Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion


Cultural tourism has the wind in its sails

Web review - 17/07/2015

Cultural tourism is placed second behind seaside resorts” affirms Frédéric Pierret, executive director of program and coordination at the ILO. Already in 2009, an OECD report: ‘The impact of Culture on Tourism’, describing cultural tourism as the touristic sector with the strongest growth: “culture and tourism maintain mutually beneficial relationship which nature is to reinforce the attractiveness and competitiveness of places, regions and countries” summarized Sergio Arzeni, Director of OECD’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development. “More and more, culture is an important component making up profits from tourism allowing differentiation within a very crowded global market”.

Since 2008, the Forum d’Avignon’s studies have examined in depth the links between territorial attractiveness and culture on one side, and on another, those between the smart city and the creative city.

“Beyond touristic benefits for tourism, emphasized the report, What strategies for sustainable employment and urban development planning? (Kurt Salmon, 2010), the installation of cultural activities, communication or heritage valorisation can have a strong impact in terms of:

  • Economic development (creating qualified jobs, positioning for high value added tertiary activities, creating hubs of excellence, etc.)
  • Symbolic effect (city image, reinforcing social ties, developing the sense of belonging for citizens, etc.)
  • Articulating with other key sectors within a city (education and teaching, environment, etc.)”

Attraction strategies developed by Niger, Ireland or London, amongst others, show how culture can be the source of renewal.


The impact of cultural tourism

Based on OECD statistics, “more than 50% of Europe’s touristic activity is generated by cultural heritage and cultural tourism will become the component within the tourism sector to show strongest growth”, corroborated by recent  American and Canadian reports, the author reminds of what “the territories are depriving themselves by ignoring cultural tourism’.

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‘The cultural dimension of territorial development” ‘Actes’ of the 3rd National Conferences of Directors of Cultural Affairs

“There still is three big new paradigms within the French society to which we must respond: employee development, sustainable development and economic development. In the face of such major issues, there is an urgency, to consider collectively – elected representatives and professionals – culture in its eminently transversal dimension, to move on from a thought framework too often focused on cultural tools towards a reflection what to expect from cultural policy alongside territorial planning, education, social and of course including economic development policies – which is now aware of the weight it represents in our countries’ GDP.” Recalls Véronique Balbo Bonneval, Président of the  FNADAC in her opening speech for the National conferences for Directors of Cultural Affairs in October 2014.

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London, an impact cultural tourism strategy

The Mayor of London took the decision, in 2014, to place Cultural Tourism as Great London Tourism’s touristic strategies first objective, an organisation that published a first Report around the end of 2014 to do a general assessment and decide on new very ambitious goals. Composed of a series of Notes to evaluate the economic impact of
Culture within Great London’s tourism, this Report and Workshop signal a turning point in their Policy as a city, last year, welcomed the largest number of tourists in Europe, in front of Paris. 

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Musical tourism increases Northern Ireland’s GDP by 80 million pounds

260 000 tourist travelled to Northern Ireland last year in order to assist concerts and participate in musical festivals. The average amount spent by visitor amounted up to 860 pounds, which has allowed to keep 694 full-time local jobs.

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In Niger, a cross investment between culture and tourism to restart the economy

Aiming to reduce its dependency on oil revenues and the drop in market prices for oil, Niger’s economy shifts its focus on cultural tourism considered both as “an alternative revenue source and a way to fight against social difficulties” (quoted from Olatunbosun Oyintiloye). A means to diversification and independence for the economy, two elements Niger expects from cultural tourism.

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