Hidden treasures

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Contact: 

Stephen Platt
stephen.platt@carltd.com
tel: 01223 460475

CAR directors have been working with tourism managers in three cities – Amsterdam, Genoa and Leipzig – to highlight their ‘hidden treasure’ stories and to help develop the city’s tourism and creative industries. We also worked closely with the three city partners to develop a platform of new e-services tailored to their specific needs.

The study, funded by the EU, examined how Information and Communications Technologies can be used to give meaning and identity to places by documenting cultural heritage and involving visitors and residents in recording their personal history and memories.

We researched what residents and visitors understand by cultural heritage, how cultural heritage can provide a lead in guiding a sustainable growth agenda and how to exploit information technology (ICT) to conserve aspects of cultural heritage that are crucial to quality of life and well-being.

The process was city-driven, focusing on tourism managers’ own specifications of their particular needs. Workshops with stakeholders enabled the cities to develop deeper perspectives of their cultural heritage resources. Although all three cities started from different points and had different priorities, all of them highlighted the ‘hidden treasure’ stories of their city. They presented their cities as places of complexity, contradictions and ambiguities. Whilst a city’s key attractions are typically tangible, its unique attributes, the things that give it its special identity, are often intangible.

In Genoa the image the city wants to project has changed from that of an industrial port to a new, young and lively touristic attraction rich in both tangible and intangible attractions and points of interest.

Leipzig is characterised by its built heritage from the Gründerzeit, a period in German history from 1870 to 1914 that developed a highly distinctive architectural style. The challenge was to identify the selling points for this heritage and encourage visitors to leave the beaten track into the old quarters of the city by using interactive maps and offering personalised self-guided thematic tours.

Amsterdam’s marketing policy seeks to promote the city as a place of canals, architecture, creativity and innovation. Research identified the need to identify and champion these attributes better through the iamsterdam website.

All three cities have similar strategic objectives: to change the image of the city, to increase cultural tourism and extend visitor footfall, and to promote cultural heritage as a way of fostering creative industry.

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