Lisbon Meeting, March 2012
“The impact of Culture on tourism and economic development”
Last 22nd March, 2012, Fado Museum, in Lisbon, presented the conference “The impact of Culture on tourism and economic development”. Organized by Lisbon’s municipal company EGEAC – Management of Cultural Facilities and Activities, this conference took place in the framework of the project “Culture for Waterfronts”, developed by River Cities Platform Foundation, and funded by the European Commission Grundtvig Programme, involving partners from seven countries – Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Greece and Portugal. It was an unique opportunity to make acquaintance and to debate Lisbon’s culture and tourism realities.
Since 2007, EGEAC is a member of River Cities Plaftorm Foundation, entity dedicated to the interdisplinary study and promotion of knowledge of social and cultural realities of cities with riverfronts. It integrates cultural producers, educational, planning, political and civic organizations, and public entities from cultural, tourism and territorial development sectors.
The latest project in which we are involved, designated "Culture is Waterfronts – the use of culture to increase access to, and engagement in, european waterfronts", entirely funded by the Grundtvig Programme of the European Commission, included holding in Lisbon, between March 22nd and 24th, 2012, an international meeting of the partners of this project (Warsaw, Vienna, Stockholm, Rome, Corfu, Ostend and Lisbon), as well as the Annual Assembly of River//Cities.
Under the mentioned meeting, a public conference on the theme “The impact of Culture on tourism and economic development” took place in the Auditorium of Fado Museum, composed of three panels of policy makers, experts, technicians and local stakeholders.
The first panel ("Culture and tourism in Lisbon"), moderated by Miguel Honrado, Chairman of the Board of EGEAC, was attended by Simonetta Luz Afonso, President of the Municipal Council of Lisbon; Catarina Vaz Pinto, Councillor for Culture of Lisbon Municipality; Vítor Costa, Executive Director of the Lisbon Tourism Association; and Teresa Ferreira, Dept. Director of the Tourism Authority of Portugal. In this panel, the main points of the cultural policy of the municipality, its link to the cultural offerings, and "anchor projects" for the future were presented, towards the work pursued by Lisbon Strategic Charter and by Strategies for Culture, two important studies undertaken by the municipality of Lisbon. On the other hand, and by the representatives of Lisbon Tourism Association and Tourism Authority of Portugal, we met some figures of culture and tourism of Lisbon, the evolution of visitors, their origins, economical impacts and trends for the future.
The second Panel, moderated by Francisco Motta Veiga, the Municipal Director of Culture and Member of the Board of EGEAC, was devoted to the intervention of EGEAC on Culture and Tourism of Lisbon. After a preliminary framework of the company development for more than 15 years of activity, presented by Teresa Santos, Financial Director, and Sofia Fonseca Controller, Pedro Moreira, Director of Cultural Management, presented some cultural initiatives of major direct impact on Tourism, such as Lisbon Festivities, mentioning as well the importance of river Tagus in Lisbon’s cultural events. With Teresa Oliveira, Director of the Castle of S. Jorge, and Sónia Santos, Management Superior Technician, we had the chance to better know the visitors of the most visited national monument (about a million visitors per year), and services provided in accordance with visitors’ profiles. In another perspective, Catarina Medina, Communication Director of Maria Matos Municipal Theatre, presented the project "Green Theater", a different ecological approach to a cultural facility management, while José Luis Ferreira, Artistic Director of the S. Luiz Municipal Theatre has presented his thoughts about the cultural spaces programming reference against a backdrop of economic adversity. Finally, Sara Pereira, Director of Fado Museum, presented the Fado application to Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, stressing the implications of this distinction in cultural, tourism and economical realities.
With the third and final panel, entitled "To intervene in the city – multidisciplinary perspectives", we met projects and experiences of other cultural operators, both public and private, different ways of seeing, of thinking and speaking in Lisbon. Moderated by Gabriela Carvalho, University Professor and Researcher, it provided us with the participations of Cristina Leite, Director of the Museum of the City; Barbara Coutinho, Director of Fashion and Design Museum; Inês Pedrosa, Director of Fernando Pessoa House; Miguel Lobo Antunes, cultural manager and programmer; Marta Silva, Largo residences, and Pedro Ressano Garcia, responsible for Tagus Platform.
This conference, attended by more than 100 participants, allowed to bring together policy makers, public and private stakeholders, to know the projects and distinct realities, to discuss ideas and find meeting points, not always obvious in practice, between culture, tourism and economy, representing an opportunity for international projection of these realities.
90 learners and 17 staff members of the hosting organisation took part in the open meeting.
Very soon, the record of the conference will be available through the site www.egeac.pt, allowing access to submitted contents.
Finally, Lisbon meeting was the second of seven included in this project. The first took place in Warsaw, in November 2011 ("Impact of culture on waterfront regeneration"), followed by Lisbon, Rome/Turin ("Impact of culture on public space: social impact and outcomes of open-air activities,revaluation of urban territories”), in June; Ostend, Belgium, in September ("Impact of culture on citizenship-digital and multimedia skills triggering community sense") and, in 2013, Stockholm ("Impact of culture on citizenship-the role of culture in developing a sustainable European society"); Vienna ("Impact of culture on governance policies") and Corfu ("Impact of culture on the policy of sustainable development").