Over 200 delegates gathered in Paris last week to discuss the emerging field of creative tourism. The event was hosted by the city of Paris, which now has its own creative tourism portal – creativeparis.info.
The presentations ranged from academic analyses of the need for creativity in modern society to case studies of creative tourism in the outskirts of Paris and in rural areas of Thailand. One general area of agreements, however, was that creative tourism meets a basic social need for people to come together and do things collectively. One push factor has been the massification of cultural tourism, which is causing many culture lovers to seek more ‘authentic’ or local experiences, and at the same time holidays have become an important space in which many people take the opportunity to express their creativity.
Although many creative tourism projects have been launched by creative producers in rural areas with few other opportunities to benefit from tourism, the major developments in the field now seem to be happening in large cities. There has been a particular growth in ‘live like a local’ projects, with alternative accommodation and informal guiding schemes, such as Plus One Berlin and Gidsy.
In his presentation at the conference Greg Richards outlined a trend from creative tourism to ‘relational tourism’, which is based more on the personal contacts made through travel than the creative content of the experience itself. You can read his paper at
http://www.academia.edu/2241415/The_effects_of_human_exchange_being_together_an_anthropological_constant and more items related to creative tourism can be found on Greg’s academia page: http://independent.academia.edu/gregrichards