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Chapter 9: Benefits of Creative Tourism

The Tourist Perspective

Milica Ilincic

Introduction
All forms of tourism in essence provide experiences. The very desire for experience, or
tourism (Richards, 2011). However, different people seek different kinds of experiences. New
and become more than disconnected observers during their travels. Many of them seek
participative, authentic experiences which allow them to feel the spirit of a place and achieve
a deeper understanding of its specific cultural features (Landry, 2010). Such a trend in tourist
demand encouraged the emergence of new form of cultural tourism, known as creative
tourism. It is described as tourism which allows visitors to develop their creative skills by
taking part in interactive learning activities typical for the destination they are visiting
(Richards and Raymond, 2000). Besides these changes on the consumption side,
professionals from cultural sector and destination managers are also trying to find new
approaches to interact with visitors (Richards, 2010). Destinations are slowly moving from
exploration of high cultural resources, such as monuments and museums, towards utilization
of intangible creative resources, incorporating everyday life and popular culture into tourist
products. Intangible cultural assets are becoming key for achieving uniqueness and
differentiation from other destinations (Richards, 2010, 2011).
The growing importance of the creative sector also stems from the notion of the experience
economy, which points to the shift from delivering goods and products towards production of
engaging and memorable experiences. Pine and Gilmore (1999) state that people do not
seek experiences for mere consumption, but what they actually want is to gain something
from them, to be affected and changed by these experiences. The outcomes of tourist
experience are becoming more important than the experience by itself and some authors
(McIntosh, 1999; Sharpley and Stone, 2010) even argue that the beneficial experiences
gained by visitors are in fact the core product of tourism. Thus investigation of tourist
perspectives in order to comprehend the nature of their experience and personal value
attached to it is a fundamental task in the study of tourism (McIntosh, 1999; Chan, 2009).
The nature of creative tourism experience is recognized as important topic, but it is still
scarcely researched and the need exists for exploration of effects and value of creative
tourism from tourist point of view (Richards and Wilson, 2007; Richards, 2011).
This study tries to address the stated gaps in the literature and to provide understanding of
creative tourism experience from the consumption side. The objective is to identify the
outcomes of the creative tourism experience that are most important to tourists and most
valued by them. The research explores the influence of motivation, as well as emotive and
psychological processes, experienced by tourists in their interaction with the setting of
creative activity, on the creation of such beneficial outcomes.

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Tourist experience
Tourist experience as a research topic has been present in the literature for more than fifty
years. Early discussions on the subject of experience in tourism were based on two opposing
views of its nature. Boorstin (1964), as the most influential representative of the first view,
describes the modern tourist as a shallow and passive pleasure seeker in comparison to the
traveller who searched for meaning. On the other side, the opposing camp represented by
MacCannell (1973), states that tourists demand authenticity and their travels represent a sort
of a quest for authentic experiences. However, Cohen (1979) argues that different people
seek different kinds of experiences during their travels. He identifies five types of tourists and
their experiences ranging from rather superficial towards more authentic ones, thus
reconciling the two extreme views.
Wang (1999) argues that the above mentioned authors look at the concept of authenticity as
object-related and recognizes the existence of a different, individual and subjective, view of
authenticity as well. Such existential authenticity has nothing to do with displayed objects.
Instead, it is activity-related and coincides to a potential existential state of being, which is
activated by the participant actions (Wang, 1999).
While the early theorists of tourist experience can be regarded as practitioners of modernist
thought, many contemporary studies have followed the so-called postmodernist way of
theorizing, which sees reality in terms of relative truths, stresses the diversity of life and
blurring of the boundaries between everyday life and tourist experiences, concentrates on
individualism and subjective meanings (Uriely, 2005).
Furthermore, in the last few decades there has been a radical shift in research from services
towards the experience economy. Pine and Gilmore (1998) argue that businesses can no
longer rely on goods and services in delivering the value to their customers, but rather they
should be used in order to stage and produce engaging and memorable experiences. They
recognize the transformation coming from meaningful experience as the offering with the
highest economic value. Moreover, Binkhorst and den Dekker (2009) provide an innovative
perspective on tourism experience based on the holistic co-creation principle. They see
tourism as an experience network in which different stakeholders engage in tourism
experience by process of co-creation. Personal involvement in designing, undergoing and
transformation by experience (Binkhorst, 2007). Moreover, the process of co-creation is
closely related to the notions of creativity and innovation in tourism experience (Binkhorst
and den Dekker, 2009).
Creative tourism
Creative tourism is a relatively young term, coined in the last few years. Richards and
Raymond (2000) were among the first ones to recognize the emergence of creative tourism
as an expansion of cultural tourism or a reaction to it. They identified creative tourists as
searching for more active and involving experiences that allow them to achieve personal
development and create their identity. Richards and Raymond defined creative tourism as:
Tourism which offers visitors the opportunity to develop their creative potential
through active participation in courses and learning experiences which are
characteristic of the holiday destination where they are undertaken (2000: 18).
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This concept was acknowledged by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) through the work of the Creative Cities Network, which aims at
highlighting intangible cultural assets and diversity in destinations around the world.
Many different activities can be the base for creative tourism, such as cookery, painting,
photography, crafts, music, dance and so on (Smith, 2009). However, what is important is for
these activities to be linked to the destination where they are undertaken (Richards and
Wilson, 2006, 2007). For example, a cooking workshop in Spain should be linked to
traditional Spanish food and products. According to Richards (2011) some of the first
destinations to apply specific creative development strategies in tourism were New Zealand
(www.creativetourism.co.nz) and Barcelona (www.barcelonacreativa.info) with Creative
Tourism platforms running for a number of years now. While New Zealand offers many
workshops and creative courses, Barcelona also develops networking with other cities to
attract artist to come to the city and co-create with locals. Moreover, a number of other cities
turned to creativity, from metropolitan cities such as London and New York, to smaller
modest cultural destinations such as Porto, Graz, Taipei and Lille. The whole countries and
nations also started positioning themselves as creative destinations, such as Austria
(www.creativetourism.at) and Australia (Richards and Wilson, 2007).
A number of authors discuss the reasons behind the growing attractiveness of creativity
(Richards and Wilson 2006, 2007; Maitland, 2007; Rogerson, 2007). While cultural tourism is
seen as inflexible, relying mostly on built heritage and high culture, creative tourism uses
intangible resources and thus allows higher level of flexibility and dynamism (Richards and
Wilson 2006, 2007). Creativity, mostly dependent on human capital, is seen as renewable
and sustainable resource, which does not require a lot of investment for maintenance and
preservation such as museums and monuments (Richards and Wilson, 2006). For this
reason creativity allows relatively fast innovation of destination offerings (Richards and
Wilson, 2006), which is especially suitable for rural destinations that usually do not have very
developed built heritage (Maitland, 2007), as well as for application of creativity in developing
countries that can provide them with competitive advantage without much investment
(Rogerson, 2007). Finally, the creative sector is much broader than culture, thus, it can bring
more value and have grater employment impact (Richards and Wilson, 2007).
On the other hand, while creative tourism does not require great physical assets it does
require greater levels of innovation and creativity from both its producers and consumers
(Richards and Wilson, 2006). It relies on creative governments and leadership (Florida,
2002) together with role of creative communities in its development (Smith, 2009).
Thus, the idea behind the development of the creative tourism sector is that creative tourism
can provide wider and more sustainable benefits for the destination and provide dynamism
while releasing creative potential of inhabitants, visitors and places (Richards and Wilson,
2007). However, there is a lack of hard empirical evidence that can support these claims
(Pratt, 2008; Richards, 2011). The growing adoption of creative development strategies in
(Peck, 2005)
influenced by academia and policy makers (Atkinson and Easthope, 2009; Richards, 2011).
Another point is that creative tourism relies heavily on the everyday life of a destination and
its intangible cultural resources. Thus, selling this everyday life experiences in the
marketplace can lead to commodification of creative tourism product (Hannigan, 2007).
Richards (2011) concludes that it still remains to be seen if the further development of
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creative tourism will lead to homogenization of creative tourism experience or if it will
facilitate authenticity and co-creation of meaningful, engaging experiences. The research has
mostly concentrated on the side of creative producers and the way they are affected by
creative tourism. The need exists, on the other hand, to look at the consumption side and
consider tourist experience with creative forms of tourism (Richards and Wilson, 2007;
Richards, 2011).
Beneficial experiences and creative tourism
Based on the definition presented above, the importance of the following characteristics of
creative tourism experience can be highlighted (Richards, 2009): (a) creative potential
tourists are encouraged to enhance their creativity and return from the travel with something
far more than just souvenirs or photos; (b) active participation - creative visitors are actively
engaged in the process of creation in which they interact with locals and their culture; (c)
distinctive experiences creative activities can be practiced anywhere but what is important
is to connect them with the unique characteristics of culture and creativity in the destination;
and (d) co-creation
which includes joint creation of experiences by consumers and
producers (Binkhorst and den Dekker, 2009).
Richards and Wilson (2007) argue that application of creativity affects the very nature of
tourism especially the concepts of tourist gaze and authenticity of tourist experience. They
point to the shift in tourist experience from seeing and gazing towards being and
becoming a part of a life of the destination. The change of the role of tourists from passive
consumers towards active engagement with the destination allows them to produce their own
experiences (Richards and Raymond, 2006; Binkhorst, 2007). Richards and Raymond
(2000) particularly underline that besides the tourists the destinations themselves need to be
creative in designing embedded experiences. Development of characteristic creative
experiences, involves the whole network of tourism actors, such as producers, consumers
and policy makers (Richards and Raymond, 2006; Binkhorst and den Dekker, 2009).
Moreover, local inhabitants also become active producers and not just bit players in a
performance of staged authenticity (Richards and Raymond, 2000).
However, staged authenticity that was seen as a process which decreases the uniqueness of
experience (MacCannell, 1973) in creative tourism can become an act of creativity which
allows tourists to develop their own meanings of the place and their own narratives (Richards
and Wilson, 2007). Cloke (2007) argues that placing and staging allow creative tourists to fill
the gaps in the story that are left by producers, and create their own different storylines. The
authenticity of creative tourism experiences is not so much related to the objects or
attractions visited, but rather with activities tourist undertake, which activate their existential
ial
authenticity.
Creative tourism is more than just the provision of learning experiences as stated by
Raymond (2007). It is about engaging with the destination, and about development of
consumption skills, as well as development of new narratives, meanings and even identities
in tourist destinations (Richards, 2011). There is a shift from gazing to becoming, which
refers to the importance of engagement of other senses besides sight, such as smell and
taste (Richards and Wilson, 2007). Examples in creative tourism include workshops of
making your own perfume in France or cooking traditional dishes in Catalonia. This shift also
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allows tourists to become in a way changed by their experience (Binkhorst, 2007), thus
having longer lasting experiences and wider benefits (Richards and Wilson, 2007).
Therefore, creative tourists are engaging in a process of self-development that is supposed
to take them to the next stage of value creation (Pine and
Gilmore, 1999). When tourists became changed by their experiences, the experience can
surely be regarded as authentic and different. Binkhorst (2007) adds that the process of cocreation becomes crucial for such change to happen. Moreover, Landry (2010) besides the
co-creation states the im
involved, as well as mutual understanding with locals for transformative effects to happen. At
the simplest level, these effects may include cooking of the meal learned from local to some
deeper personal transformation, such as engaging in a cultural project (Landry, 2010).
However, these characteristics of creative experiences are mostly discussed in theory and
not many studies have tried to take an in-depth look at the demand side and investigate the
tourist view of creative experience and the beneficial outcomes they gain from it.
Benefits

based model of experience

Tourist experience is the central offering of tourism and its core product. However, it is even
more important to look beyond the tourist experiences and into the benefits tourists gain from
behaviour is normally goal oriented and activities are undertaken in order to attain something
from them (McIntosh, 1999).
Beneficial experience was first discussed in the leisure and recreation literature. From the
mid-1990s onwards the concept has been widely applied in different fields of tourism and
benefits-based models have been utilized as a means for greater understanding of related
tourist experiences. According to the model four levels of demand for leisure and recreation
are recognized: motives for undertaking certain activity (Level 1), in a specific setting (Level
2) which are connected to the experience gained in such setting (Level 3) and with the final
benefits coming from the satisfying experience (Level 4) (Beeho and Prentice, 1997;
McIntosh 1999; Kang et al. 2012). The model is graphically presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Hierarchical Model of Experience

Activities

Setting

Experience

Benefits

Source: Beeho and Prentice, 1995, 1997; McIntosh, 1999; Kang et al. (2012); Shin et al. (2012)

Prentice et al. (1998) and McIntosh (1999) recognize that benefits-based management
compared to traditional activity- and experience-based management approaches, goes
beyond onsite individually realized experiences and looks further into beneficial experiences,
which are potentially longer lasting and possibly detached from the site. It is focused on
understanding such outcomes and providing opportunities for their occurrence.
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While the first level of the hierarchy looks at the demand or rather motives for undertaking
the activity, the second level refers to the setting facilitating it. The setting is regarded as the
key variable that can be managed and controlled by suppliers of tourism products (Prentice
et al., 1998). Setting includes different contexts in which tourism practices are undergone
and includes environmental, social and management settings, as well as the visitor's
expectations of the setting (Beeho and Prentice, 1995, 1997). On the third level of the
hierarchy activities and setting interact in shaping the overall tourist experience. Experiences
here refer to what is consumed by tourists when undertaking a certain activity in a particular
setting including their thoughts, feelings and reactions (Beeho and Prentice, 1995). Different
activities and attractions are logically experienced in different ways (Prentice et al., 1998),
but what is noted as important for greater understanding and learning to occur is to make
tourists feel empathetic and critically engage with the activity (McIntosh and Prentice, 1999).
The final level of the demand hierarchy looks at benefits gained from satisfying experiences
and partici
the outcomes of
experiences or the actual benefits gained by visitor and are important for the visitors
(Chan, 2009: 177). They can be classified according to three main thought
processes. These are: affective process - affecting emotions, attitudes, values, enhancing
enjoyment and involving familiarity; reflective process - affecting emotions, attitudes, values
and providing insight and comparison between past and present; and cognitive process involving synthesis and evaluation, improving comprehension and providing new insight or
additional information (McIntosh, 1999: 51). In addition to these three processes other nonmindful, social, also known as recreational, benefits are noted, such as spending time in a
pleasant environment, having fun and being entertained (McIntosh, 1999).
Furthermore, the importance of mindfulness for achievement of greater benefits from tourism
experience is pointed out by Moscardo (1996). Visitors are considered mindful when they are
sensitive to context, actively process information and question their surroundings, in contrast
to a mindless state where little understanding is gained (Moscardo, 1996; McIntosh, 1999). A
mindful state is achieved through interaction of setting and individual visitor factors that lead
to active processing of information through reflective, cognitive and affective psychological
processes. The consequence of these processes is a mindful outcome or insightfulness.
Moscardo (1996) especially points to the importance of an interactive and dynamic setting,
as well as tourist interest and educational motives in achieving such a state and final
outcome.
Considering successful application of benefits-based model in many different fields of
tourism and its usefulness when it comes to understanding tourist side of the experience, on
the one hand, and need for greater understanding demand perspective of creative tourist
experience, on the other, this model was chosen as a framework to guide data gathering and
analysis in this study.
Case study of creative cooking in Barcelona
Barcelona has been one of the pioneers in developing the Creative Tourism Network as a
platform that promotes its creative tourism offer and connects potential visitors with creative
locals (Richards and Wilson, 2007; Couret, 2010). The role of creativity in enhancing the
image and identity of Barcelona has been recognized by the administrators of the city
(Richards and Wilson, 2007). Many creative spaces, events and activities have been

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developed and are offered to tourists who want to experience the city in a different way
(Richards, 2009; Gonzalez, 2011).
Barcelona puts a special emphasis on the promotion of its gastronomy as an important part
been seen as a powerful mean of developing and rebranding tourism regions around the
world (Richards, 2002). In fact, Spain has successfully reinvented itself, from being sun, sea
and beach destination towards an image of culturally rich destination, partly through its
gastronomic products, such as paella, gazpacho and cava (Ravenscroft and van Westering,
2002). Moreover, the field of gastronomy is quite a fertile ground for creative tourism
development (Richards and Raymond, 2000). Cooking workshops are important part of
growing creative tourism offer, where tourists actively learn about local cuisine and culinary
traditions of the destination (Richards, 2002). However, the trend of combining cooking with
the travel has still been largely unresearched (Hjalager, 2002).
Thus, in order to fulfil the aims of this research, a creative cooking activity has been chosen.
The research has been undertaken on the case study of the Espai Bois company in
Barcelona. Espai Bois is a family owned company located in the central area of Barcelona,
which offers creative cooking workshops of Spanish and Catalan cuisine to tourists. The
premises of the company are designed as a traditional local home. It is an open space
consisting of a kitchen, a dining room and a small garden. The idea was to create a place
where people can socialize in a light and comfortable atmosphere and where they can feel at
home. The workshops are developed as completely participative ones, where tourists cook
the most traditional Spanish and Catalan dishes and afterwards have lunch and taste the
food they have made. The classes are led by a local chef, with the involvement of both of the
owners, who are there to present tourists the origin of the food and explain local traditions.
The use of organic, local and seasonal products is promoted as the very name of the
company in Catalan means a place where you can eat good and healthy food.
In light of the research question, the literature review and the constructivist paradigm, an
explorative and qualitative research design was chosen. Such a design is particularly
suitable as it allows greater research depth (Silverman, 2006) as well as preliminary insights
into specific research problems (Saunders et al., 2009). A combination of participant
observation and face-to-face interviews was used to provide an understanding of the tourist
experience. Observation work aimed at exploring the setting of creative activity and
own words their reported beneficial experiences (Schanzel and McIntosh, 2000). The
researcher conducted observations at four cooking workshops and interviewed total of 30
tourists who attended them. Ten of the interviews were individual, while ten were conducted
in pairs. All interviews were transcribed and, together with observation notes, manually
coded according to analytical themes of the framework and descriptive sub-themes, emerged
from the data.
Benefits reported by cooking workshop participants
Analysis of research findings showed that tourists see multiple benefits of their creative
cooking experience.
can be divided into cognitive, affective, reflective and social benefits (Moscardo, 1996;

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McIntosh, 1999). The key benefits emerged from tourist responses are summarized in the
Figure 2.

Figure 2: Key benefits gained by tourists attending creative cooking workshop

Cognitive
benefits
Insight into local
cuisine and
culture
Cooking skill
developments

Affective benefits
Future sharing of
the experience
with others

Reflective
benefits
Learning
traditional
approach to local
cuisine

Social
benefits
Spending time
with others

Among the cognitive benefits two are noted as the key ones. These are gaining an insight
into the local cuisine and culture as well as tourist cooking skill development. The term

interaction and by seeing how the dishes are made by locals. Tourists stated that the class
provided them with different kind of experience from typical tourist activities, such as
sightseeing and visiting museums and galleries. The experience gave them the opportunity
makes their experience memorable. Insight gain is seen as important theme in the works of
McIntosh and Prentice (1999) and Chan (2009) as well. Active preparation of traditional
dishes allowed participants to gain certain new cooking knowledge and skills that they will be
able to use in the future, or as one informant stated:
Personally I have been to Spain every summer vacation, every year for the last 15
years, but we never used to make this paella ourselves. Also the omelette [tortilla], we
buy it pre-made. So now we can actually make it. (Informant 24)
Thus, indeed creative tourism provides tourists with deeper insights into the destination
culture, as well as with certain level of skill development (Richards and Wilson, 2006, 2007;
Smith, 2009).
What is important is that the culinary activity gave tourists the opportunity to share their
experience with others in the future, with their families and friends. Respondents mentioned
that not only they have developed certain cooking skills but what is more important they are
able to use these skills to recreate a small part of the Catalan culture for their friends at home
and bring them the taste of the country. One of the participants explained:

experience in a different way and to remember our ex


Remember this experience by doing it. (Informant 2)

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Future sharing of experiences with others is quite limited when it comes to heritage (Prentice
et al., 1998; McIntosh, 1999) and museum visitation (Chan, 2009) as such experiences
cannot be adequately divorced from the visited site. Thus, the possibility of future application
and sharing of creative experience can be viewed as something that distinguishes creative
from cultural tourism. It allows tourists to recreate their experience and also makes it
memorable and unique.
Reflective benefits are noted among participants who were already familiar with the local
cuisine and already had some knowledge and perception about it. For these tourists the most
important thing was to learn about a different approach to preparing the meals. They were
familiar with most of the dishes, but what they wanted is to learn more about the traditional,
original way of making them in Catalonia:
Oh we learned different ways, because I am famili
it, this food, and I usually make it in my house, but this is quite different. I wanted to
learn more like a traditional Catalan cuisine. (Informant 18)
In addition to these three types of benefits are social, or recreational benefits. These include
getting to spend enjoyable time with family, friends and other travellers, as well as having a
fun experience. Such benefits are regarded as more of a short term gains with little
understanding of the context (Moscardo, 1996; McIntosh, 1999). Even though the concept of
creative tourism advocates higher tourist engagement with the destination (Richards, 2011),
social benefits are also found to be of key importance for some of the workshop attendees.
They stated benefits such as spending time with friends as the most valuable outcome of the
activity. Yet, these participants did note gaining some new skills and learning about the local
cuisine, but that was of a secondary importance:
Something I did learn, but for me was much important to do this as a group, to do
something together, something a bit different than walking through the city. (Informant
28)
Discussion
When looking at studies researching outcomes of tourist experience (Moscardo,1996;
McIntosh, 1999; Chan, 2009) cognitive, reflective and affective benefits are usually regarded
as mindful outcomes of tourist activity and participants reporting them as mindful participants,
while social gains are connected to low tourist interest in the context and these participants
are, thus, seen as mindless. Though it is found that the process of benefits creation differs
among these two types, such a strict division between mindful and mindless participants
cannot be made in this case.
Tourists reporting social benefits as the key personal value gained attended the workshop
mainly for the reason of socializing. These participants pointed to the importance of the
social setting of the activity, meaning group participation and interaction with others. They put
a greater accent on spending time with friends than on the cooking activity which according
to Moscardo (1996) results in a mindless state from which little understanding is achieved.
However, interaction, experiencing something as a part of a group or community is an
important element of experiential products, which, if present, can influence tourist thoughts,
emotions and even bring certain personal change (Tarssanen and Kylnen, 2007). Skill

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development and learning, though of a secondary importance, are noted among these
tourists as well.
Tourist openness and willingness to learn about Spanish cuisine, seen in their learning,
novelty or love for cooking motives, are connected to attainment of cognitive, affective and
reflective benefits, also known as mindful benefits (McIntosh, 199
was further facilitated through interpretations and interactions with chef and locals as well as
hands-on activation during the activity allowing tourist to be creative and to aid in the
production of their own subjective experience. These tourists considered connection of the
creative activity with destination culture as a highly valued factor of their experience
(Richards, 2011). They became sensitive to the context, actively process information and
emotionally involve with the culture of the place (Moscardo, 1996, Chan, 2009) which
allowed them to learn, gain an insight into destinations cuisine and culture and otherwise
benefit. Thus tourists imbue activities with their thoughts, imaginations and emotions, giving
them personal meaning (Uriely, 2005). Not only the importance of activation of different
senses in creative tourism practices (Richards and Wilson, 2007) is confirmed, but also the
importance of co-creation advocated by Binkhorst and den Dekker (2009) which are some of

understanding with locals for transformative effects to happen, were seen as important in this
study.
However, no deep personal transformation came from the studied culinary experience nor
came from experiential learning and emotional engagement, rather than factual learning.
Thus, as noted by McIntosh (1999) beneficial experience can be potentially divorced from the
site and be longer lasting, particularly the cooking skill development and future sharing with
others. However, it seems that the cooking activity did not provoke greater transformations of
tourist personality. This is probably due to the nature of this particular creative activity, being
time limited and more structured. However, as stated in the literature (Landry, 2010),
transformational effects might in its simplest form include cooking the meal learned from
locals. Though skill development, learning and insight might lead to enhancement of tourist
personality, this was not widely mentioned by the class participants. Only the possibility of
changing travelling practices in future by attending cooking classes for gaining greater
gastronomic knowledge was mentioned by a few participants. These claims, however,
cannot be confirmed as such investigation goes beyond the scope of this study. Thus identity
building, so often mentioned in creative tourism literature (Richards and Wilson, 2007;
Richards, 2011), did not emerge as a significant theme. Nevertheless, cultural insight, skill
and knowledge gain are still important and are to some
personal growth (Landry, 2010).
Furthermore, some of the tourists reporting three types of thoughtful benefits also stated
experiencing enjoyment and having fun with others during the cooking, thus attaining social
benefits. Therefore, it seems that creative tourists can be mindful and mindless at the same
time (Chan, 2009) and that interaction with other tourists and entertainment did not decrease
tourist engagement with the activity but actually enhanced it and contributed to the overall
experience. It can be concluded that a strict distinction between mindless and mindful
participants cannot be made as tourist can have characteristics of both, as well as move from
one type to another during the activity.
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Finally, important point emerged from the responses is the perception of the creative cooking
experience as being authentic and memorable. Tourists found the cooking activity to be
closely related to the destination visited, underlining the importance of experiencing countr
gastronomy while actually being in a real Catalan setting. Besides the authenticity of the
setting, the theme emerging from the data analysis is the perception of the overall
experience as an authentic one. Respondents stated that the cooking activity they
experienced is quite different from other activities they undertook in Barcelona, such as

and made the activity unique. Thus, by actively creating


their experience tourists were able to give personal meaning to it and engage with the
destination culture, thus perceiving the activity as different and unique. Such a perception of
authenticity is
traditional passive view of authenticity towards a more active and personal one (McIntosh
and Prentice, 1999). Authenticity in creative experiences indeed is not so much object or
context dependent as much as it depends on the imagination and skill of tourists (Richard
and Wilson, 2006). Despite the fact that the cooking class is effectively staged, staged
authenticity in creative tourism becomes an act of creativity which allows tourists to develop
their own meanings of the place (Richards and Wilson, 2007). According to Cloke (2007)
placing and staging allows creative tourists to fill the gaps in the story that are left by
producers, and create their own different storylines. However, as we have seen, the tourist
imagination has to be encouraged through the interactive setting and raw materials on which
they build their own narratives and meanings (Cloke, 2007; Richards and Wilson, 2007).
Moreover, hands on activities allow tourists not just to remember what they have learned, but
also to remember their cooking experience and the journey to Spain. By cooking Spanish
dishes they have learned from locals they will be able to recreate their trip as well as share
their experience with others who are not able to travel with them. This seems to be very
statement that engaging, memorable and meaningful experiences are the offerings of the
highest value.
It can be concluded that, indeed, if the tourists become affected by their travel activity, the
experience can be regarded as authentic and memorable (Pine and Gilmore, 1999; Binkhorst,
2007).
Conclusion
This study sought to explore the outcomes of creative tourism experience that are personally
valued and important to tourists themselves. It examined motivation as well as the emotive
and psychological processes experienced by tourists in their interaction with the activity
setting in order to find how these experiences are valued or seen as beneficial. The lack of
empirical research of tourist creative experience pointed to the need to obtain more
information about its nature and the benefits it brings.

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In order to fulfil the aims of this study qualitative methodology, combination of face-to-face
workshops in Barcelona. Review of the theory led to the choice of benefit-based approach as
a suitable framework for data gathering and analysis of the study results. The findings are
based on existing literature on creative tourism and tourist experiences combined with an
explorative and qualitative research design.
It was found that tourists see multiple benefits of their creative cooking experience. The key
benefits found are categorized into cognitive, affective, reflective and social benefits. Tourists
reporting social gains as most important put emphasis on motive of socializing and the
setting providing interaction with others. Though according to McIntosh (1999) social gains,
such as spending time with others and having fun, are connected to tourist mindlessness,
tourists reporting them also showed a certain level of learning and skill development. On the
other hand, tourist openness and willingness to learn about the local cuisine, seen in their
learning, novelty or love for cooking motives, together with the setting facilitating active
participation and co-creation with the locals, are found to be the most important for tourists to
experience immersion and psychological engagement with the local culture, thus, achieving
cognitive, affective and reflective benefits. However, these tourists also reported having fun
and enjoying interaction with others during the class which complemented their overall
positive experience. Thus, a strict distinction between mindless and mindful participants
cannot be made as tourist can have characteristics of both and move from one type to
another during the workshop.
Overall, tourists perceived the experience as authentic and memorable, despite the fact that
the cooking class is effectively staged. This subjective perception of authenticity coincides
actively creating their experience tourists were able to give a personal meaning to it and
engage with the destination culture, thus perceiving the activity as different and unique.
Moreover, hands-on activities allow tourists not just to remember what they have learned, but
also to remember their cooking experience and their experience of Spain.
This research has made important contributions to both theory and practice. As one of the
pioneering studies in its field, the study laid the ground for the further discussion of
destination creativity from a tourist perspective. Moreover, it contributed to the current debate
on beneficial experiences in tourism. The findings provide valuable information for the
management and marketing of creative products. Understanding of the personal value
tourists attach to their creative experience is important for adequate product development
and enhancement of related tourist experience. The fact that creative tourists, besides
also seeking to socialize, is something for destination managers and tourism suppliers to
consider when developing the creative tourism offer.
However, the findings of this research project need to be viewed in the light of its limitations.
Since the aim of the study was to shed light on a relatively unresearched tourism topic,
attempt to generalize the results was not made. Thus, the findings should be interpreted as
tentative and should be seen as basis for further research. Future research on tourist
creative experiences should involve in-depth interviews with a large sample of tourists and
include more scientific sampling, which may serve to achieve greater generalisability of the
findings. Research should include greater variety of creative tourism products. Furthermore,
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it would be interesting to investigate influence of tourist socio-demographic characteristics on
benefit creation.
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