and Visitors” was moderated by Dr. Diane Dodd, President of IGCAT.
Cultural Tourism is strongly associated with boosting local economies, generating more foot traffic through cultural institutions, and helping to raise the profile of revenue-hungry cities. But balance must be sought between the livability of an area for its residents and a continuing appeal to visiting tourists. Keynote speaker and acclaimed author of Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, Elizabeth Becker, has exposed the dangers of unchecked tourism. She shared key insights on the value of cultural tourism while cautioning the overuse of this strategy for economic development considering its possible detrimental effects on local communities. A wider discussion and debate on the topic have followed the keynote, featuring case studies of cultural tourism from around the world. Martin Harte from The Temple Bar Company in Dublin and Nicola Schiess from Corporacion Cultural in Chile, have contributed to the discussion by talking about Smart Policies and projects needed to support meaningful relationships between residents and visitors.