Cultural Tourism : Regenerating the City of Valletta
The assignment has attempted to prepare an integrated approach that may ensure a sustainable urban conversation. The conversation may be done through regenerating the City of Valletta. The theme of the assignment lies in analyzing the cultural tourism product mix and their markets. It deals with the key issues and concepts of the chosen industry.
- Examination of Different Cultural Tourist types
Valletta is the upcoming European Capital of Culture 2018. It is present capital of Malta and the city is bears a significant importance because of its architectural heritage and historical importance. The Grand Harbor in Valletta is currently operational as a port and plays a crucial role in the trades that are carried through the Mediterranean Sea (Csapo, J. 2012). The hero partnership project has been developed in the City of Valletta. With an approach of developing and exchanging experiences in the city management and administration, improving the concept of WHC, evaluating the possibilities of re-launch of the city in accordance with the World Heritage Site Management Guidelines and draw the development funds that are sanctioned by the UNESCO towards the up-liftment of Valletta and Malta. The cultural tourists all around the globe can be classified in accordance with the cultural preferences of an individual tourist (Woodside and Martin, 2015). Based on the common cultural preferences the types of the tourists are broadly categorized.
Figure 1: Types of Cultural tourists in accordance with visiting preferences
(Source: Self developed)
Figure 2: Inbound tourism to Malta-main indicators
(Source: Self developed)
The types of the cultural tourists that prefer a Valletta as a destination of leisure may be depicted as below:
- Attending cultural festivals and arts: Valletta is a city with a significant historical importance and high potential for a tourist destination. The city experiences a huge inflow of tourist throughout the year. The number of cultural festivals that are organized in Valetta can be considered as an factor that influences the tourist inflow. Freedom Day (March 31), Malta international Fireworks Festival (late April), Malta international Jazz festival (July) are some of the festivals that contribute to the tourist inflow in Valletta.
Figure 3: Inbound tourists-Country wise
(Source: Self developed)
- Visiting Tribal groups: Some of the tourists are driven by their thrive for interacting with new communities or tribes. At times, these tourists obtain a sense of pleasure through interactions with people representing different communities or they might need to gather information about a particular research work. Some of traces of dominant tribes that are found in Valletta include Inglese, Zejtun or Marsazlokk, Hamrun, Birkirkara, Mgar or Siggiewi and Mdina. The presence of numerous tribal communities is an important factor that determines the cultural tourist types in Valletta.
- Visiting World heritage sites: The Biccerija building, St Augustine church, Palazzo buildings and the garden on the Marsamxett bastions are some of possessions of Valleta that increases its archaeological importance (www.ectarc.com.au, 2017). Many of the tourists all around the globe are attracted towards Valletta for its archeological antiques. The presence of these buildings gives Valletta a major boosting in the global domain of tourism. The cultural tourist types under this segment comprise to be a major part for yearly tourist inflow in Valletta.
- Visiting Historic towns: Valletta the capital city of Malta owes its existence to the knights of St John. It was developed in the 16th century as a refuge to provide care to the injured soldiers and the pilgrims during the crusaders (www.viewingmalta.com, 2017). The city is built with wall on its all four sites that acts as a protective barrier. The historical importance of Valletta is a crucial factor that influences the types of the cultural tourists of this area.
Figure 4: Outbound Tourists: Citywise
(Source: Self developed)
Evaluation of McKercher and DuCros Cultural Tourism Market Diagram and Importance of Cultural Tourism
The cultural tourism market diagram suggests that the decision of the tourist influencing the importance of cultural tourism in a particular area can be broadly classified into five segments. The segmentation is done in accordance with the ratio between the importance of cultural tourism in the decision to visit a destination and the experience that is desired by the tourists. It is depicted as below:
- Serendipitous Cultural tourist: This segment depicts the tourists that seek deep experience but lack in the importance of taking decision for cultural tourism. This segment provides a significant influence to the cultural tourism in Valletta.
- Purposeful Cultural tourist: This section deals with the tourist, which again seeks a deep experience and gives a high importance to the decision of visiting a destination. The presence of tourists with likings towards historical significance of Valletta, tribal community of Valletta contributes to the purposeful cultural tourism.
- Incidental Cultural tourist: This segment includes the tourists that visit a destination without any specific reason of tourism other than relaxation. They seek a shallow experience along with a low affinity towards the aspects of cultural tourism in a destination.
- Casual Cultural tourist: This sort of tourists pays a moderate importance to the decisions of visiting a destination but seeks a shallow experience. This type is unique as the tourists are driven by a sense of comfort and their only desire is a proper period for relaxation.
- Sightseeing Cultural tourist: This category boasts the segment that represents the highest similarity within the nature of the tourists. These seek a shallow experience but demand a high importance of cultural tourism in the decision in order to visit a destination.
Figure 5: McKercher and Du Cros (2002) - Cultural tourism market diagram
(Source: Markwick, 2017)
- Analysis and Evaluation of Social, Economic and Environmental Impact on Malta on hosting European Capital Of Culture 2018
The hosting of the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) 2018 in Malta has provided the city a golden opportunity to represent its cultural life and cultural development while retaining its viability in the tough competition for the international cultural tourist (Markwick, 2017). The ECOC hosting could have a great impact on the city’s social, economical and environmental factors. In doing so, the city of Malta would develop diverse destination marketing policy focusing on major strategic goals. Theses policies in developing these strategies have been made by The Maltese Inter Ministerial Commission ECOC that has a significant impact on the diverse regions of social, economical factors.
- Economical Impact:
Up gradations are made in respect of essential investments and technologies that would enhance the culture based creative economy. A vital number of forecasts in relation to the visitor’s expenses critically assess the potential economic impacts of hosting ECOC. The forecasts or assumptions are made based on average increment in both cultural visits and in bed nights. In addition to this, attempts were made to attract visitors not only from their own country but also from other diverse country also. This would in turn result in the following outcomes:
- Increased tourism
- Increment in the funding related to cultural aspects
- More sponsoring in terms of culture
Therefore, impact of the European Capital of Culture 2018 would result in rendering a beneficial impact from the economical point of view
- Social impact:
The ECOC hosting not only focuses on constructing goals in terms of marketing , economy but also in terms of social aspects. The formulation of aims satisfies the selection criteria of the Council of European Union and creates a deep impact on the social aspects as far as possible. The ECOC determines to formulate the following:
- For the cultural aspects it broadly aims at expanding the audiences of the local region
- Stimulating the participation practices of the local population and there in depth involvement in the ECOC event
- Strengthening among the local population feelings of pride, identity and self confidence
- Enhancing social cohesion and strengthening the image of the city by cultural software and infrastructure
All these aims enhanced the social aspect of city in terms of increased local pride and social cohesion. This finally led to improvising the quality of Malta’s population and the cultural development is used as a tool for realizing the social outcomes.
- Environmental impact:
The essential investments in ECOC events constructed a supportive environment under which the cultural entrepreneurship flourished. In addition to this, the environment provided improvisation and development in cultural tourism and other relevant areas that developed or generated jobs and wealth.
Evaluation of Butler Life Cycle (1980) of Malta in terms of Destination development
Butler Life Cycle (1980) determines the tourism carrying capacity and sustainability. The implementation of this model evaluates the destination development of Malta. The tourism cycle of Butler is represented by six diverse stages of tourist area evolution (Yang et al. 2014). The stages are as follows:
Figure 6: Butler Life Cycle (1980) Hypothetical evolution of a tourist area
(Source: Yang et al. 2014)
- The Exploration stage
In this section, the areas that are focused are attracting a small number of tourists to particular areas such as beaches, attractive landscape, historical or cultural features. In terms of Malta the city attracts a number of visitors based on the island's rich culture. The stage marks that the primary tourist’s attraction are based on natural or cultural aspects. While in case of Malta the primary tourist attraction, it is based on culture. There are no secondary tourism attractions and hence results in no economic or social impact on the local residents of Malta
- The Involvement stage
In this stage the local population seek to opportunities that are already available and renders accommodations, food, transport, guides and other diverse services that tourists could use. Therefore, in case Malta the local residents are very much involved in tourism, which is evident from the social impact of the ECOC hosting (Ho and McKercher, 2015). In terms of creation of secondary tourism guesthouses facilities are developed in case of Malta. This evident from the guest nights variation as shown
Figure 7: Guest Nights Graph of Malta
(Source: Ho and McKercher, 2015)
Development of tourism season is observed and is seen in the tourism of Malta. In addition to this pressure is developed from the side of government of Malta to improvise transport mode for tourists
Figure 8: Facilities provided for tourists of Malta
(Source: Romão et al. 2014)
- The Developmental Stage :
In this section a large number of factors are considered by Tourism sector of Malta in order to maintain sustainability such as:
- Increased number of tourists that often exceeds the local population of Malta at peak periods
- External organization render services secondary tourism attractions such as building up hotels, leisure complexes etc
- Local residents involvement and tourism control decreases rapidly is clearly depicted
- In order to create a well defined tourist market logical advertising are done in terms ofadvertising holiday packages
- The Consolidation Stage :
In Malta, the tourism growth rate is overall slow however; the local population often increases the tourist’s number. The development of Malta’s economy is closely related to its tourism. This is evident from the total tourist expenditure that is around EUR 1.7089.9 million. Marketing and advertising has been approached to larger extent by Malta. This has been done by following policies that were made by the Council of Malta Tourism. In addition to this, it has been seen that there had been no opposition from the local people in expanding the tourism sector. The resort areas in Malta are quite well, defined in terms of recreational business district.
- The Stagnation Stage :
In this section, the major static nature of the tourism sector is depicted. The stagnation stage has also been seen in Malta. With the hosting of the ECOC, the city got an opportunity to flourish in this sector (Pathak, 2014). There had been a range of factors that caused the number of visitors to decline. Along with this, the following are also observed
- Number of visitors are reached its heights
- Increment in the carrying capacity has been observed
- Artificial tourism attractions suppresses the original primary tourist attractions
- Unfashionable image of the destination is depicted
- The Decline And Rejuvenation Scenario :
It represents the factors that determine the decline of the tourism attraction such as unable to maintain viability in competitive environment, visitors preferring other resorts etc. All these have been observed in case of tourism of Malta. In the Rejuvenation sector, approaches are made to improvise the methods to attract tourist. In case of Malta The hosting of ECOC helped in gaining access in the competitive market and make improvement in the respective sectors for attracting large number of tourists both local and international.
- Demonstration of Cultural Tourism being an increasingly important segment of tourism market
While studying the effects of cultural tourism in the modern tourism system it is important to describe the definition of culture as forwarded by a number of researchers. As stated by Webster, in new encyclopedic dictionary, culture is the characteristic feature of a civilization as well as its social institutions along with its beliefs and artistic products. Therefore, there might be a great effect of the culture of a place in the tourism carried out in that area. It has been found in the study of materials by a number of philosophers that culture is not something that is bounded by any barrier namely geography, age, etc. However, culture is an entity that is highly unchanging and is separated by races and geographical distances. These are the determinant that defines the changes in the culture from one place to another and are factors that affect the formation as well as development of tourism over the cultural and geographical boundaries (Timothy, 2017). As culture is referred to a cumulative deposit containing knowledge, beliefs, experiences, attitudes, meanings, values, religions, hierarchies, etc. there is a varied effect of culture in the tourism conducted by a particular race as well as tourism conducted in a particular area. The nature of tourism has also changed over the time and generation along with advancement of cultural entities in terms of improvements.
Figure 9: Culture at different levels of depth
There are a number of definitions as forwarded by a number of researchers in order to describe cultural tourism. However, mostly it has been defined as leisure travel that is motivated by one or more than one aspect of culture. Therefore, it has been found in the present study that there is a board and far reaching effect of cultural tourism on the national as well as international tourism market all over the world. As stated by Richards, cultural and tourism were two components of the major industries that were flourishing in the twentieth century (Oecd.org. 2017). However, during the beginning of the twenty first century these two industries merged to give rise to a completely new aspect of industry. This industry has taken an upper hand in enhancing the revenue of a number of countries or regions that are facilitating the cultural tourism within their land. Moreover, with this complete new approach the cultural tourism has enhanced in both demand and supply. However, the changes has been found to be significant both in terms of space and time while looked through the perspectives of qualitative and quantitative components of cultural tourism. The present trend of tourism shows involvement of the tourists in terms of cultural activities. In earlier concepts of tourism, tourists have been found to have greater involvement in domestic as well as international tourism trends. However, the present trend has been slightly shifted to cultural tourism. This reflects the fact that most of the tourists in the present days are more involved in cultural activities than before. In earlier terms, the tourism was mainly highlighted as 3S or 4S. The 4S meant sun, sea, sand and sex in traditional terms. While, in context of the present generation, the 3S has been modified to Sport, satisfaction and spectacle.
However, in the ever changing scenario of world tourism it can be identified that the cultural tourism has got greater emphasis in the latter years of growth than in the previous years of introduction of cultural tourism,. While, on the other hand, the mass tourism has also be discarded or reduced by the introduction of an alternative form of tourism that is ecotourism or nature tourism. However, cultural tourism can be grouped under the newly formed area of alternative tourism. Therefore, it can be significantly analyzed that cultural tourism has become a we'll grown form of tourism while beholding its place as an important alternative to traditional domestic and international tourism.
Figure 10: Place of cultural tourism within alternative tourism
(Source: Self developed)
- Examination of Valletta benefit in hosting European Capital Of Culture 2018
- Maintaining and preserving heritage
Since the beginning of cultural tourism in the city of Valletta, it has been found that most of the tourism activities has taken place on account of the cultural heritage of the city. Since the city has been awarded the title of European Capital of Culture, there has been a greater recognition of the city on a worldwide basis. The main motivation of the tourists has been discovered around the heritage locations like monuments, museums and other historic sites. Thus, such a step has hailed improvements in conservation and maintenance of these heritage sites. Thus, the response of the city has been found to be positive hailing a positive effect on the city heritage.
- Economies development and employment
Adding to the involvement of the government, Valletta has seen greater involvement of the local people in preservation of the heritage sites located within the city post winning of European Capital of Culture. In order to ensure the fact that necessary technological updates and investment is done to these heritage sites, there has been a greater economies flourishing within the city. This has enhanced the economy of the city along with generation of new employment areas.
- Physical and economic regeneration
Development of tourism in the city of Valletta has not only enhanced the city’s economic gradation but also has brought about physical improvement within the city. This has been a part of the development program within the city. The city of Valletta has gained huge insight as it has been awarded the title of European Capital Of Culture. Various strategies have been taken to enhance the economy of the region, such as development of traditional crafts, folk dancing, etc. that would help in regeneration of economic and physical state.
- Strengthening and/or diversifying tourism
In order to diversify as well as strengthening the tourism of the city of Valletta, the government of the region has taken various steps such as enriching the traditional folks of the area. In addition to this, the government has also taken steps to enrich the culture through providing aids to the traditional crafts. This has even more strengthened the tourism alone with development and diversification of the same.
- Retaining population
Along with development of the culture and cultural heritage of the area, Valletta has also improved in terms of development of the community. The strategy has focused on two main objectives that are education and creativity. Various schemes have been rolled out that has developed these two sectors of the area. Therefore, this has been a retention strategy for the major population of the area.
- Developing cultural understanding
Situations of cultural loss are very common to occur in places of such places of worldwide importance. A worldwide recognition of the city has given Valletta enough scope to reform its traditional culture. However, the government of the area has made a common effort to retain the culture of the area through developing of cultural understanding among people.
It can thereby be concluded that cultural tourism in Valletta of Malta is been affected by wide range factors in diverse ways. However, the approach that has been made by the town in hosting the European Capital of Culture 2018 has made the city to highlight its richness and diversity of cultures with regenerating the international profile of the itself and boosting the overall tourism.