Innovative approaches to combining cultural tourism and creative industries

“Cultural tourism is rising in Russia and we need recommendations to find synergies between cultural and creative industries and tourism”, stated NDPC Senior adviser Ilze Gailite-Holmberg in her opening words for the Creative Industries roundtable discussion at the 7th Northern Dimension Forum.  The roundtable focused on the interaction and cross-overs of CCIs and cultural tourism, and provided examples of innovative approaches to combining them.

According to Terrence Sandell from Cultural Futures LLP, the current fast development of the CCI and cultural tourism is part of a larger trend, where material consumption is replaced by conscious leisure as a means of showing wealth and individualism. Therefore, tourism that includes elements from local art, food, living culture and sustainability is gaining popularity all over the world. Similar kind of development has started also in Russia and Eastern Europe, as evidenced by the case examples presented at the round table, including e.g. Karelian line of souvenir products, event-based ecological tourism in Komi, Latvian Museum Network Project and Severstal corporate responsibility projects.

The participants discussed also some of the challenges related to the development of cultural and creative industries and cultural tourism. Because of the rapid developments in the field, government policies are often lagging behind, which is one challenge for further development of CCIs and cultural tourism. In addition, Julia Rybakova from consulting group City of Masters argued that involving local communities and building their commitment is essential for the successful realization of projects. This, however, is often ignored in Russia, where cultural institutions are typically not ready for rapid changes.

The policy makers as well as successful entrepreneurs and projects need platforms for networking and sharing experiences to overcome the challenges. The roundtable participants hoped actors like the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture to take an active role in fostering the exchange of experiences of best policies within the ND area and disseminating information about potential funding sources for projects.

The roundtable was organized by the Northern Dimension Partnership on Culture in cooperation with the Northern Dimension Business Council.