Creative Tourism A Humanistic Paradigm in Practice

Nancy Duxbury and Fiona Eva Bakas

1. Introduction

The growing humanistic paradigm provides a point of inspiration for transforming not only intra-organizational management practices but also shaping the macro dynamics of the intentions and operations of the tourism sector more widely. As Mele (2016) describes it, humanism

sees the human being in permanent development and calls on him or her to flourish as a human. This is the responsibility of each human, but since the material, social and cultural environment can favor it, humanism seeks to foster the conditions for such flourishing including appropriate well-being development.

(PP- 42-43)

Within the scope of tourism, the field of creative tourism appears well placed as a site of experimentation and a forerunner of humanistic practices and meaningful interactions between a locale’s visitors and its residents. Creative tourism is characterized by four elements: active participation, a learning process, an opportunity for creative self-expression, and community engagement (Bakas, Duxbury & Castro, 2018). It is a type of experiential tourism, involving visitors as active participants, and evolves toward transformative travel, enabling creative self-expression and personal growth within the activities it develops and promotes. Creative tourism can be perceived as a step toward ‘humanizing’ travel as it includes an ethics of care for the locale in which activities are implemented as well as for the well-being and creative potential of the traveler.

Creative tourism emerged both as a development of cultural tourism and in opposition to the emergence of ‘mass cultural tourism’ (Duxbury & Richards, 2019). Going beyond tourism as a service industry and differing from conventional commercially driven tourism approaches, contemporary creative tourism is designed and implemented by local residents to promote interactions that foster collaborative creative expression and cross-cultural exchanges rather than pure economic transactions. For the communities in which it is developed, creative tourism can act as a driver for the revitalization of cultural traditions and forms, building on the embeddedness of the creative knowledge of artisan entrepreneurs (Richards, 2011) while re-vitalizing and sharing creative skills and engaging with the local community (Landry, 2010). In rural and small-city contexts, culture-based revitalization through creative tourism can stimulate and build community cohesion and contribute to holistic and sustainable community development (Duxbury, Campbell & Keurvorst, 2011).

This chapter examines and interprets leading practices in contemporary creative tourism in the light of a humanistic approach to tourism, with a particular focus on the rural and small-city development context. It is informed by accumulated knowledge, observations, and reflections on the development of creative-tourism activities within a 44-month (2016- 2020) national research-and-application project, CREATOUR, which has been catalyzing a network of 40 creative-tourism initiatives (referred to here as ‘pilots’) located in small cities and rural areas throughout Portugal. Focusing on the values, strategies, and actions of eight pilot organizations within this project, this chapter considers the following: How do creative-tourism strategies and practices embody, operationalize, and advance a humanistic paradigm? How does a humanistic management perspective produce new ideas about creative tourism relative to more standard approaches?

This chapter begins with an overview of four key dimensions of humanistic management approaches that resonate strongly with the objectives and goals of creative tourism: (1) promoting human flourishing, (2) engaging the other in a journey of mutual discovery, (3) honoring the dignity of each stakeholder through inclusion in decision-making, and (4) contributing to the common good. It presents an overview of creative tourism and the CREATOUR project and then outlines the methodology used. The core of the chapter examines and illustrates how these four dimensions are adopted in the values, strategies, and practices of creative-tourism organizations. In closing, the chapter reflects on the implications of using a humanistic management paradigm as a new perspective on understanding creative tourism.

2. Humanistic Management

While there is “not unanimous consent on what humanistic management means” (Mele, 2016, p. 39), Dierksmeier’s (2016) definition is a useful touchstone: “an unconditional commitment to orient business at the intrinsic worth of human life, that is, a reconceptualization of business as being at the service of human dignity and the flourishing of human life” (p. 27). It puts humans central to development and the economy— the whole human, including their learning and creativity and seeking for self-actualization and meaning. The principles and values discussed within humanistic management can be adopted to examine, address, and re-configure local dynamics and interactions with regard to tourists.

2.1 Promote Human Flourishing

Human flourishing is related to the sustainable pursuit of self-actualization and fulfilment within the context of a larger community of individuals, each with the right to pursue his or her own such efforts (Little, Salmela- Aro &c Phillips, 2014). It encompasses the uniqueness, dignity, diversity, freedom, happiness, and holistic well-being of the individual within the larger family, community, and population (Rvff & Singer, 2008). This aligns well with the eudaimonic meaning of well-being, “the realization of someone’s potential” (Kabadayi, Alkire, Broad, Livne-Tarandach, Wasieleski & Marie Puente, 2019), which captures the essence of the two great ancient Greek imperatives: first, to know yourself, and second, to become what you are (Ryff, 2014).

Creativity and artistic activities have repeatedly been shown to be important to human development and flourishing, that is, ‘to becoming fully human’ (Wright & Pascoe, 2015), enhancing self-understanding, self-fulfillment, and self-actualization (Berman, 1998; Langer, 2005) as well as health and well-being (Clift & Camic, 2016). The arts also have a central role in teaching critical thinking, including the ability to acquire capacities for human empathy (Nussbaum, 2010).

Opportunities for creative inspiration and personal reflection— “specific practices that allow for aspects of ‘self’ to be expressed, reflected upon, and cared for in different ways” (Steckler & Waddock, 2018, p. 191)—are important for sustaining oneself over time. Yet “having the opportunity to exercise your creativity ... to acknowledge your life experience . . . these are things that are not necessarily a part of people’s everyday lives” (artist jil p. weaving, in Kallis, 2014, p. 241). Steckler and Waddock (2018) found that retreats provided social entrepreneurs essential space “to clear their thoughts, facilitate other ways of viewing the world and themselves, and find new sources of inspiration” (p. 192). Nearly half of the respondents in their study engaged in “various forms of inspirational retreats, which were often associated with the arts or other aesthetic (‘beauty’) appreciation” (p. 191). Links among creative self-expression, well-being, and a desire for personal transformation inform the evolution of creative tourism today (Duxbury, Kastenholz & Cunha, 2019).

2.2 Engage the Other in a Process of Mutual Discovery and Dialogue to Learn About Others and About One’s Self

Alongside well-being, the idea of being well is defined as “the empa- thetic, successful and gratifying relationship of a person with others, with nature and with the whole” (Natura, 2009). As Pirson (2018) observes, we need to

reclaim our humanity and dignity through a novel civility that . . . respects our intrinsic value as human beings and allows us to engage freely with each other based on love and compassion. ... A civility that respect[s] the fact that we are unconditionally worthy and . . . life forms that wish to flourish and thrive.

(P- Ю4)

Discussions about human dignity within humanistic management stress the importance of a meaningful collaboration that requires the parties to develop trust through dialogue (Rodrfguez-Lluesma, Davila & Elvira, 2014). In a collaborative context, the third room refers to a metaphorical shared space in which

all participants bring their experiences, ideas and skills to share, creating something that could not happen without the energy and ability of everyone present. ... the third room defines the unexpected opportunities that collectively we can discover when we join our efforts.

(Kallis, 2014, p. 59)

Creative activity can “function both as a meditative or contemplative personal time but also as a framework for building a communityconnecting third room” (Kallis, 2014, p. 113). The agency of creative action for personal growth tends to foster an openness to connecting with others. As community-engaged artists know, “when people’s hands are busy their minds and mouths will open” (Kallis, 2014, p. 80, citing artist Marina Szijarto). Artist jil p. weaving has experienced this in many collaborative community-based projects and observes:

When you will feel like you are fully participating in your own life, exploring your creativity and sharing your life experiences, that is when we are most human and that is when we connect with each other. So providing the opportunity for people to be their best selves can create a world where people want to connect with each other.

(cited in Kallis, 2014, p. 241)

In the travel context, such connecting is centered on cross-cultural exchange and co-learning. Providing a creative platform or third room to foster these connections can move simple exchanges toward processes of co-creation and collaborative meaning-making in which participants engage in a mutual discovery journey.

2.3 Honor the Dignity of Each Stakeholder by Involving Them as Much as Possible in Decisions That Impact Their Lives

Humanistic businesses aim to make products that address genuine human needs and do it in ways that respect the concerns of all stakeholders. Beyond this, humanistic management aims to involve all stakeholders in decision-making as much as possible in order to honor the people who are affected by any changes that decisions and courses of action (e.g. tourism development) may have on their lives (Dierks- meier, 2016). For example, creative tourism mediator-entrepreneurs who link artisans to tourism in Portuguese small cities and rural area contexts embody a deep sense of responsibility toward the artisans they work with, which is embedded in their conceptualization of entrepreneurship and their practices of involving local artisans and a broader network of community actors in planning the activities (Bakas, Duxbury & Castro, 2018). These micro-practices align with the humanistic notion of society as a group of free people ruled by justice and benevolence, living together, acting with reciprocity and cooperation, without losing their personality, thus maintaining their cultural and individual distinctiveness (Mele, 2016).

2.4 Share the Common Goods of Society and Contribute to the Common Good in Some Way

The field of social entrepreneurship holds the promise to identify humanistic business models that are driven by the principle of contributing to the common good: “Social change agents, or social entrepreneurs, are passionate leaders who generate and drive ideas and who aspire to make a positive and impactful difference” (Steckler & Waddock, 2018, p. 172). Social entrepreneurs prioritize human and societal well-being and the advancement of humane and life-conducive organizing. They are mindful of accomplishing social and economic objectives in a balanced way (Chinchilla & Garcia, 2017), and to contribute to the wider society and place in which they are embedded.

One of the socio-cultural contributions that artists and creative- tourism entrepreneurs make is the recovery and relearning of almost-lost skills, “un-venting ancestral knowledge and technologies we are otherwise at risk of losing” (Kallis, 2014, p. 21, emphasis added). Many creative-tourism initiatives in rural areas are focused on the revitalization of traditional craft skills and aesthetics of place (Duxbury, Silva & Castro, 2019). Contributing to the common good of a community can also involve passing on cultural knowledge and artistic skills. For example, rural tourism handicraft entrepreneurs in rural Greece offer, for free, services to rural communities that are otherwise missing, such as felting lessons to children (Bakas, 2014).

3. Creative Tourism and the CREATOUR Project

Creative tourism provides a nurturing milieu for linking cultural and creative practices with a humanistic approach to tourism. In rural and small-city contexts, it promises to innovate alternative tourism pathways, small scale by nature but incrementally inspirational and rhi- zomic in its potential. Creative tourism creates a closer, egalitarian relationship between tourists and residents, which derives from the immersion of both in local culture through active participation in creative learning experiences. It privileges humane and respectful interactions and seeks to foster new dynamics among hosts, local residents, and visitors. The design and development of creative-tourism offerings within this framework places great attention on local meaningfulness and culture- and place-based inspiration. It explicitly engages with important issues of cultural vitality, sustainability, and exchange through creative practices that are enrooted in specificities of place, culture, and ways of life.

The demand for creative tourism is driven by travelers seeking more active and participative cultural experiences in which they can use and develop their own creativity. There is an increasing realization that acquiring material objects or ‘random’ experiences is a form of empty consumerism and that happiness is better pursued though transformative experiences that focus on mindful self-development (Wolf, Ainsworth & Crowley, 2017). This phenomenon is giving rise to transformational tourists who are, in effect, looking for existential authenticity, a special state of being in which one is true to oneself. Ross (2010) defines transformative travel as “sustainable travel embarked upon by the traveler for the primary and intentional purpose of creating conditions conducive for one or more fundamental structures of the self to transform” (p. 55). Self-expression through creative activities is seen as a way of articulating one’s authentic self and getting closer to this transformation (UNWTO, 2016). The tourist in this context is an active, meaning-seeking, creative traveler—a fully thinking and striving human, not just an economic agent/customer. The hosts and residents of the visited community are similarly ‘real people’ with diverse personalities, life narratives, knowledges, skills, opinions, challenges, and aspirations.

CREATOUR is a 44-month (2016-2020) interdisciplinary research- and-application project that is developing a network of creative-tourism initiatives for the first time in Portugal.1 It involves five research centers working with 40 participant organizations (pilots) offering creative- tourism initiatives in small cities and rural areas across Portugal in the Norte, Centro, Alentejo, and Algarve regions (Figure 7.1). The CREATOUR project’s design, strategy, and implementation axes focus on human interaction, exchange, dialogue, and creation as platforms for learning and actualization. CREATOUR provides its participants with

Types of CREATOUR pilot organizations (Portugal) Source

Figure 7.1 Types of CREATOUR pilot organizations (Portugal) Source: Authors’ own elaboration

opportunities to build and share knowledge, network with others, design and improve creative-tourism offers, and create strategies to enhance community benefit. Within a research-and-application context, the pilots strive to develop sustainable creative-tourism initiatives and enhance the socio-cultural and economic dimensions of their local communities.

Within the CREATOUR project, creative-tourism activities based on local traditions, artistic expression, and place began appearing in the four Portuguese regions from June 2017. These creative-tourism activities include:

  • • Craft workshops—textile, pottery, ceramics, leather, metal, wood, etc.
  • • Fine arts workshops—painting, sculpture, drawing, and illustration
  • • Photography, video, and digital arts workshops
  • • Performing arts workshops and community-engaged, participatory artistic residencies
  • • Storytelling sessions and workshops
  • • Gastronomy-focused workshops
  • • Creative and interpretative ‘Walks & Visits’ involving creation activities
  • • Ancestral traditions workshops and active-participation activities
  • • Raw materials production and work cycles—of salt, linen, wool, clay, marble, wicker, etc.

Each project was imagined, designed, and implemented locally, with a diversity of approaches, cultural traditions, and place specificities embedded within each initiative.

4. Methodology

Qualitative knowledge co-created with eight CREATOUR creative- tourism managers is used in this chapter to analyze the ways in which creative-tourism managers’ strategic approaches to creative tourism can be viewed as adhering to a humanistic paradigm. Within the project, 24 semi-structured interviews were held with creative-tourism managers at annual on-site visits during 2017, 2018, and 2019. Participant observations, informal conversations with creative tourists, and lived memories from on-site visits as well as a number of discussions and informal conversations with creative-tourism managers, enabled through their participation in a series of IdeaLabs within the project, also inform this chapter. These interactive, two-day focus group/workshop/mentoring sessions involved creative-tourism managers and researchers, and occurred three times annually. The two researcher-authors of this chapter conducted a reflexive process (Cheek, Lipschitz, Abrams, Vago & Nakamura, 2015) on their ethnographic experience immersed within this three-year research-and-application project to select and analyze data for this chapter. This reflexive process informed the choice of subject and discussion of data in an overarching way.

The main characteristics of the eight CREATOUR creative-tourism pilot organizations selected for analysis are presented in Table 7.1 to provide some background information about these entities. The ways in which the views and strategic decisions of creative-tourism managers can be perceived as humanistic are thematically analyzed using the humanistic framework described in the introduction, interweaving their statements over a three-year period with related literature.

5. Findings and Analysis

Using the four dimensions of humanistic management presented earlier as a framework, and focusing on eight CREATOUR pilot organizations, this section examines how their creative-tourism strategies and practices embody, operationalize, and advance a humanistic paradigm. Insights from the managers of these organizations are discussed, with a summary of key points in this chapter presented in Table 7.2.



Location and region






near Lousa (Centro)

Luxury rural rental accommodations and artistic studio spaces in a deserted mountain village, managed by a German sculptor who helped restore the village over the past 30 years. Artistic residencies and artisan workshops for tourists on a variety' of arts, including woodcarving and pottery, are provided in cooperation with the tourism development agency of the Schist Village Network, ADXTUR.

Encontrarte A mares

A mares (Norte)

This small-scale, five-day, biennial arts festival aims to connect contemporary arts with local tradition through promoting artistic experimentation. The festival also promotes the regions’ immaterial heritage, highlighting local gastronomy, customs, images, sounds, stories, and know-how.

An annual, weeklong art festival held at a farm owned by a Dutch couple in the mountainous interior. About 80 participants engage in workshops such as theater, stand-up comedy, singing, dancing, and wood sculpture. On one evening, participants travel to the closest village to eat and dance with local residents, and festival artists perform for them.


near Guarda (Centro)

L Burro i L Gueiteiro

Miranda do Douro (Notre)

An annual itinerant festival that travels between three villages. This alternative traditional festival serves as a way of preserving the breed of traditional donkeys of Miranda as well as local culture. Workshops offered during the festival focus on traditional music and dances of the region and on playing traditional instruments, in particular, the bagpipe.

As a tour operator, Proactivetur offers half-day or full-day workshops on ancestral craft techniques such as cane basket weaving, palm weaving, and making traditional floor tiles. It is also a project manager of the TASA project (Ancestral Techniques Current Solutions) which aims to bring strategic innovation to the craft industry by encouraging ancestral craft techniques to be used in modern product design.








Quico Turismo is primarily a room-rental business that hosts visitors, expanding to also offer photography expeditions with a cultural-historic focus and workshops sewing keyrings in the shape of carapau (horse-mackerel) fish, which are traditionally associated with Nazare. These activities form the initial steps in the development of Nazare Criativo.



Ribeira da Pena (Norte)

A tourism and culture development consultancy, VERde NOVO offers creative-tourism workshops and guided tours on the cycle of linen—from sowing to weaving—in line with the traditional practices of this village.

VIC Aveiro Arts House



VIC combines a local-themed tourist accommodation space, an artistic residence and со-work space, a cultural space with a small auditorium, and a gallery where cultural events and training events take place. Creative-tourism activities have included workshops in video production and editing, construction of sonorous sculptures and of ‘noise puppets’, and silk-screening.




Expression of humanistic management in action

Related creative-tourism strategies and actions

Promote human flourishing

Promote well-being

Design activities that aim to boost tourists’ well-being through mindful and transformative experiences.

Facilitate visitor-local interactions to increase locals’ well-being in a manner that is not hyper-commercialized.

Foster self-awareness toward self-actualization

Provide opportunities for creative self-expression.

Encourage and enable greater self-knowledge for tourists and local residents.

Foster social connectedness

Design activities to provide opportunities for creating good feelings and connectedness, which contributes to building social capital, especially in the context of small art festivals.

Engage the other in a process of mutual discovery and dialogue

Intergenerational mixing and exchange

Mix all ages of people during creative-tourism workshops, creating space for meaningful exchange and dialogue while making, co-learning, and helping one another respectfully.

Think in new ways through cross-cultural dialogue

Encourage visiting artists involved in creative-tourism workshops to be influenced by local residents, tourists, and other artists they meet while on location.

Involve stakeholders in decisions that impact their lives

Expand and directly engage the range of stakeholders considered

Imagine and invent approaches to diversely involve a wide range of locals and tourists, including elderly people and children, who are often forgotten within tourism.

Active participation of artisans in planning tourism product

Involve local artisans in planning creative-tourism products from the beginning.

Protection of dignity of human life

Consult and involve elderly residents as stakeholders in ways that promote and protect their dignity.

Contribute to the common good

Add value to the society at large

Intentionally foster imaginative new ways to connect place and communities and revitalize rural traditions and intangible culture.

Act with reciprocity

Give back to the community where the creative-tourism activities take place through free workshops, cultural shows, and other complementary activities.

Managers deal with social responsibility and profitability at the same time

Consciously adopt social economy principles, particularly in terms of rationales to operate ‘for the good’ of the local community.

Continuously aim to balance social responsibility and profitability.

5.1 Promoting Human Flourishing

Promoting human flourishing is a humanistic management goal that can be achieved by increasing well-being, fostering self-awareness, and increasing social connectedness. Increasing well-being features prominently in creative-tourism managers’ aspired outcomes from their work. The manager of Cerdeira Village believes that the process of making things generates well-being and provides “powerful satisfaction” for those making (interview, 13/03/2018). According to Aristotle, we become via doing, meaning that the very act of creating something brings us closer to positive development of self. An increase in well-being also occurs when individuals are involved in collective creative activities. In the case of a documentary-making project developed within the Encontrarte Amares festival, participating residents’ well-being was visible: “It’s fantastic to see the video in which the old men in the city are singing and dancing. This is extraordinary” (interview, manager of Encontrarte Amares, 01/08/2017). Fostering good feelings is a very humanistic goal to achieve.

Creative-tourism managers speak about how fostering self-awareness in local residents is important to them. Creative tourism can contribute to building and highlighting the value of people and their work; as a manager of VERde NOVO says, “Creative tourism helps value people, products, and territory” (interview, 15/03/2019). Creative tourism presents one’s home-place to travelers in a meaningful manner, respectful of the existing traditions, while new artistic performances/interventions can inform how a landscape is encountered and represented and can create a renewed sense of belonging. A narrative of self can emerge through an emotional interaction with the landscape (Miller, 2017). Part of the Estival organizer’s philosophy is that creative activities encourage people to see things from a new perspective and create a space for local residents to acknowledge and reflect upon their life experience.

Fostering social connectedness is another humanistic management element that creative-tourism managers strive to foster within their activities. As a manager of VERde NOVO says, “Creative tourism is also about people cooperating and interacting and people growing as citizens” (interview, 15/03/2019). VIC Aveiro Arts House focuses on interconnecting the creative people living in its small city. When VIC’s manager spoke to creative people in Aveiro, he found that “people engaged in creative activities felt isolated” and wanted to help them. He made it one of his key objectives to connect these local creators and encourage them to interrelate: “Our main objective was to get these people together, to be together and to start naturally talking and see what comes out of this” (interview, 17/04/2019). VIC organizes international artistic residencies and creative workshops that provide platforms for connecting and interacting around shared interests and ideas. Similarly, the manager of Quico Turismo encourages the artisans in her micro-network to interact with one another by inviting them to each other’s workshops; she feels that this interaction and bonding will “help create a community of creative people” (interview, 13/03/2018).

Small-scale festivals put a significant emphasis on developing a milieu that encourages social connectedness among visitor-participants and local residents. An important component of the L Burro i L Gueiteiro festival is its social connectedness and friendly atmosphere. As the festival organizer says, “Participants even offer their help voluntarily to complete the daily tasks of the festival and it is this interaction, in fact, that later translates into a very friendly and ‘familiar’ ambiance” (site-visit interview, 2018). Within Encontrarte Amares, social connectedness is generated through participants, organizers, artists, and foreign tourists all working together. As the manager says, “people were there and did not even realize who was the organization, the tourist and the participant. That is, everyone did everything and collaborated. They had a participatory and collaborative spirit” (interview, 01/08/2017). The creation of environments to foster these collaborative practices is a strategic position of the managers (Bakas, Duxbury, Remoaldo & Matos, 2019) and adheres closely to the humanistic notion of society as a group of free people ruled by justice and benevolence, living together, acting with reciprocity and cooperation (Mele, 2016).

5.2 Engage the Other in a Process of Mutual Discovery and

Dialogue to Learn About Others and About One’s Self

Humanistic management stresses the importance of meaningful collaboration that requires the parties to develop trust through dialogue. Engaging in creative-tourism activities provides a safe and friendly space for this to occur. In the act of collective doing, dialogue can easily be stimulated. Creative-tourism activities effectively create a ‘third room’ where all participants bring their ideas to the table and share them, “creating something that could not happen without the energy and ability of everyone present” (Kallis, 2014, p. 59).

Creative-tourism workshops seem particularly good at catalyzing a mixing of people from various age groups and thus can promote intergen- erational mixing and exchange in ways that foster dialogue and mutual discovery to learn about oneself and others. As the Estival organizer says, “Young and old people mix really well in the workshops. . . . They are helping each other in the workshops. This is very interesting as they try to create a community there. Everyone is valued and respecting” (interview, 09/08/2018). Similarly, the organizers of the L Burro i L Gueiteiro festival stress the significance of interaction among various age groups:

The interaction amongst the participants is something that distinguishes this festival from others because it is a very friendly festival.

It is friendly because we are able to involve both kids and adults in our activities, that is, we work with age groups from the baby of months to people of 70, 80, 90 years.

(interview, 29/07/2018)

Encounters with ‘others’, which may be a person of a different age group, constitute a reminder to engage the other in a process of mutual discovery and respectful dialogue.

Creative tourism also promotes cross-cultural dialogues that can stimulate new ways of thinking in both local residents and visiting artists and tourists. The manager of VIC Aveiro Arts House has observed that visiting artists who present a workshop are influenced by this interactive work while, at the same time, the discussions they hold and the work they conduct in Aveiro can affect the way the place is (re)conceived by locals. Speaking about a visiting writer, he says:

The artist affects the city, the city affects the artist, the creation. The artists bring something that is in his head but it will change depending on his experience in the place, the dynamic of the city and the experience he lives there. He wrote two texts about Aveiro that were very insightful.

(interview, 17/04/2019)

For local residents participating in creative-tourism events, contact with artists and other participants from other countries—or just other parts of the country or walks of life—can stimulate new ways of thinking. Within Encontrarte Amares, the manager observes this happening: “There is information that is being given, new ways of thinking, new ways of acting, they [local participants] begin to problematize their day- to-day and to think with new ways of dialoguing and thinking about their reality” (interview, 01/08/2017). Thinking differently also results from local communities’ contact with visitors in creative-tourism workshops and related events during the L Burro i L Gueiteiro festival. The organizers believe these activities are creating additional cultural experiences and meanings for the villages where the festival takes place, providing opportunities for local communities to develop a sense of shared experiences, values, and belonging, and helping to counter exclusion in these rural and remote areas.

5.3 Protect the Dignity of Each Stakeholder by Involving Them as Much as Possible in Decisions That Impact Their Lives

Creative-tourism entrepreneurs within the CREATOUR project place great importance on engaging a variety of stakeholders, especially the local community, often involving them in planning processes as well as final activities. At Encontrarte Amares, the community is involved throughout the festival program, with an accent on fostering “community empowerment” and active participation of local residents throughout the program. The event’s design explicitly promotes meaningful connections between the local community and the artists performing in the festival; as the festival manager says, “We have always had a dialogue, in all projects, between the local community and the artists” (interview, 01/08/2017).

Directly involving the local community within events that take place in festivals provides a platform of a higher value than to be involved only as ‘helpers’ or the people that festival-goers interact with on a commercial basis. Along these lines, Encontrarte Amares promotes the dignity of all stakeholders by directly involving cafeteria workers in a performance at the festival. The festival manager describes this process:

Ekatrin is a Russian artist, who works with art and community. We set a challenge for her to work and follow the whole process of the cafeteria. This was a participation and a co-creation exercise, where the ladies shared their daily life . . . they also created a performance on the last day of the festival. . . about who they are and what they do.

(interview, 01/08/2017)

In the upcoming festival, the plan is to involve the cafeteria ladies in a ballet. All people are creative, but they need a fostering milieu to discover and practice their creativity. These creative interactions allow the cafeteria workers to accomplish this while fostering self-esteem and non-hierarchical societal relationships, thus achieving a greater degree of humanism in the festival.

The manager of Cerdeira Village also speaks of the importance of a relationship to the local community, a resource that embodies and expresses culture: “Community is culture” (interview, 13/03/2018). Many of the creative-tourism activities being developed within CREATOUR tap into this wellspring of local cultural traditions, skills, and aesthetics of place. Consequently, local artisans are stakeholders involved in the planning of creative-tourism workshops, which often include elderly members of the community who possess traditional knowledges and skills. The manager of Proactivetur says: “The artisans are a fundamental part of the local culture and authenticity we want to bring in the programs. When we know them and what they do, we can discuss how to share some of that knowledge in a creative experience” (interview, 15/03/2018). The manager of Quico Turismo takes a collaborative approach to planning creative-tourism workshops: she presents an idea to the artisans and then they discuss it, making alterations and suggestions of how to materialize the idea. For example, they did a test run of the carapau sewing workshop to see what they would need for the activity—this was a joint idea of Celia and elder artisan Fatima (interview, 13/03/2018). VERde NOVO usually takes the initiative to define the creative-tourism product concept and sketch out how the activity should run and then presents it to the artisans, asking them for feedback, whether they want to participate in the activity, and how they would like to do it.

Creative-tourism managers also try to include children in their activities. For example, the proprietor of Quico Turismo has created a book for children on the local history of Nazare, and the proprietor of Cerdeira Village has planned artisan workshops and an art exhibit for local fourth-grade students to coincide with International Children’s Day. As the proprietor of Cerdeira Village says, “Children are part of the culture that is forgotten” (interview, 05/02/2018). Artisans in rural areas often provide early training grounds for local young people in the absence of the kinds of infrastructure available in the city (Luckman, 2012; Bakas,

  • 2014). Involving the often-neglected stakeholders of tourism (Bakas, 2018) in planning their activities, creative-tourism managers attempt to protect the dignity of all stakeholders and give them a voice—a humanistic approach to tourism management.
  • 5.4 Share the Common Goods of Society and Contribute to the Common Good in Some Way

Many creative-tourism managers adhere to the core belief that the local society should benefit from their economic activity in some way. The design of the CREATOUR project also embodies this ambition. Many creative- tourism managers within the CREATOUR project enact principles of social entrepreneurship by prioritizing human and societal well-being and contribute to the wider society and place in which they are embedded (Chinchilla &c Garcia, 2017). For example, the VERde NOVO managers stress how their main goal is “to build value, not just financial value—activities should also build cultural and social value” (interview, 15/03/2019).

Acting with reciprocity by giving back to the community is integral to many of the creative-tourism initiatives. For example, as part of her creative-tourism entrepreneurial actions, the proprietor of Quico Turismo made a documentary with the municipality on the fishermen in Nazare because she is “interested in promoting the culture of the area and helping the local community” (interview, 13/03/2018). Bringing cultural activities into a community is the flipside of this coin. For example, the L Burro i L Gueiteiro festival benefits local communities by offering a type of entertainment that is lacking in the area. The festival manager says “the feedback from the village communities is extremely positive because these communities are quite devoid of this type of cultural event”. By developing new cultural opportunities and socio-cultural experiences, such creative-tourism initiatives are contributing to community wellbeing and enhancing cultural vibrancy.

The managers of VERde NOVO hold a deep sense of responsibility toward the artisans they work with in terms of helping them sell their items and improving their economic situation—this is something that is embedded within their conceptualization of entrepreneurship. As they say, “It’s not in our DNA to just do tourism animation and leave! We want to be part of the community and get public institutions to work with us. We want to run a community entrepreneurship program” (interview, 12/03/2018). The manager of VIC Aveiro Arts House stresses how important it is that the artists get a fair wage for their efforts and sometimes dips into his own profits to pay artists if the creative-tourism workshop has not generated enough funds, illustrating a very humanistic concern for the well-being of others. As he says:

If the people are not enough for the workshop, and if the person who is holding the workshop is not getting enough from the inscriptions, we put in a bit more money so they can have a fair pay for what they did.

(interview, 17/04/2019)

In these ways, many creative-tourism managers are mindful of accomplishing social and economic objectives in a balanced way. Managers of creative-tourism workshops often mention how they deal with social responsibility and profitability at the same time. Their conceptualization of their creative-tourism activity often goes beyond purely profitmaking terms, and they include social responsibility in their discourse. For example, the manager of VIC Aveiro Arts House is creating a series of creative-tourism workshops that could be a meeting point for locals, the local temporary population (e.g. students and researchers), and tourists to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experiences. While conscious of the need to keep the overall enterprise operational, he is more concerned about creating deep relationships among the local population: “The ideal would be to transcend commercial dynamics—the relationships that you develop within a non-economic context are much deeper and more interesting” (interview, 17/04/2019). Looking forward, he plans to create cultural management and curatorship workshops, not only to draw people from other parts of the country, and thus make a profit, but also to involve locals and empower them to lead events programming in the community (interview, 17/04/2019).

6. Closing Reflections

The niche area of creative tourism is becoming increasingly significant, especially in extra-metropolitan areas, for fostering significant ‘soft’ impacts such as increased community engagement and cultural sustainability (Duxbury & Richards, 2019). Creative tourism creates platforms for meeting, exchange, co-creation, and learning—bringing together traveling humans and locally-resident humans to share skills, stories, and creative processes for mutual enrichment and benefit. Creative tourism is a type of tourism that can meaningfully contribute to strategies for “full- spectrum flourishing” (Laszlo, 2019, p. 1), defined as a world in which people and all life thrive now and across future generations, which can be strengthened by humanistic approaches.

Currently, the creative-tourism field is characterized by a wide array of smaller-scale activities and initiatives designed and offered by small entrepreneurial enterprises, non-profit cultural and local development associations, local and regional government agencies, and individual artists and creators. This rich diversity of organizations and activities is a wellspring for considering, implementing, and evolving new approaches in tourism, including the development of strategies and practices that are inspired by and follow principles of humanistic management and look much further than the economic bottom line of their operations. Practitioners, however, are often separated and pursuing initiatives in parallel, and linking these efforts together to inform both research and practice forms an essential step in identifying commonalities, variations, and possible trajectories forward.

Focusing on eight creative-tourism pilot organizations within the CRE- ATOUR project, this chapter examined their creative-tourism management strategies and practices from a humanistic perspective. Four key dimensions of humanistic management were analyzed: (1) promoting human flourishing, (2) engaging the other in a journey of mutual discovery, (3) honoring the dignity of each stakeholder through inclusion in decision-making, and (4) contributing to the common good. We used these dimensions as a framework to examine and illustrate how they are adopted in practice in creative tourism, with a particular focus on the rural and small-city context. A humanistic lens provided an insightful light that illuminated and interlinked strategic features and intentions we have observed in practice.

While principles of humanistic management can be found in multiple fields, we believe the compilation of approaches found in the eight organizations examined here collectively articulate a humanistic approach within creative tourism. The management strategies of the creative-tourism entrepreneurs presented in this chapter blend social entrepreneurship values and approaches with concern for the cultural vitality and sustainability of their local community and the well-being of both local and visitor participants in their activities. The activities they design intentionally provide opportunities for learning, exchange, and creative self-expression. The creative processes at the heart of these activities form the basis for participants to gain greater self-knowledge, boost well-being, and foster mindful and potentially transformative experiences.

Strategies to encourage mixing, interaction, and thoughtful engagement are tightly linked with the design of these creative activities. The entrepreneurs aim to facilitate meaningful visitor-local interactions through designing activities that provide opportunities for creating good feelings, connectedness, and building social capital. The mixing of diverse participants of different ages during creative-tourism workshops creates a space for meaningful exchange and dialogue that occurs while making and helping one another, and encourages openness to mutual co-learning and co-influence.

The initiatives developed are integrally immersed in the local context, culturally and socially. Local artisans are usually involved in planning creative-tourism products from the beginning. Elderly residents are consulted and involved as stakeholders in ways that promote and protect their dignity. Approaches are invented to diversely involve a wide range of locals and tourists, including elderly people and children, who are often forgotten within tourism.

These entrepreneurs follow social economy principles, particularly in terms of rationales to operate ‘for the good’ of the local community and to continuously aim to balance social responsibility and profitability. As culture-based initiatives, creative tourism also provides an avenue to ‘give back’ to the local cultural ‘richness’ that inspires and informs these activities. In the short term, they give back to the communities where the creative-tourism activities take place through free workshops, cultural shows, and other complementary activities. In the medium and longer term, they intentionally foster imaginative new ways to connect place and communities and revitalize rural traditions and intangible culture.

This chapter provided a new lens to advance thinking about creative tourism, which is usually presented and contextualized as a meeting place at the intersection of ‘creativity’ and ‘tourism’ (Richards, 2011). Little attention has been paid to the operational strategies involved in developing and implementing creative-tourism activities, or to the broader intentions of creative-tourism entrepreneurs in pursuing this work. This chapter highlighted how creative-tourism practices can embody a humanistic paradigm. A humanistic perspective on creative tourism helped reveal and articulate the underlying values, implementation strategies, and greater purposes to which creative tourism can contribute. We modestly hope that this chapter contributes to demonstrating how creative tourism can be a platform for advancing social entrepreneurship and humanistic practices in tourism.

Creative tourism can contribute to human-centered development. As creative tourism evolves to become ever more aligned with individual and collective desires to undertake travel that is personally transformative and socially minded, creative experiences can be strategically designed as either retreat spaces—to take time out to refresh or to find inspiration, greater self-awareness, and potential transformation—or as platforms for furthering collective action within a humanistic context. The power of culture and the arts to inspire, inform, and act as platforms for renewed values, competencies, and behaviors for more holistically sustainable living is increasingly recognized in research (Dessein, Soini, Fairclough & Horlings, 2015; Kagan, 2011), policy (Duxbury, Hosagrahar & Pascual, 2016), and practice (Riccardi & Ferreira, 2019). In this context, possible alliances among active creative activity and expression, tourism and travel, and advancing the principles and practices of humanistic management deserve further research and experimentation in practice.


This chapter was developed within the framework of the research project ‘CREATOUR: Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas’ (Project 016437), which is supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT/MEC) through national funds and со-funded by FEDER through the Joint Activities Programme of COMPETE 2020 and the Regional Operational Programmes of Lisbon and Algarve. The authors thank the interviewed participants for their precious time and valuable insights and the CREATOUR team at Lab2PT for conducting background interviews with the managers of the L Burro i L Gueiteiro and Encontrarte Amares festivals.


1. For more information about the CREATOUR project, see


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