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Conf/CfP - The State of the Art in Creative Tourism, 1-2 June 2017, Coimbra, Portugal

Publish Date: Jan 31, 2017

Deadline: Feb 14, 2017

Event Dates: from Jun 01, 2017 12:00 to Jun 02, 2017 12:00


This conference has two aims:

First, to bring together leading creative tourism researchers with creative tourism networks and practitioners to outline “the state of the art” – the main lines of research and key issues in both the research and practice of creative tourism. What is the state of the art within creative tourism research and practice? What are the leading trends and contextualizing influences today? What are the key questions and issues to be addressed going forward?

Second, to inform the development of a creative tourism network – CREATOUR – focusing on small cities and rural areas within the Norte, Centro, Alentejo and Algarve regions of Portugal. We are eager to learn from creative tourism efforts internationally that can advise the network’s development and the array of creative tourism practices to be conducted by the pilot initiatives within CREATOUR.

What is creative tourism?

Creative tourism offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in workshops, courses and other learning experiences that are characteristic of the destination where they are taken. Creative tourism allows visitors to deepen contact with the local culture by directly participating in cultural/creative activities and being involved in the creative life of the destination (rather than just displaying creative products, for example). The creative tourism approach allows the destination communities and regions to benefit from significant advantages, and enables artistic and other creative activities to play a driving role in broader socio-economic development.


In the early 2000s, creative tourism emerged as a reaction against “mass cultural tourism” approaches as consumers sought more authentic and engaging experiences and desired to cultivate their own creativity through tourism. Originally, creative tourism referred mainly to active learning experiences, often linked to tangible cultural elements such as crafts, and this stream continues to be vibrant in creative tourism. Added to this, a shift towards a more extensive relationship between tourism and the creative industries is also observed, moving from a focus on specific forms of culture to creative content more generally and the platforms that make the distribution of this content possible. This new wave of creative tourism embodies an approach centred on “contemporary creativity, innovation and intangible content” (OECD 2014: 7), although it may use traditional culture as a source of inspiration. Becoming more than just a new tourism niche, this represents a source of innovation and an expansion of tourism as a whole.

Creative tourism experiences combine different creative content elements and engage with creative lifestyles. Visitors or consumers want to be actively involved in creative experiences and activities. Creative tourism consumers desire to “go where the creativity is” and to directly participate in creation and co-creation activities. They are increasingly playing a co-creation role in the development of creative experiences, sharing knowledge, and contributing skills to the creative experiences. Creative tourism experiences are not only economically valuable, but may stimulate the development of new ideas, products, and services through the interactions, conversations, and co- creation experiences that occur.

Furthermore, creative experiences must be embedded in the destination so that “people have a reason to be creative in a particular place. Destinations have to identify characteristic creative content and activities that connect with the needs of visitors and residents” (OECD 2014: 54). Creative tourism involves collaboration with a wide range of actors to develop “dispersed value networks” (p. 7).

The highest-profile creative tourism platforms are in cities well known as creative centres (e.g., Paris, Barcelona, Santa Fe) or linked with popular films and music (e.g., Lord of the Rings and Wellington, New Zealand; Korean new wave cinema and music, with various sites). However, other initiatives, for example, in Canada and Japan, have been developed from regional or small-town contexts.

Who is organizing?

The conference is organized within the project CREATOUR: Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas (Desenvolver Destinos de Turismo Criativo em Cidades de Pequena Dimensão e em Áreas Rurais). The overall objective of CREATOUR is to develop and pilot an integrated approach and research agenda for creative tourism in small cities and rural areas in Portugal, developing strong links within and amongst regions. CREATOUR is a national three- year project (2016-2019) funded under the Joint Activities Programme of PORTUGAL 2020, by COMPETE2020, POR Lisboa, POR Algarve and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.

Building on a twofold approach, CREATOUR intertwines Theory and Experimentation, combining multidisciplinary theoretical and methodological frameworks, cultural mapping, and benchmarking exercises with the development of an array of Pilots, or creative tourism case studies. The project builds on three interlinking dimensions of recent cultural and creative industries development in Portugal: (1) the development of artistic and creative industry hubs (“arts centres” or “creative factories”) in repurposed former industrial buildings or in restored heritage sites in many small cities and rural areas; (2) growing attention to the (re)vitalization and valorization of tangible and intangible cultural traditions throughout the country; and (3) the growth and development – and heightened visibility – of culture- and design-related creative products in Portugal.

CREATOUR promotes the potential for the development of human-scaled, interactive, creative tourism featuring creativity- and culture-based experiential tourism experiences. Focusing on smaller cities and rural areas in which active cultural organizations and creative enterprises currently operate, the project aims to foster new or enhanced tourism offers building from local strengths, knowledge, skills, and traditions. The project aims to develop a sustainable creative tourism that is socially, culturally, environmentally, and economically rooted in specific places and is sensitive to these dimensions. It aims to give added value to cultural and creative traditions, skills, and knowledge as well as to emerging creative practices and pathways.

Call for papers and proposals

We invite academics, artists, creative tourism practitioners, students, and others working in tourism and cultural development to propose paper/project presentations, thematic panel sessions, or workshops, addressing any of the following themes:

  • Leading trends and contextualizing influences in creative tourism today
  • Creative tourism in non-metropolitan areas
  • Creative tourism experience producers in small cities and rural areas
  • Local policies and citizens’ perspectives/involvement in creative tourism development
  • Evaluation of impacts of creative tourism experiences
  • Creative tourism, co-creation of knowledge, and specificity of place
  • Approaches to co-constructing creative experiences with visitors
  • Relationships between creative tourism and holistic local development
  • Creative tourism and rural development
  • Creative tourism and social inclusion
  • Creative tourism and cross-cultural exchange
  • Creative tourism and cultural sustainability
  • Creative tourism experiences and authenticity
  • Creative tourism as a vehicle to explore cultural landscapes and heritage
  • Understanding place through creative activities and expressions
  • Linking creative and environmental tourism
  • Linking creative and rural tourism
  • The use of technologies in creative tourism
  • Artists and ’creatives’ on vacation
  • The future of creative tourism

Submitting a proposal

Online form for proposal submissions can be found in the "Further official information" link below the announcement.

Required information:

  • Name of primary author, and other authors (if applicable) Email of primary author
  • Position/title of primary author
  • Organization/institution
  • Department
  • City
  • Country
  • Title of presentation
  • Abstract (250 words)
  • Key theme(s) of presentation/proposal
  • Brief bio of presenter(s), including position/role of each (e.g., researcher, professor, architect, doctoral student, artist, town planner, etc.) (max. 250 words)

Deadline for proposals: 14 February 2017


The primary language of the event will be English, but proposals for presentations in Portuguese are also welcome. We will aim to arrange for ‘informal’ translation support in sessions, as possible.


This conference will be linked to the development of an international book with Edward Elgar Publishers.


10 January 2017 - “Early review” deadline for proposals 14 February 2017 - Deadline to submit proposals
6 March 2017 - Responses from the Scientific Committee 7 March to 21 April 2017 - Earlybird registration period

Contact: Please email any questions to:

For more information click "Further official information" below.


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