The first editions of the MovieTravel's have been successfully held in the cities of Nicosia (Cyprus), Athens (Greece), La Valletta (Malta) and Lyon (France), with a high level of attendance and involvement of MovieTravel's stakeholders. In all of them, a team of speakers selected by the FAMOUS consortium has met with local operators, UNESCO regional authorities and heritage managers to discuss strategies and models for the implementation of film tourism itineraries in their respective territories through an approach based on innovation and technology.
The first edition of labs, held on 23 April in Cyprus, confirmed the value of these training sessions within the framework of the MovieTravel project. Around 30 participants attended the event, including representatives of the University of Cyprus and the Ministry of Education of the country. The vice president of MovieTravel’s Cypriot partner Top Kinisis, Elena Tanou, highlights the worthy contributions made by attendees in view of the implementation of MovieTravel's itineraries in Europe in general, and in Cyprus in particular. "During the open discussion of the lab huge emphasis was given to the films, the film festivals and the UNESCO heritage sites about how best to connect all in an authentic manner yet using to the maximum the technologies but not conveying false perceptions", explains Tanou, who has over thirty years of experience in the tourism industries.
The vice president of Top Kinisis also remarks the positive feedback of the attendees: "They were enthusiastic to share with all of us the numerous places, antiquities which exist in Cyprus and which should be included in the specific itineraries as well as the film festivals and films that surely could be inserted in this alternative thematic tourist product".
Culture and tourism promotion
The dynamics of the sessions were similar in Athens, on 20 May, and in La Valletta, on 21 May. The latter was led by tourism expert Cristina Lambase in coalition with Elena Tanou, under the auspices of the University of Malta. Lambase gave a conference exploring the most effective marketing strategies to reach tourists interested in global experiences in which culture and heritage have a prominent role. Among other topics, she discussed how screen tourism could help destinations to develop a brand that would potentially attract this target.
Lyon's lab was one of the most awaited editions, regarding the city’s cinematographic tradition and the sway of its creative industries. Besides Camera di Commercio Italiana di Lione –partner of MovieTravel–, some of the speakers of the event were Emmanuele Sysoyev, from Only Lyon, and Blandine Thenet, promotional director of the Tourism Office of Lyon. Cases of successful implementation of screen tourism experiences were studied and discussed during the workshop. The consolidation of Dubrovnik (Croatia) as a film destination after its appearance in the last season of Game of Thrones or the success of routes across Sicily Commissioner Montalbano's Sicily were some of the examples presented.
The next sessions of MovieTravel's labs will take place in Genoa (26 June) and in Barcelona (4 July). The details about participants, venues and agenda of each event will be available here.
The origins of labs
The labs are part of MovieTravel's social commitment as an EU-funded project. One of its objectives is to improve the skills of public and private actors in the tourism sector in the development of transnational thematic products of smart film tourism related to cultural heritage and UNESCO sites.
All labs' editions are developed by the national partners of MovieTravel under the general coordination of Destination Makers, experts in the implementation of this kind of workshops. "Through workshops such as the labs, it is possible to increase the skills of the local operators involved in the creation of itineraries," explains Destination Makers CEO Emma Taveri. All sessions take as reference "successful case studies on digital marketing and smart technologies that promote a destination, itineraries and activities", adds the company's COO, Nicola Giulivo. Since 2014, Destination Makers has led more than 30 projects of this kind in Europe and Italy, as well as two European COSME projects.