At the end of the Spot-lit project in June 2022, the combined learning of the 3-and-a-half-year project will be brought together, in one place by Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The creation of a ‘Transformative Guide for SMEs in Literary Tourism’ will draw together the many strands of the project to create a comprehensive resource and source of inspiration. The guide will speak to both the SMEs in the sector and for the many stakeholders who want to work with those businesses. This “Best practice literary tourism methodology/guide” will capture key learning from the Literary Tourism Industry Support Programme and its implementation process as well as other learning generated through project development and implementation.
What has been the impact of COVID-19 on literary tourism?
During the last few months Lapland University of Applied Sciences (LUAS) has proceeded to work on the Guide. The background research includes mapping the current state of literature tourism in the project area. Data has been collected throughout the project timeline through a questionnaire with agreed set of economic indicators. Surveys have been made available to SMEs in the literature tourism field and to the public sector. Despite the various national supports available, it was clear from these surveys that the creative industry needed more support than is currently available. Literary Tourism theatres, festivals and events have been particularly badly hit. Three quarters of the Literary Tourism businesses contacted reported that they furloughed between 25% and 75% of their staff between March and November 2020. The survey respondents identified the most important digitization processes during the pandemic to be digital marketing, online campaigns and opening online stores.
Despite the huge challenges, the survey reported how Literary Tourism businesses have begun to align themselves with ‘the new tourism’ projected for a post Covid future – reshaping themselves towards more small scale, sustainable and individual tourism that takes in elements of the recreation economy. In this context, Literary Tourism is very well positioned to respond to the rising demand for ‘staycations’, integrating meaningful outdoor activities in the writer landscape with authentic cultural experiences.
The provision of mentoring and innovation supports through Spot-lit has been warmly welcomed by the 28 recipient businesses as a much needed and accessible means of bringing new products to market in a harsh economic climate.
LUAS has also been working on a “Wider context narrative” to outline the wider strategic context and impacts on project progress and implementation outcomes. The guide will be published as a concluding outcome of the project early next year. It will be circulated to key stakeholders such as national tourism development and SME support organisations, to highlight the potentially positive role of the Literary Tourism sector in market development and SME growth.
View/Download Baseline Audit of Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Literary Tourism Activity HERE.
Complete Our Developing Literary Tourism in The NPA Region Survey HERE.