The first cycle of Creative Tourism missions has ended

The first cycle of Creative Tourism missions took place in four small towns of Latvia - Līgatne, Aknīste, Aizpute and Staicele, during the week dedicated for Creative Week "radi!2019". By introducing the design thinking method, the creative industry professionals tried to highlight the undervalued tourism potential of those towns through various masterclasses and workshops. Currently, till the end of August, they continue their work to focus on tourism development together with their mentors to come up with creative and innovative tourism offers.

There are many small towns in Latvia with a high potential for tourism development, and in most cases, it's beneficial to attract professionals who could give a view from the outside and help to see things which often may not look as valuable and exciting. We hope that these missions will be a right motivation also for other towns to reflect on the potential contribution from creative industries and to start to act upon this issue," says Līva Stūrmane, the coordinator of "radi! 2019".

Aknīste - Port of Peace for the tired ones

"Aknīste has a clear potential for the tourists looking for the peace of mind and nature. The team created a whole package with various creative solutions and ideas for attracting the creative industries professionals. For example, there is an opportunity to allocate and customize free space for remote work, where those tired "city professionals" can temporarily work in a peaceful environment - to get some "workation". Also may reconsider the use of the Church, which could become a place for some new cultural events. The organizers of the festival "Sansusī" have successfully established the cultural environment in Aknīste, so this would be a logical next step," admits the mentor of Akniste, strategic planner and partner at the creative agency "Weekend" Edgars Pētersons.

Aizpute - a charming treasury

Mentor of Aizpute, architect and urbanist Evelīna Ozola: "Aizpute is a charming old town where tourism can be purposefully stimulated by concentrating available resources for building some special events, - fairs, competitions, concerts, summer schools, festivals. Locals should look for special links material and immaterial herritage of the town. For example, how about enjoying the music of the world-famous composer from Aizpute - Peteris Vasks at a special concert in one of the town's most beautiful churches?" Aizpute is currently working on the principles of creating a corporate image of the town because one of the main challenges is the need for analyzing segments of different audiences and setting the core values of Aizpute.

Līgatne- revitalizer of the industrial heritage

"The town has a clear desire for exploiting the potential of creative industries," says mentor of Ligatne, "Free Riga" project manager Jāzeps Bikše. Here's a high potential for revitalization of abandoned sites and industrial heritage – the closed paper mill in Ligatne together with its cultural-historical village currently has quite an uncertain situation. During the mission, Ligatne already had a variety of ideas for the future of the paper mill, such as tours, unconventional summer season restaurant, outdoor cinema, cultural event center, contemporary art space, hotspot for various events, home of ghost stories, origami festival, reality show, breakout room and paper mill museum etc. Ligatne has received several tasks including development of the social network communication, create a plan to make the paper mill attractive to tourists, and analyze the lifestyle of Ligatne visitors and clarify the town's overall image.

Staicele - bright symbols with profit potential

"The biggest challenge of Staicele is to turn their pride into profit - football, storks, architecture and other bright elements," says Mārtiņš Eņģelis, one of the Staicele mentors. "So far, it is clear that Staicele is enterprising. One of the best qualities of its inhabitants is passion and excitement, but it should be transformed into product development. Currently, characteristic values of Staicele cannot be experienced by tourists, as many events and products are targeted mainly for locals, others learn about those only by accident or most often - late or not at all," says Mārtiņš Eņģelis.


"radi!2019" Creativity Week to highlight creative industries' contribution to tourism development

This year's "radi!2019" Creativity Week will focus on the interaction between creative industries and tourism and will underline the potential of creative industries, such as design and competencies, for interdisciplinary industries. During the event held in June, a team of creative industry professionals will go on specific Tourism Missions to five small towns to seek the best solutions for improving the tourism environment in cooperation with municipality and non-state representatives and to develop individualised plans for improving tourism and town image recognition as well as the overall quality of life.

Similarly, to the previous years, this year's "radi!2019" Creativity Week will continue to develop the regional dimension by seeking region-oriented solutions for topical challenges hand in hand with various creative industry professionals.

"As the tourism market becomes more dynamic and diverse, it is only possible to maintain its positions by thinking outside the box, seeking new opportunities and positioning oneself accordingly. People don't just seek a beautiful view and some rest, they strive for new experiences and feelings. That is where creative industry professionals help with their vision, ideas and skills, to help small towns meet local challenges and design high-quality creative tourism products," Līva Stūrmane, coordinator of"radi!2019" Creativity Week, elaborates on the creative industries' potential contribution to the development of the tourism industry.

During the "radi!2019" Creativity Week, a new regional development programme of Creative Tourism missions will be implemented in cooperation with the Investment and Development agency of Latvia (LIAA). Any small town can become one of the five selected towns to carry out the Creative Tourism mission by submitting the application form on the LIAA website https://ej.uz/Turisma_Radosas_Misijas. With the assistance from creative industries professionals, town representatives will then have the opportunity to substantially improve local tourism products and develop individual tourism plans for their town by considering its specifics, needs and objectives.

Tourism information centres, tourist sites, sites and premises, tourism product developers, municipalities, service providers and regional tourism associations are all invited to apply. "LIAA and other institutions organize various trainings in the tourism sector quite frequently, but we believe that it is most efficient for professionals to visit a specific place or object and solve specific problems. Therefore, Creative Tourism missions will be conducted as highly practical trainings, which will tackle challenges for creative tourism, future skills, quality of life, tourism destination development, cooperation and communication,” Inese Šīrava, Director of LIAA Tourism department and President of Creative Tourism mission selection board, explains.

Competition applications will be evaluated and Creative Tourism missions in small towns will be led by a team of creative industry professionals: Dita Danosa, head of the Latvian Design Council, Edgars Zvirgzdiņš, designer and founder of the agency “Associates, Partners & Sons”, Signe Adamoviča, founder and partner of "Creativity Lab" in Latvia, Edgars Pētersons, strategic planner and partner in the creative agency “Weekend”, Evelīna Ozola, architect and urbanist, as well as the following LIAA representatives: Inese Šīrava, director of the Tourism department and Mārtiņš Eņģelis, the department's Leading expert.

"radi!2019" Creativity Week will commence in Riga at the end of May and will also host a number of events in other regions of Latvia. Experience in recent years shows that regional residents in particular have shown significant activity and interest, so this year, this communication is expected to become even more active and larger in scale. It is also planned to participate in the conversation festival LAMPA in cooperation with partners from LIAA.

"radi!2019" Creative Week Concept

Main Objective
To promote the awareness and interest of various target audience groups, with special focus on people in regions and small towns, regarding the development of culture and creative industries and their interaction with other sectors, such as creative tourism, creativity-oriented education, innovative entrepreneurship and smart governance. This year, the event focuses on transferring creative industry-generated potential and skills to towns with fewer inhabitants, with the aim of promoting the development of tourism and other industries, improving brand image recognition and the overall quality of life.

"radi!2019" directions of communication
The main communication directions are based on those selected for the Latvian centenary celebrations and revolve around the main 2019 celebration theme of HEROISM, symbolizing the formation of the Republic of Latvia in 1918. Therefore, this year's communication strongly emphasizes the active participation of unified regions and inhabitants in forming Latvia's future.

Creative tourism provides for expanding the concepts of culture and creation. Creativity as a new experience/ observations / feelings and sensations. It also represents the struggle for a place in the global tourism market, where the way of positioning oneself is crucial. The preservation of immaterial culture heritage is also highly relevant, as it promotes the development of creative tourism. This year, in cooperation with our partners, we are aspiring to highlight these issues and assist small town inhabitants in tackling local challenges.

This year's "radi!2019" Creativity Week is planned as a set of seven events, the first being the opening event held in Riga on 29 May. Five events will be held in various regions
of Latvia which will concentrate on co-creation and cooperation to promote the growth of creative tourism. The seventh planned event is taking part in the conversation festival LAMPA, where we aim to inform the widest possible audience on the concept and achievements of Creativity Week 2019.

Partners: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and Latvian Design Council.