How to transform the off-season into the creative season

Mecklenburg-Pomerania (MV) and Bavaria are the most popular national holiday destinations for German Tourists. Whilst Bavaria offers mountains, MV offers the Baltic Sea. White beaches to dream of, seagulls and special „Strandkörbe“ – comfortable chairs on the beach that offer shelter from the wind. A heaven for young families, but also very popular among old people as it offers good hotel standards.

But who would think that the region has a vivid cultural life to offer, too? Not even Germans are aware of that, and yet it is true: a rich landscape of cultural heritage with brickstone gothic churches, mansion houses and the special sea resort architecture. Numerous artists who have settled here because already in previous centuries the beauty of nature has offered inspiration to artists. Many enganged cultural associations and special initiatives such as the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Musikfestspiele, Mittsommerremise etc.

The Kreaitvsaison (creative season) is a pilot-project of regional socio-cultural and tourism development between the hanseatic cities Wismar and Rostock. Its aim is to make emerge all these incredible cultural and creative resources and potentials. Like this, in the future tourists will not only come because of the sea but because they know that there is a lot to discover here! As the name of the project says, there is a special focus on off-season development, which is when tourism stay-overs go down rapidly and it gets very quiet. But this is not all. For artists it is not easy to make a living in such a rural area. To place the arts and culture at the core of the tourism strategy means that more value is given to the creative person, to his profession and potential contribution to tourism. And last but not least, the Kreativsaison addresses employees working in tourism. Tourism is the most important employer of the region, yet it is not very popular anymore to work in tourism. This is because the work is hard, underpaid and without great career opportunities. Bringing more culture and creativity into tourism, not only as products to be consumed but also as something to be perceived by those working by rethinking organisational structures, traditional professional profiles and human resource management, can facilitate innovations which have impact on tourist, entrepreneur and employee at the same time.

Cooperation and synergies are at the very chore of the Kreativsaison: between the tourism sector and the cultural and creative industries in the first place. But as the project intends to be inclusive to the territory, the collaboration with local authorities is equally important. The project gathers: local authorities, tourism associations, hotels, gastronomy, educational institutions, cultural associations, artists.

At the moment the project is in the very initial phase. Katharina from smARTourism has established the basis of the cooperation and handed in a first funding application. And she will be telling the story about the first creative season development here.