Cultural tourism

Results of the CreativeCH workshop at the Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya (Terrassa, Catalonia) on the 10th of May 2013, in the context of the Fira Modernista. The workshop focused on the question of how to develop attractive and sustainable cultural tourism offerings.

Workshop highlights

Wide range of initiatives:
The workshop made clear the wide range of initiatives in the field of cultural and industrial tourism across Europe. Diversity provides uniqueness and richness but, at the same time, developing joint projects can be complex.

Gap between existing cultural resources and tourism products: There is a gap between the existing cultural and industrial heritage resources and the development of appropriate tourism activities and products. Because transforming cultural resources in marketable tourism offerings is a major challenge. Addressing this challenge, the workshop stressed the need to create synergies between key sectors involved: culture, tourism and related business, and to stimulate public-private partnerships.

Priority of high-quality cultural resources: When selecting resources for tourism development, it is important to give priority to high-quality cultural resources. To transform them into tourist products, storytelling has proven to be an effective approach as it allows for historic contextualizing of resources and to highlight cognitive and emotional aspects of cultural heritage.

Linking industrial heritage and modern industry: The workshop also addressed the question if it is appropriate to link industrial heritage with modern industry, but did not reach consensus on whether or not this might be attractive to visitors.

Tourists as trip advisors: A further topic was the role of tourists as important trip advisors. While suggestions by other tourists have always been an important motivation, novel internet platforms and applications have turned this source of information into a strong factor impacting on travel planning and choice of touristic offerings.

Importance of regional tourists: According to the workshop participants, it is essential to pay particular attention to regional tourists that make up a large, often the majority, of visitors to cultural sites.

Developing tourism products according to validated demand: The workshop participants agreed that the development of tourism activities and products must take full account of the existing demand. Because very seldom offerings are successful that try to create new demand. However, educational programs can enrich the interest of visitors and direct them to cultural sites and objects that are not on the typical “must see” list of tourists.

Tourism drivers: What motivates tourists to visit particular destinations, in particular, cultural heritage sites was a controversial issue. However, the participants agreed that except for major attractions the destination itself could hardly be seen as the primary motivator when planning a trip.

Segmentation of tourism audiences: The workshop discussion also stressed that, like in other sector, there are different segments of visitors and that the development of cultural tourism products must take account of their different needs and requirements. Tools like software that allows for collecting data on the motivations of visitors who access cultural institutions and sites can be helpful in gaining a better understanding of their interests.

Summary by Gisela Gonzalo (Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya)

Workshop content

Full report of the workshop, presentations, videos, additional content and links at:

Includes presentations by

  • Wolfgang Ebert (Board Member, European Route of Industrial Heritage - ERIH): Industrial Heritage Tourism in Europe;
  • Jordi Garreta (Terrassa City Council): XATIC: a net to promote Industrial Tourism in Catalonia;
  • Magda Gassó (Government of Catalonia): Tourism and heritage: now is the moment;
  • Henryk Handszuh (Chairman, Scientific Council, International Documentation and Research Centre on Industrial Heritage for Tourism): A cultural city coal park in the making in Zabrze;
  • Ion Imbrescu (University of West Timisoara, Romania): Reviving rural industrial heritage;
  • Josep Maria Pey (El Generador): Is Industrial Tourism a business opportunity?
  • Carla Vieira (Association Teia D’Impulsos, Portugal): Reading Portimão (CHIEF Award Winner).

Selected material and links