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City Tourism & Culture – The European Experience

World Tourism Organization and European Travel Commission, Madrid, 2005, 124 pp., ISBN 92-844-0779-6

City Tourism & Culture - The European Experience is a report of the World Tourism Organization and the Research Group of the European Travel Commission. It was prepared as part of a series of Market Reports which forms part of the ongoing Research Programme of the European Travel Commission.

The purpose of this study was to increase the knowledge on cultural city trips for the members of ETC, for individual European cities/tourist offices, and for WTO members. Its main objective was to create a conceptual framework with a structural approach that can be broadly used in practical marketing, especially communication, and product development. In addition, the study consists of an inventory and analysis of available quantitative data on city tourism and culture and a qualitative survey of the supply side.

The study consists of six chapters. Starting out with the definition of cultural tourism and a presentation of the conceptual framework used in the study, the focus of chapter 2 is on quantitative data based on four data sources on cultural city tourism, namely TourMIS, IPK International, ATLAS and EUROBAROMETER. Chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6 present the results of qualitative market research, clustered in four subjects:

  • volume of cultural city tourism and volume related developments;
  • marketing of cultural city tourism;
  • cooperation in the field of city tourism and culture;
  • main opportunities for city tourism and culture in Europe.

Apart from the results, the study is also supplemented with appendices describing the research method, the response and the questionnaire as well as the detailed outcome of the questionnaire.

All those involved in this field are aware that the study focused on burning issues common to all European countries involved in cultural city tourism. This is confirmed by some of the results that have been chosen to be presented here:

  • 93 per cent of the interviewees claim that places in Europe are increasingly using cultural tourism to promote themselves, which shows the growing tendencies of this form of tourism;
  • 88 per cent of the interviewees claim that cultural festivals and events are important reasons for cultural tourists to choose to specifically visit a place;
  • 66 per cent of the interviewees claim that cooperation between cultural organizations and tourist organizations is difficult, as they often do not speak the same language;
  • 92 per cent of the interviewees claim that public/private partnerships offer interesting development opportunities for cultural tourism.

This is not the first study to show such findings. The study 'From Tourism and Culture to Cultural Tourism: Development Strategy' (Institute for Tourism, 2004) as well as the study 'Current State, Potentials and Future Prospects of Cultural Tourism in Croatia: the Role of the State in Planning and Implementing Cultural Tourism Programmes' (Jelinčić, 2004) showed similar findings in terms of poor cooperation and important but inadequate marketing.

As already mentioned, this study summarizes some of the main opportunities for city tourism and culture, where the novelty factor is seen only as a short-term opportunity for city cultural tourism and the greater need for innovation is stressed. Cultural festivals and (mega)events offer interesting opportunities for places on various levels. At the same time, it is extremely important to insist on authenticity and visitor management. The 'creative city' is seen as a differential advantage linking traditional cultural products with the creative industries. Creation of a 'web' of cooperation between places can be an effective way of reinforcing each place's product and of drawing additional visitors.

The opportunities presented in this study are certainly to a greater degree summaries of the study's main findings than concrete steps that should be taken when planning cultural city tourism. It is interesting, however, to see that most European cities share the same situation within the sector and are preoccupied with the same problems. City cultural tourism is a relatively 'new' sector that will be paid greater attention in the near future. And those who want to develop a successful brand will certainly have to apply great creativity!

The publication is available online in PDF format at http://www.etc-corporate.org/resources/uploads/

For further information, please contact info@etc-corporate.org or see www.etc-corporate.org and www.world-tourism.org.