Within the “Cultural Tourism” Section the Tourism Sector Driver Growth

At the VIII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum, the experts from the “Cultural Tourism” section will discuss the industry development prospects in the context of globalization and will offer new, non-standard options for the tourism products formation based on the cultural objects integration and application of the modern methods of cultural impact on the tourists.

The main theme of the Forum this year is “Cultural Codes in the Context of Globalization”. In the modern world, globalization plays a decisive role in development of the most segments of the economy. The tourist destination in this case is no exception. The positive aspects of globalization, including relaxation of the visa regime, unification of the approaches to development of transport and hotel infrastructures, as well as the user interfaces of travel services have the hidden pitfalls at the same time. Why shall you go somewhere to see a typical country from the window of a typical hotel or train? And now the “organizational" motivator ceases to play a decisive role: yes, we can easily come, but we don’t understand why this is necessary.

Maya Lomidze, the head of the ‘Cultural Tourism” section, executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, sees the solution to this problem in the deeper immersion in the history and culture of the territories and highlighting the key factors of attraction. The very cultural codes that define the differences between the countries and the regions. The uniqueness of such archetypes also serves as the main stimulating factor for any tourist who is going on a trip. To see something that you will not see anywhere else. The cultural code factor is relevant not only for the international tourism, but also for the domestic, especially for a country like Russia, a large, multinational country that has absorbed the culture of various ethnic groups, but at the same time striving to preserve the identity of each individual region.

The Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum, together with the Committee on Tourism Development of Saint Petersburg, in the framework of the conference “Involvement of cultural and natural heritage objects in the world tourist routes”, brings together at one venue the representatives of government and business, experts in the field of cultural and natural heritage protection from different countries to discuss the mechanisms for including unique natural and cultural objects in the system of the world tourist routes, as well as the opportunities that such integration opens and the ways to maintain the authenticity of such points of attraction in the conditions of their accessibility increase. Among the speakers of the event are Ekaterina Shadskaya, Director of the North-West Regional Branch of the Russian Union of Tourist Industry (Russia); Mikhail Ushakov, Director of the Partnership of Tourist Information Centers (Russia), Kharmik Singh, Deputy Head of UAE Tourism Association (UAE); Andrey Yermak, Minister of Tourism of the Kaliningrad Region (Russia); Denis Maximov, Acting Head of the Department of Tourism of the Republic of Karelia (Russia) and Evgeny Pankevich, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of Saint Petersburg (Russia).

The plenary session “The role of culture in the tourism development” is intended to reveal the key theme of the Forum “Cultural Codes in the Conditions of Globalization” from the perspective of the tourism industry. The relevance of the topic is mostly dictated by the long-awaited approval of the Strategy for the Tourism Development in Russia until 2035. To successfully solve the long-term tasks, a detailed understanding of all the aspects that form the tourism cluster is necessary. One of these aspects is also the culture. At the plenary meeting, the experts, in particular, will address the issues of the tourist routes attractiveness increase by integrating cultural events into them, the role of cultural codes in the promotion strategy of the country and the region, developing of the international and inter-institutional interaction for the thematic cultural tourist destinations formation.

“In the country with a centuries-old culture, there are always many cultural codes. The cultural codes excite the traveler’s imagination. The correct allocation of the cultural codes in relation to the most promising categories of tourists can significantly increase their flows in the selected direction. Names of the writers, artists, musicians in France and other European countries are often the conductors of the cultural code. A recent example of the vibrant transnational cultural code was the name of Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev, whose 200th anniversary was celebrated in 2018 not only in Russia but also in many countries of Europe. Turgenev for the French turned out to be a real ambassador of the Russian culture, helped to express sympathy and arouse interest in Russia among people who are not traditional Russophiles,” says Anna Filimonova, President of the French non-profit association Cultural Crossroads.

The meeting will be attended by Zarina Doguzova, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Russia); Maya Lomidze, Executive Director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (Russia); Elena Mayorshina, Director of Cruise Programs, Vodokhod Company (Russia); Sergey Lozinsky, Head of the expert council of Strategy Partners Group (Russia); Anna Filimonova, President of the French non-profit association Cultural Crossroads (France) and others.

The leading experts of the Russian military-historical society participating in the panel discussion “Spiritual Fortresses of Russia” will gather at the Forum to pay attention to such an important phenomenon as the Orthodox convent. The spiritual outposts of the Russian culture — the monasteries — at all times served as the foundation of national consciousness, and in modern Russia they continue to play an important role in self-determination of the people and the state. Spiritual asceticism takes on special significance in the difficult years: more than once in history the monasteries have become, in the literal sense, the fortresses, which stood up against the enemy and inspired people to heroism. In peaceful times, the spiritual dwellings serve as points of attraction, historically — for the pilgrims seeking answers and appeasement, and now also for the tourists interested in history and culture. What are they, the spiritual fortresses of modern Russia? What do they give people and how do they “write” modern cultural code? Participants in the discussion are: Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Russian Military-Historical Society (Russia); Metropolitan of Pskov and Porkhov Tikhon (Shevkunov), Chairman of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, (Russia).

Attention to the accredited media representatives: the event requires additional registration at media@culturalforum.ru (marked “Accreditation the Spiritual Fortress of Russia”) and a copy of the letter sent to eea@rvio.org.

The reason for going on a trip is often the long-awaited significant events: for some, these are sporting events (for example, the 2018 World Cup), for others, cultural events (the 2019 Theater Olympics in Russia and Japan). The year of 2019 in Russia is the Year of the Theatre, and this is a significant occasion to determine the role of performing art in the tourist offers formation. It should not go without mention that in the recent years, in addition to the classical forms of theatrical and musical genre, the new, non-traditional projects are actively developing in our country, the theater is becoming part of the urban environment, and the horizons of venues are expanding. World practice examples demonstrate how the theatre festivals become key factors in the economic development of the regions, attracting tourist flow and stimulating the urban tourism infrastructure growth.

“Any theatre festival is primarily a festive event, which includes both the performances themselves, selected by the professional critics, as well as related meetings, discussions, master classes. In my opinion, a bright, authentic theatre festival can be the event that year after year will attract the “theatre” tourists. The same applies to other events in the field of performing arts,” considers Mikhail Umanets, author and director of the Bibliotechnik (Musical and Poetic Project). 

During the panel discussion “Theatre Festivals and Performances as Part of a Modern Tourism Product”, both the honored directors, stage managers, producers, and their young colleagues will share their experience and suggestions. Among the speakers of the event there are Irina Ustinova, Director of the Karelian State Philharmonic Society (Russia), Mikhail Umanets actor and director (Russia), as well as a number of the foreign experts.

The participants of the round table “Tourist Information Centers as a Driver of Cultural Routes and a Guide to the Culture of the Regions” will discuss the issues of the cultural events integration into the tourist routes, analyze the existing needs of the tourists and the role of the tourist information centers during the significant cultural events conduct, and also exchange the experiences of domestic and international interaction of such centers.

Promoting the national cultures characteristics through a variety of channels — museums, exhibition centers, newsworthy events and thematic excursion programs — is only part of the work of the tourist information centers aimed at the cultural and event tourism development and the tourist flow increase.

Specialists of the Russian and foreign tourist information centers, together with their conditional opponents – representatives of the tourist community will discuss the difficulties encountered in interacting with the budget tourist information centers and experience in the cultural potential of their territories promotion. Concrete proposals will be made on joining the forces in the mutual attraction of the tourist flow and application of the innovative approaches to increase the TIC efficiency. During the round table, Evgeny Rodionov, Deputy Dean of the Higher School of Economics (Russia), Antonio de la Morena Ballesteros, Head of the Tourism Department, Embassy of Spain in Russia (Spain); Galina Ofitserova, Director of the Regional Tourism Information Center, Kaliningrad (Russia) and other specialists will express their expert opinion. 

The panel discussion “Historical Interpretation of Cultural Resources for the Tourism Offers Formation” is devoted to such an important component of the cultural tourism as historical reconstruction. It is no secret that this way of representing the region is one of the most effective, by attracting the tourists with maximum immersion in the historical and cultural atmosphere.

“The olden time reminds of relationship, expands the ideas about the world of life and fills with the pride for the ancestors achievements, in other words, makes us a little better and kinder with every contact with it. Therefore, the historical and cultural heritage examples during a tourist trip are not just a pleasant pastime, but it is also certainly the education, filling in with the patriotic spirit, and not declaratively, but using a living example,” notes Alexey Vulfov, writer, chairman of the Railway Enthusiasts Society.

Inclusion of the authentic sites, historical vehicles, ethno-gastronomic performances in the tourism product creates the interactivity effect, causes emotional affection and leaves a lasting impression, stimulating both the repeated tourist visits and primary ones that are the result of word-of-mouth advertising. Such working methods have long been used in the world practice and are increasingly being introduced into the Russian tourism product development.

The discussion participants involved in the information provision promotion through immersion in the history of culture and educational and entertaining events, including Alexander Lvov, First Deputy General Director of Retro-Tourism (Russia); Elizaveta Fokina, General Director of the State Historical, Architectural, Art and Landscape Museum-Reserve Tsaritsyno (Russia); Alexander Syromyatnikov, Head of the Historical Society “Vauxhall Nord” (Russia); Alexander Trukhachev, Minister of Tourism and Health Resorts of the Stavropol Territory (Russia) and Tatyana Boronoeva, Director of the National Museum of the Republic of Buryatia (Russia) will share ready-made cases and discuss possible options for cooperation in this area.

During the round table “Ecotourism as the non-urban territories development factor”, the development prospects of ecological and cultural and educational tourism will be discussed. Russia is the country of the most diverse natural landscapes and cultural and historical sites. Often they are located outside the infrastructure, at the same time being a serious point of attraction for the tourists. 

“The main task of the local tourism, in our opinion, is to combine two apparently opposite trends — the heritage sites preservation and the tourism development — so that they do not contradict but complement each other. One of the areas today may be creation of the territorial entities of a new type — cultural and historical territories (eco-ethno-villages), which are an integral economic structure, where in the complex the cultural and historical objects, cultural landscapes, skills of craftsmen, cooks, national holidays traditions supported by the people's daily lives will be combined,” said Elena Kutukova, PhD in Economics, Associate Professor, Deputy Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region.

The experts advocating the local tourism development will make their proposals on formation of the systemic solutions and mechanisms to support private initiatives, based on foreign experience and successful examples of such initiatives implementation in the Russian practice.

The discussion will be attended by Ilya Zibarev, Trustee and Co-founder of the Fund for Revival of the Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of the Motherland (Russia); Vladimir Tolstoy, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on Cultural Issues (Russia); Elena Kutukova, PhD in Economics, Associate Professor, Deputy Governor of the Arkhangelsk Region (Russia); Jacques Ragon, Expert, Association of the most beautiful villages and towns of Russia (France); Marije Jool, Deputy Director of the Zaan Museum (Netherlands); Remy Strand, Member of the Finnmark Provincial Board (Norway); Oleg Ryzhkov, Head of the Expert Council of the Foundation for Conservation and Development of the Solovetsky Archipelago (Russia) and others.

Growing importance of the digital tools in the tourism industry will be discussed by the participants of the panel discussion “Digitalization in Promotion of the Cultural Events and Travel Destinations”. Building a digital economy is one of the strategic government challenges. Various industries use high technology to increase their efficiency. In addition to solving the global problems, digital tools contribute to optimization of the management linear processes and specific business segments projects promotion. Every year the role of such tools in increasing the tourist attractiveness of the territories is increasing. The expert group will analyze the successful experience in the digital technologies implementation to promote tourist destinations and cultural events. It is important to note that digital methods of work with the tourism services customer offer great opportunities in determining the target audience and formation of the individual offers, personalization of the tourism content. The participants will also consider the reverse trends: how “digital tourism” popularizes reading books and classical culture.

The speakers of the event are: Daria Shamray, Project Manager, Russian Export Center (Russia); Evgeny Pankevich, Chairman of the Committee for Tourism Development of the Administration of Saint Petersburg (Russia); Alexey Sulimov, Project Manager, BEST.Petersburg (Russia); Alexandra Bobretsova, Developer of the Educational Program “TourAxelerator”, Project Manager of INRUonline.com (Russia); Maria Romanova, Representative of Open Tourism Lab (France); Leonardo Corbucci, Director of the Management Company of the Rimini Airport (Italy); Lotta Muurinen, Representative of the Helsinki Oodi Library (Finland) and others.