Culture: A Driving Force for Urban Tourism -
Application of Experiences to Countries in Transition
This collection of papers represents the main issues discussed at the seminar Culture: A Driving Force for Urban Tourism – Application of Experiences to the Countries in Transition. The seminar was held at the Grand Hotel Park in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 18 to 19 May 2001 through the organization of the Culturelink Network/IMO and the Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik. The seminar brought together some sixty-five participants from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Its main aim was to present research papers together with best practice examples in order to enable local tourism and culture practitioners to learn from it how to manage their cities culturally for tourists and, at the same time, to improve the quality of life of the citizens themselves.
The first day of the seminar discussed two main topics: Cultural Tourism as a Niche Market and The City as a Resource in Tourism while the second day presented the round table on the topic of Croatian challenges and prospects for cultural tourism development in Croatia.
The first session concentrated on cultural tourism as a great potential market: visitors who look for cultural experiences stay longer, spend more money, have higher education levels and have higher household incomes than the visitors who belong to the mass tourism market. The following issues were presented: Opportunities for a local community/city/region/ country in developing cultural tourism as a priority market; Cultural supply and cultural demand in tourism; Benefits/threats for a cultural tourism market; Importance of cultural tourism for the whole cultural/tourist sector as well as for the economic sector; Examples of good practice.
In order to manage quality tourism in cities, it is necessary to start with the statement that 'in cities, the marriage of culture and tourism guarantees success'. The papers of the second session were based on this statement. Accordingly, the following themes were to be discussed: Culture as a basic resource for urban tourism; Tangible and intangible heritage as equal attractions; Urban tourism as a factor of decentralization of cultural/tourist activities; Diversity as a key element in urban tourism supply, should cities be partners or rivals?; Examples of good practice.
The round table offered the opportunity for all participants to present their views and suggest solutions for the development of sustainable cultural tourism in Croatia. The discussion comprised issues related to the private and public sector, legal support, education, enhancement of the tourist offer, extension of the tourist season and geographical base, etc. but was mostly concentrated on the burning issues of funding problems as well as the lack of coordination between cultural and tourist sectors in Croatia. The session examined the ways in which the development of cultural tourism in Croatia can contribute to the overall cultural/tourist sector as well as to the economic sector.
The proceedings comprise fifteen papers and present richness in ideas and thought from top European researchers in this field. How theatre, music, textile or culinary heritage can contribute to the development of urban tourism; how to effectively communicate with museum visitors; what is the strategy of Croatian cultural tourism development and what are its strengths and obstacles; how to develop cultural tourism at mass tourism destinations - all this was discussed and is represented by these proceedings. It is hoped that the issues discussed, the results provided, the connections and friendships gained at the seminar will contribute to the aims of the seminar as well as to the development of science in this field.
On behalf of all the participants, the project coordinator/the editor of this volume would like to thank the Open Society Institute, Croatia, which gave the greatest support to the project. Also, our thanks go to the Croatian Ministry of Science and Technology, Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Croatian Ministry of Culture, which provided their support to the seminar. The Croatian National Tourist Board and Croatia Airlines deserve to be mentioned for their great support either in services' subsidies or in material goods. The partner institution, the Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik is thanked for their logistic and financial support. Its director, Mr. Vjekoslav Vierda is especially thanked for his engagement during the city tour when he practically showed how to transfer research results into practice in an innovative way.
Our special thanks go to the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and once again to the Croatian Ministry of Culture as well as to the Croatian National Tourist Board, which made possible the publication of the proceedings.