Cultural Tourism – Why Bother? Symposium

The Culture Kent symposium took place on 16 December 2015 at Turner Contemporary.   Over 80 people attended this hugely successful event from a diverse range of cultural and tourism organisations. High profile and provocative speakers gave the audience plenty to think about from the role of large organisations to small, the importance of collaboration and people within a cultural tourism offer and shared cultural tourism exemplars across the UK.

Speakers included Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, James Berresford, Jane Marriott (Deputy Director, Hepworth Gallery) and David Statham, Managing Director of Southeastern.

As the speakers pointed out, coastal resorts across the UK  have experienced years of under investment leading to high levels of deprivation.  But in Kent ,and particularly in Margate and other parts of East Kent, culture-led regeneration  has had significant impact on both the local ecology and the tourism market.    In Margate, Turner Contemporary’s programmes encourage individuals to see the world differently and help people to realise their potential.

Jude Kelly highlighted how Cultural Tourism is about people making a difference and establishing the identity of a place;  the CEO of Visit England highlighted that culture is a huge driver of visitation and an important part of the visit. The conference outlined how tourism is a product of changing economic, technical and social factors and it is vital to encourage reasons to travel including promoting the cultural delights Kent has to offer. The importance of research and intelligence were noted as being really key to making the case for investing in tourism products that create great experiences. And the role of partnership working  as key driver to enhance cultural tourism was also noted.  The full speeches can be found via the links below:


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