A so-called new trend, creative tourism

by  TR Weekly
Creative tourism is one of the key components to attract more tourist arrivals to Thailand’s capital city a tourism academic told sellers attending a TTM presentation, Wednesday.

Addressing the topic Changing Destination Perceptions through Creative Tourism, Professor Greg Richards said creative and alternative tourism focuses on trends and opportunities that are already evident in Bangkok.

According to his definition, creative tourism offers visitors the opportunity to build their own creative potential through learning experiences relevant to the holiday destination.

“The idea of cycling in Bangkok may seem crazy due to heavy traffic and the high accident rate, but it remains the most entertaining way to explore the city. It introduces visitors to the real living conditions in Bangkok and its people as they bike through narrow lanes past markets, golden temples, and green plantations.”

The Thai capital is already offering some creative tourism options such as cooking classes and even lessons in Muay Thai. Cycling tours have been on the travel menu for decades and well represented at TTM over the years.

However, in order to turn Bangkok into interesting creative tourism destination he suggested that the city needs to have the right resources such as attractive open zone for tourism.

“The key to successful creative tourism is quality of life, long-term vision, developing an identity as well as image, collaborating with stakeholders and using public space to host creative events.”

Creative, thinking starts with the destination identifying the subjects it can offer to tourists who want to embark on a learning experience. The activities have been around for a considerable time although they were not segmented under a title creative tourism.

Based in Barcelona, Richards is the professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg and professor of Events at Breda University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands.

During a debate, author and TV personality, Andrew Biggs, challenged the basic concept arguing that Bangkok and even Thailand could not be repositioned as a creative tourism destination.

“Fun, smile, laugh and enjoy life are the real draw cards of Bangkok and it is a challenge for travel industry here to sell or expose that to tourists coming here….it is the real charm that separates Thailand from other countries.”

However, Bangkok continues to be in good shape in popularity polls. It topped the TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Asia Destinations list of 25 cities and was 13th in the Top 25 Travellers’ Chioce World Destinations 2013.

The city also continues to be the country’s top draw card in tourism based on its nightlife and shopping appeal according to a Hotels.com’s index.

Predictably most of the audience when asked to vote said Bangkok was just fine, positioned well as just as it is.