Tourism Destination Development
Frank Gehry’s Experience Music Project (EMP), Seattle  
Developing local distinctiveness By Bruce Dickson (TDS), 8 May, 2009 Artists and Tourism: A Key Partnership & Asset Local & regional ‘artists’ - including talented public artists, architects, landscape & graphic designers, artistic directors, choreographers, food artisans and crafts people - are a great, but sadly under-recognized and little used creative force for the local tourism industry and their communities.  This is specially true when it comes to strengthening the character & appeal of otherwise unremarkable, look-a-like places and overlooked (or rarely considered) destinations.   IDENTITY BUILDING: With sufficient vision and commitment, truly talented artists can provide a key to remarkable new attractions, more imaginative local ‘experiences’ and potentially, creating celebrated public 'icons' ... that not only appeal to visitors and open up fresh media opportunities, but also (more significantly) build local pride and a stronger sense of place and local identity. More often than not the talent for a great project can be discovered 'locally', but only if someone has bothered to ‘dream the dream’ - with true imagination and daring. A sufficient degree of professional outlook on the involved artist’s part is also essential. As is a great management team, capable & visionary entrepreneurial skills, and sufficient investment to fulfill a project’s true creative promise. DISNEY’S PATH: The lasting success of Disney attractions is founded on the creative inputs, ‘powers of imagination’ & passions of its artists & daily ‘cast members’. A singular approach towards generating great returns that Disney’s corporate management totally understand and fully endorse.  Furthermore, when it comes to the design of memorable public environments, while a big-budget Frank Gehry designed building (e.g. in Bilbao, Los Angeles or Seattle) also represents yet another sensational path to wider distinction, it too is still just one path. The ‘scales’ to successful design (and the related project costs) fortunately can, and do vary.   
“Talented Artists in all their manifestations ... are a great, but sadly under-recognized and little used creative force ... in strengthening the appeal of otherwise unremarkable, look-a-like places and overlooked regional destinations.”   Adding that otherwise missing touch of imagination to both projects and community life itself, that can make the real difference between ordinary and extraordinary ... forgettable and unforgettable.
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