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First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.

First Base 28: The City – A Renaissance


Date: 27/7/2004

The power of urban tourism as a major driver of national and regional tourism has long been recognised. The extent and contribution of this activity has, however, rarely been measured in comparative terms with its rural counterpart.

In our recent work for the Scottish Parliament S & A assisted with the preparation of a special research paper on urban tourism and issues associated with dispersal.

The CEO of Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Tourism, Eddie Friel (a much respected industry commentator and practitioner) suggests that Glasgow and Edinburgh together are responsible for generating over 85% of all tourism receipts in Scotland.

Certainly S & A has shown that rural tourism in Scotland has been in decline since the early 1990’s and without the vibrancy of Scotland’s two main cities the industry would be significantly worse than it is.

In Wales the importance and domination of Cardiff is not quite as strong as the Scottish counterparts. It is, however, a major factor in terms of future tourism success in Wales. This is a fact that Capital Regional Tourism, the new Regional Tourism Partnership, has to secure widespread acceptance in the rest of the industry… a rising tide lifts every boat etc…

The urban tourism phenomenon is in part a response to and a cause of a global renaissance of the City. In Europe, there is the strong emergence of a new concept of the ‘city-state’ formed by tourism demand. This is especially well evident across Europe and, especially, in the emerging new Europe.

Hastened by the arrival of low cost airlines using secondary airports outside the major cities, there is a new generation of tourists discovering Europe’s lesser known cities and the capitals of Central and Eastern Europe.

These new city destinations in which evidence of urban tourism acting as a catalyst for renewal includes:

Trieste Italy
Verona Italy
Bergamo Italy
Padova Italy
Krakow Poland
Graz Austria
Salzburg Austria
Ljubljana Slovenia
Zagreb Croatia
Strasbourg France

The recent Tourism Society Conference in Cardiff (10-12 July) and the impressive TTRA Conference in Glasgow (22-24 September) both explore this phenomenon.


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