Intervention at the WCC General Assembly (Metsovo Greece, 3 June 2004)

Cultural, Creative Industries, Op-Ed, Organisations, Institutions, Movements, Policy

Intervention at the WCC General Assembly (Metsovo Greece, 3 June 2004)

Vencatachellum, Indrasen

 “Tourism is like fire, it can cook your food or burn your house down” Robbin Fox..

Introduction It is common practice among intellectuals, art historians and other critics to complain about the degrading influence of tourism on ethnic arts and crafts. Epithets such as “tourist kitsch” and “airport art” witness to this tendency. On the other hand, we know of the sometimes simplistic enthusiasm with which developers and planners advocate the promotion of crafts for tourism as a source of income for people whose other resources are dwindling under demographic or ecological pressures. I know how converted you all are to the need to promote quality crafts in your respective countries. I am also aware of the difficulties you often encounter to obtain the proper support and funding for your activities and projects. Rather than going into an endless debate on the pros and cons of tourism, I submit that it is more urgent and useful to examine the deeper implications of the relationships between crafts development policies and tourism. After a brief presentation of some current and future trends in these relationships, I will signal some experiences in crafts promotion for tourists which can serve as inspirations or models. Finally, I will introduce the UNESCO Crafts/Tourism Index as one possible tool for planning and funding crafts development programs. I. FAVOURABLE TRENDS FOR TOURISM AND CRAFTS New motivations for tourists ...


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