CREATIVE TOURISM A PANACEA FOR ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY IN ABIA STATE
1.1 Background to the Study
Creativity appears to have become positioned as a panacea for a wide range of problems. The development of creative cities (Landry, 2000), creative clusters (Mommaas, 2009), creative industries (O‟Connor, 2010) and the creative field (Scott, 2010) can serve to attract the creative class (Florida, 2002) and hopefully rescue the economy, as well as knitting communities together and revitalising local culture. However, there is also a sceptical tone emerging in many recent studies of creativity (e.g. Peck, 2005), which is now also being repeated in the field of tourism (Long and Morpeth, forthcoming). The rapid rise, dissemination and subsequent critique of creative development strategies mirror the development of cultural tourism in the 1980s and 1990s (Richards, 1996, 2001). In fact „creative tourism‟ is often seen as a form of, or an extension of cultural tourism. The issue of economic sustainability and Practice of tourism considers many different facets of the creative tourism phenomenon, and examines the ways in which it has been developed in various places. Creative tourism has been faced with challenges in the aspect of creative tourism development and, despite the emergent critical thoughts on the subject, they tend to emphasise the positive aspects. Does this suggest that creative tourism is just one more aspect of the creativity hype, or can creative experiences act as an effective alternative to more “traditional” tourism development strategies? In this sense, it is important to understand the concept of creative tourism better in order to provide an effective assessment of its theoretical position and practical importance.
According to (Peter 2011) Creative tourism is a concept that only formally defined a decade ago, but in the intervening years it has seen a significant growth worldwide. The range of presentations at this conference on different creative tourism programmes from all corners of the globe is a clear indication of how widespread it now is. In this research I will try and set out some of the reasons for this growth, the different forms of creative tourism that have developed and the challenges that remain for those involved in this new sector of tourism. My basic argument is that the growth of creative tourism has been driven by both production and consumption related forces, and that the maximum benefit can be derived by creatively combining the efforts of both producers and consumers to develop it as a panacea for economic sustainability to the people of Abia State that both engage and transform participants and host communities alike.
The term “creative tourism” was coined by Richards and Raymond (2000). The idea for more creative forms of tourism originated in a European project – EUROTEX – which aimed to stimulate craft production through tourism (Richards, 2005). Although the idea of developing creative experiences was not in itself new, creative tourism was quickly taken up and made more concrete through the development of courses and workshops (e.g. Creative Tourism New Zealand), conferences and seminars (Barcelona 2005, 2010, Santa Fe, 2008) and a range of publications (Richards and Wilson 2006,2007; Wurzburger et al. 2008; Richards, 2011). The creative tourism idea seemed to catch on not only because of the evolution of tourist demand but also because it fitted a range of contemporary policy agendas. Creativity has indeed been broadly applied in several fields, most notably in the creative and cultural industries. The Green Paper on Cultural and Creative industries (European Commission, 2010) was a major source of legitimation of demands for more studies of and intervention in the creative field.
In recent years the recognition of the economic potential of culture (e.g. KEA, 2006) as well as creativity (e.g. UN, 2008; 2010) seemed to position creativity as a development tool and as a potential solution to a range of economic and social problems (the need for innovation, new approaches to learning, developing social capital and community cohesion, etc.). With the advent of the global financial crisis, the need for creativity seems have climbed even higher up many political agendas. This is also clear in the field of tourism, with the recent renaming of the Indonesian Ministry for Culture and Tourism as the Ministry for Tourism and Creative Economy and the development of creative tourism networks in places as far afield as Barcelona, Santa Fe and Thailand (see below). Creative tourism appears therefore as a key development option for various reasons and can serve distinctive objectives. Firstly, it responds to the need for tourism to re-invent itself as well as to the need for destinations to do something different in a saturated market. It can also meet the desire of tourists for more fulfilling and meaningful experiences (see also the concept of ‘experiential tourism’ – Prentice, 2001: 2005; Smith 2006). On another level, there is a growing raft of small creative enterprises, looking for new markets to develop. Creativity is becoming an increasingly popular career option (McRobbie, 2010) and the new creatives need markets to target. The popularity of creative practices such as music, dance and photography is also increasing (e.g. Cultural Alliance, 2010). Altogether, these trends explain and to a certain extent legitimate the popularity of creative development strategies among policy makers. At the same time, many cities are struggling to become more creative, and to present themselves as creative destinations – not only as places where co-creation is possible, but also for attracting creative and educated people (the „creative class”, Florida, 2002). Attracting the creative class as visitors may eventually also persuade them to live in these cities, which in turn will contribute to their creative atmosphere, adding in turn to creative production and tourism attractiveness. The end result has been more than a decade of expanding creative tourism production and consumption, to the point where it has become an established niche in the global tourism market.
Some of the most developed examples of creative tourism activities are provided by creative networks aimed at linking tourists and locals. As well as the Creative Tourism Barcelona programme (which is described in more detail in the current issue by Caroline Couret), Creative Paris has recently been established, offering a range of creative experiences for visitors including visual, performing and culinary arts, fashion and design, writing and philosophy and gardening. In Austria, a range of creative experiences throughout the country have been brought together by Creative Tourism Austria, which provides links to various „creative hotspots‟ around the country. Creative Tourism Austria also has a model based more on developing relationships with commercial partners, including hotels and spas. Creative tourist has been established by the Manchester Museums Consortium, and acts more as an information board for people wanting to experience the creative scene in Manchester. As the website itself explains, it is: A Manchester Facebooky, Twittery, Guardian-ish, Book-marky, Arts-cum-Culture-cum-Shopping & Foodie Guide Type Thing‟. These developments underline the increasing intertwining of creativity, tourism, new media and networks in the contemporary network society (Castells, 1996).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A growing number of tourists at major sites and in small communities have raised questions about the sustainability of this form of tourism. Historic city centres have started to suffer from a “vicious circle” of cultural tourism development in which famous sites attract large number of tourists thus degrading the quality of experience and driving “serious” cultural tourists away (Russo, 2002). In the search for their uniqueness through cultural tourism, many places have followed similar strategies, which have resulted in making those places feel and look the same (Richards and Wilson, 2006). Consequently, several places have started to search for the new forms of articulation between culture and tourism to help to strengthen rather than water down local culture.
The researcher have identify the following problem within the case study among which are:
1. That Akwette cloth weaving in Ukwa west L.G.A have recently have a downside in marketing and this is as a result that the management has decided to reduce the quality of its production from the original.
2. Notwithstanding the above issue, the production company has been able to give employment to the youths of the community, but are limited to the brown of production the produce.
3. The researcher also seek it explore and find out if Akwette cloth weaving in ukwa west L.G.A has been able to serve as a panacea to the economic sustainability of the state Abia.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study
The project work aims at determining and highlighting the sore contribution of creative tourism to economic sustainability to thee people of Abia State. The objectives are stated as follows:
i. To determine the relationship between creative tourism and economic sustainability.
ii. To explore the weakness and challenges of creative tourism within the community Ukwa west L.G.A.
iii. To evaluate Akwette cloth weaving industry in ukwa west L.G.A and its progression.
iv. Finally to make possible suggestion and recommendation to the industry based on the findings of this research.
1.4 Conceptual Framework
Since creative tourism has been referenced as a subset of cultural tourism, I have studied the much larger field of cultural tourism to give my research of creative tourism history and depth. Identified creative tourism resources include the Journal of Tourism Consumption and Practice, which deals with a variety of tourism subsets and initiatives including a specific special issue on creative tourism. Books found include; Tourism, Creativity and Development by Greg Richards & Julie Wilson and Creative Tourism: A Global Conversation: How to Provide Unique Creative Experiences for the People Worldwide, which was based on the 2008 Santa Fe & International Conference on Creative Tourism held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This conference brought together delegates from 16 countries around the world to engage in a conversation about how best to leverage the tourism sector for community and economic development.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions shall guide the study;
i. Has Akwette cloth weaving in ukwa west L.G.A been able to provide job opportunity to the youths of the community?
ii. What is the contribution of Akwette cloth weaving to the community at large in terms of co-operate image?
iii. What is the revenue generated from Akwette cloth weaving in ukwa west L.G.A to the government per annum?
iv. What are the challenges faced in the industry towards creative tourism?
v. How can creative tourism be developed and promoted as a panacea for Economic Sustainability?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses will be tested in the study;
Ho:There is no significant relationship between creative tourism to economic sustainability.
Hi:There is no significant relationship between creative tourism to economic sustainability.
Ho: An increase to creative tourism industry by the government will have no significance impact to the state economic sustainability.
Hi: An increase to creative tourism industry by the government will have no significance impact to the state economic sustainability.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This report provides an extensive analysis on creative tourism and its sustainability to the state economic value: To the body of academic, this study will serve as a search light indicating area of further research(s) on this topic. This research work will serve as a turning point in the study of creative tourism, particularly as it concern sustainability.
1.8 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study is covers only Akwette cloth weaving in ukwa west L.G.A, its creative arts and tourism, its development, the sustainability it offers, to the community and the state at large. Also, this research work is administered to only 241 respondents out of the entire population of the community.
1.9 Definition of Key Terms
Creative Tourism: “Creative Tourism is tourism directed toward an engaged and authentic experience,with participative learning in the arts, heritage or special character of a place” (Rebecca , W., Aageson, T., Pattakos, A., & Pratt, S., 2009).
Cultural Tourism: Travel involving passive visitor interaction in art, music, history or cultural of a location.
Cultural Entrepreneurs: “Cultural Entrepreneurs are cultural change agents and resourceful visionaries who organize cultural, financial, social and human capital, to generate revenue from a cultural activity. Their innovative solutions result in economically sustainable cultural enterprises that enhance livelihoods and create cultural value and wealth for both creative producers and consumers of cultural services and products” (Anheier, H. and Isar, Y., 2008).
Economic Development: Quantitative and qualitative changes in the economy which may be do to policy makers that promote the economic growth of an area.
Reed: This is a kind of coarse, firm-stemmed, jointed grasses growing in a near water-land used for thatching.
Visitor: For the purpose of this research a visitor is someone who lives outside Santa Fe County.
Yarn: These are fibres which has been spun for knitting and weaving
Design: This is a drawing or outline from which something may be made
Dye: Colours, usually by dipping in a liquid. These are various types of dyes and for various categories of a cloth. Nowadays a lot of improvement has been made in synthetic dyes.
Warp: This refers to the vertical threads strips of a loom in weaving.
Weft: This refers to the horizontal threads of strips passed over and under the wrap of a loom in weaving.
Straw: Stem of wheat or other grain planted that have been cut and dried. It is used for making mats.