The influence of culture and creative industries on tourism and urban regeneration

Ernst & Young presented the results of a study on the economic scale of the cultural and creative sectors at both national and European levels.

According to the study, the performing arts play an important role in attracting people: for instance, 9.2% of tourists visiting the UK went to the theatre, a musical, opera or ballet. Local performances, in parks, pubs, restaurants and even camp sites are an essential element of Europe’s tourist appeal.

In France alone, culture-oriented tourism generated €18b of revenues in 2011, and accounted for 35% of tourists’ consumption decisions.

During 2011 theatre audiences in Barcelona, a favorite European leisure destination, reached a record 2.8m visitors 

Museums are key in making visual arts available to all citizens. Seven of the world’s most visited art museums are in Europe, with Paris and London sporting three apiece. The Louvre in Paris pulled nearly 10m visitors in 2012, and all contenders drew more than 3m people, confirming museum`s mass appeal for both national and international visitors. 

One study found that more than 45% of respondents described the European festival market as “healthy,” and 40% said the economic crisis had not affected their investment and development plans very much.

Concerts and music festivals generated more than a third (37%) of global performing arts revenue in 2011.

The arts participants are involved in civic activities at a much higher rate than those who do not participate. The attendees of performing arts will volunteer 3.8 times greater than for non-attendees, regardless of their educational attainment, gender, and other selected demographic traits’, and similar results applied to the relationship between arts participation and community meetings.

During the last few decades, a number of European cities have emerged as creative hubs. From Bilbao to Berlin, Amsterdam to Helsinki, to Copenhagen and Barcelona, the cultural have been used as a vehicle for local growth and development.

Beyond CCI’s (culture and creative industries) direct contribution to GDP, they trigger spill-over in other sectors of the economy such as tourism and fuelling content for ICT (information and communications technology). Thus they become an indispensable part of the urban economy, having a direct impact on cities regeneration processes.

Culture in general and CCI in particular have a direct impact on the value of urban real estate, becoming a key element of culture-led urban regeneration strategies. This impact can come as a result of both large flagship projects, like a creative cluster of an innovative hud, and smaller creative micro-businesses or small scale cultural activist activities.


Zaspa is the name of one of Gdansk’s districts which is still one of the largest "plattenbau" settlements in Poland. In 1997 the Monumental Art Festival started its work and the number of large scale murals, painted on the side of the district’s buildings has grown to 18 paintings. The City Cultural Institute (CCI) decided to build a project based on those findings and launched the Alternative Walks initiative. Because of the programme between 2011-2015, 136 inhabitants have been trained and started to work as Local Guides, over 665 walks in 6 city districts have been conducted in a frame of the project. The overall number of people that took a part in the walks between is estimated at about 9710.

Nantes is a very dynamic city. Nantes authorities, inspired by Bilbao’s strategy of cultural-based post-industrial turnaround, decided to develop a strategy centered on the culture and later Culture and Creative Industries (CCI), sustainability, and social diversity. At the service of Nantes’ successful ecosystem are: a budget of 66 million euros, 600 city council employees, major municipal facilities and 220 subsidised cultural organisations. Beside this investment, the millions of spectators and users of these cultural facilities creates thousands of jobs and boosts the entire local economy. For instance, the festival Voyage à Nantes spends €3m, but the economic returns are now put at more than €48.8m.

Museomix is an event that was invented and held for the first time in 2011 in France. Since then the initiative has gone global. Museomix is a community of creatives that meet together for three days and two nights during the international event in the heart of cultural institutions. Since the project was started in 2011 over 50 museums from around the world have been engaged in this project. As the result of makeathons, 200 prototypes have been created and presented to the public. Each Museomix edition brings together approximately 800 participants.

In the beginning of 1990s Užupis was a depressing district in Vilnius, Lithuania. The latter squatted one of the buildings, turning it into the art incubator called House on the River. After this the Independent Republic of Užupis was declared on the night of April 1, 1997. Over the years Užupis has become a naturally formed platform for the creative industries cluster. Over 300 CCI representatives work in Užupis. There are 50 businesses based on the commercialisation of culture and creativity. Annual income from CCI in Užupis amounts to EUR 6 million.  Užupis boasts approximately 10 000 m2 of creative space. The Užupis Art Incubator was the first art incubator in the eastern Baltic counties, and is now already adding some 1 200 m2 of new space.

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