CT Consults

Archive for December, 2017

Our Town Hall

Posted on: December 18th, 2017 by ctceditor

Big Ben has been making a lot of noise recently, perversely because it has gone quiet. And that’s because of its significant heritage restoration project (which will in turn be dwarfed by the preservation needs of the rest of the Palaces of Westminster). There is another ‘national treasure’ building about to undertake a similar journey – in Manchester. The Alfred Waterhouse-designed neo-gothic Town Hall (the architect also more famously designed the Natural History Museum) is 140 years old, and while it’s structurally sound it is really showing its age – with everything from wiring to stonework reaching the point where it’s in need of replacement or repair. So it’s in need of major work to safeguard it for future generations and ensure its fit for the 21st Century – both as a visitor destination and as the city’s local government HQ.

The project is called ‘Our Town Hall’, which neatly sums up the sense of who owns the building, and the shared stake that Mancunians have in its important role for the city. It’s also a clarion call to get involved in one of biggest refurbishments of a public building in the UK – it really is on a par with Westminster and Buckingham Palace in scale. That’s why the building will close in January 2018 and it will take until 2024 before it can re-open.

There is a wealth of amazing stories – of Manchester and its people – and the new opportunities for local people that this massive project will create, including apprenticeships, jobs and business opportunities. Creative Tourist is unsurprisingly thrilled to be involved in this hometown project – it’s our Town Hall too. We are now busy helping plan out the strategic communications with the Our Town Hall communications & engagement team and supporting a plan for the next seven years, designed to encourage local engagement in the project.

Where’s the world’s smallest capital city?

Posted on: December 13th, 2017 by ctceditor

If you are searching for a Christmas quiz question then let us oblige. ‘Where’s the world’s smallest capital city?’ The answer = Tórshavn, capital of the Faroe Islands.

There are 18 of them altogether – sitting about 200miles North West of the Shetlands between Norway and Iceland – beautiful, rugged and, as you might expect open to the Atlantic weather, wild. When we arrived at the end of November to host the third in our series of Nordic Cultural Tourism conversations, the winter’s snow had just started to fall.

Small and remote they may be, but the Faroes are not insular, balancing an international outlook with its status as the cradle of the Nordics. Its parliament sits on the site of one of the oldest parliaments in the world, where old Norse Vikings travelled to a rocky promontory for their annual assembly or Thing. Today the Faroes still act as the host and guardian of Nordic region culture at the beautiful Nordic House and the now Michelin-starred restaurant KOKS, was and remains, the very forefront of the Nordic food revolution.

Faroese culture is rich in itself – traditional and contemporary. Literature, art, circle dancing and music, often taking place in people’s homes or out in the landscape. Knitwear from designers Gudrun and Gudrun is highly prized. Made famous by the Nordic-noir The Killing, the designers now write personal letters to online customers explaining that their handmade jumpers may take some months to arrive, with stories about the knitters and the sheep. No-one cancels their order.

The Faroes Islands determination to stand firm has included playing Google at its own game with the ingenious Sheep View and Faroe Islands Translates. As a result of this and other initiatives, tourism is on the rise and the 50,000 Faroese inhabitants are boosted each year by 110,000 tourists – although most, disembarking from cruise ships, only stop for 2-3 hours.

Tourism looks set to become a significant new industry but the Faroe Islands want to get it right – finely balancing the twin needs of product development and marketing to make sure that they attract the right visitors for the experiences they can and could deliver, and at a managed pace.

Investment in cultural activity will be key to achieving that. In our joint culture-tourism conversation we found no lack of cultural talent, ideas or ambition, but a clear call for support to underpin the creative ecology and build its capacity so that artists, promoters, film-makers can work alongside tourism growth and not be overtaken by it.

The visit to Tórshavn was one of a series of cultural tourism think-tanks that have been conducting in the Nordic region with Ingi Thor of Nordic Intercultural Events and funded by North Atlantic Tourism Association. We also went to Iceland, and earlier in the year, Denmark.

Image: Nordic House

Twin destination offer takes off

Posted on: December 4th, 2017 by ctceditor

Bath and Bristol are located only 12 miles apart and only 12 minutes by train, with a complementary offer across contemporary culture and heritage. One city is an established heritage destination, and the other a city rising in reputation for its contemporary culture and lifestyle. But this positioning is over simplistic and leading to missed opportunities for both cities. The benefits of working together are compelling, and so that is what the two DMOs have done.

One airport serves both cities and the drive is on in a partnership between Bristol Airport, Visit Bristol, Visit Bath and the Cultural Destinations partners to see how working collaboratively might tap into high prospect and future growth international markets.

This is the first time that the two cities have joined forces with the airport.

Our task was to identify the market opportunity through consumer and travel trade research in the first instance – and then use that information to create a joint visual identity and messaging.

The result is a flexible identity, guidelines and toolkits to help all the partners to present a consistent, coherent, easy to understand joint offer for the French and German markets.

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