Ifigenia Georgiadou, Hellenic Culture Centre www.hcc.edu.gr
Let’s imagine that we all are travellers, visitors of an unknown city. We can choose: there is a tourist guide, who is very eager to show us all interesting sites and the city and come with us for a sightseeing. We are going to travel by coach and we will go to museums, parks and monuments. We will listen to information on the history of the city, a bit about the language of the inhabitants and their origin, a bit about their customs and feasts. At the end of the day, tired but happy with what we have managed to see in only one day, we will have some rest, having the slight impression that all these pictures and information have been somewhat mixed in our head.
We could do something else, though: take a map of the city from the bookshop and walk around on our own: we will stop at a coffee shop, in order to follow a strange game that is played by some clients there. We will turn left, guided by the incredible smell of a fresh-made sweet at a bakery. We may meet a man cooking his meal the traditional way and be invited to help him and have a “meze”. We will get lost in a small road and feel anxious for a while, until we find our way. We may enter a potter’s workshop and learn why the Greek pots are so unique since antiquity. We will finally find where we are through body language and some words of Greek origin, when we will communicate with a local, who will show us the way. We will definitely be tired to walk for many hours, as it will take much time to get into contact with the city and learn something about it.
But in the evening we will be pleased with ourselves. We will have walked on foot, with our own rhythm, our own steps all those roads and we will have tasted this city. It will be us who will have control over our itinerary.
Learning a culture through Creative Tourism activities is somehow like the individual walk in an unknown city. It only offers a structure to build your knowledge, a way to work, not a ready-made recipe for learning. It is only an “approach” in the essential meaning of this word: coming closer to the learning objective, with a strong will to learn, to conquer the unknown city you were always dreaming to travel to.
Creative Tourism is considered a new generation of tourism by involving the tourists themselves and the locals in the creation of the tourist products (co-creation).
The Creative Tourism concept appeared in the 2000′s, and defined as a:
‘‘Tourism which offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences, which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are taken.”
Crispin Raymond and Greg Richards, 2000
Today tourists generally add to their traditional programme of visits more creative and participatory activities, with the aim of living cultural and human experiences. This transform those into a visitor, who wants to see, to touch, to smell, to speak, to laugh together with the local people.
They want to experience the local culture by participating in artistic and creative activities.
- They want to live experiences where they can feel themselves as a local.
- They do not look for the “monumentality” or the “spectacularity”
- They are prosumers and share their experiences on social media.
- They are exclusive regarding the way they travel: once experienced the creative tourism, they no longer want to come back to a conventional circuit.
- They use to combine many types of tourism, during the same journey: creative, culinary, eco-tourism, slow tourism.
So experience different activities by and with the local people. Try to come into contact with locals in Santorini, take part in different Creative Tourism Activities and create your own unique trip as voyagers of culture!