Culture, Sustainability, and Place:
Innovative Approaches for Tourism Development

11 to 13 October 2017
Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal


CREATOUR is an incubator/demonstration and multidisciplinary research initiative, supporting collaborative research processes. The three-year project aims to connect the cultural/creative and tourism sectors through the development of an integrated research and application approach to catalyzing creative tourism in small cities and rural areas throughout Portugal.

Creative tourism involves active learning experiences enabling self-expression and creative skill development, with a more extensive relationship between tourism and creative industries emerging, and with platforms making the distribution of this content possible. An essential feature in this process is the firm link of creativity to place and its embeddedness in the local milieu, promoting the visitor an immersion experience within the local culture and local institutions and generating economic and social added value to the region.

CREATOUR involves five research centres working with a range of cultural/creative organizations and other stakeholders located in small cities across Portugal in the Norte, Centro, Alentejo and Algarve regions. CREATOUR's design builds on a twofold approach – theory and experimentation – which explicitly nurtures applied experimentation and the implementation of Pilots that diversify tourism offers and deepen connections between cultural/creative and tourism organizations in these areas.

The project aims to develop a sustainable creative tourism sector to boost tourism in small cities and rural areas as well as to contribute meaningfully to local cultural vibrancy and holistic development in pilot communities. It is informed by theoretical and methodological approaches from cultural/creative sector development, tourism, and regional development. It is organized using the key dimensions of support to enhance value for creative sector development as a framework: 1) build knowledge and capacity, 2) support content development and link creativity to place, and 3) strengthen network and cluster formation.

CREATOUR integrates with and explicitly addresses National and Regional Smart Specialization priority areas while building on three interlinking dimensions of recent cultural/creative industries development in Portugal: 1) the development of artistic and creative industry hubs (“arts centres” or “creative factories”) in former industrial factories or in restored heritage sites in many small cities; 2) the (re)vitalization and valorization of tangible and intangible cultural traditions; and 3) the growth and development – and heightened visibility – of culture- and design-related creative products. CREATOUR will build the capacity of cultural/creative agents to develop, implement, and refine an array of attractive creative tourism experiences and will have a direct applicability for regional sectorial strategies and public policies.

This project will be pursued in an open international context, continuously engaging with creative tourism researchers and initiatives globally and advised by an international Advisory Council.