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Stoke-on-Trentor simply Stoke is a city in England. The city was part of thefederation of six owns created in 1910. The Federation broughttogether towns such as Hanley,Burslem, Longton, and Stoke. It also included two districts namelyTunstall and Fenton. Stoke was the seat of power although Hanley andBurslem that were more established. The legacy of the federationremains undiminished with the locals referring it as Stoke-on-Trent.Also known as, ‘the Potteries’, Stoke-on-Trentis the home of pottery in England. As of 2011, the region had apopulation of about 469,000. The essay will consider a proposal thatseeks to support the Stoke on Trent to be considered as a possiblecandidate for European Capital of Culture 2020. In the essay, I willidentify and analyze specific cultural aspects of Stoke on Trent forthe city to be considered as a candidate.
Already,the city has a tourism service whose responsibility is to help inpromoting tourism activities. Tourism has great a contribution to theeconomy of the city.Stoke-on-TrentTourist Information Centregives the visitors’ information about the city and destinationservices. Based in the PotteriesMuseum & Art Gallery,the center provides information about events and places.Additionally,there is the StaffordshireStoke-on-Trent Conference Bureauthat is responsible for marketing and advertising campaigns. Theplatform helps in creating awareness about Staffordshireas a great conference destination. The administrators of the cityhave developed a culture of investing in technology to help inmarketing their destinations. Looking at the investments andinfrastructures in the city shows the authorities are determined togrow the town as a cultural center (ThePotteries, 2008, para. 7).
Tourismstarted in Stoke begun with the National Garden Festival in 1986. Thecity administrators have maintained lottery shops, tours to enhancecultural, and heritage tourism. Various forms arts have beenpreserved. The city has PotteriesMuseum & Art Gallerythat has fine ceramics and exhibitions. Barewall Gallery hascollections from the local artists and potteries. Contemporary artand collections are found in the Artbay Gallery. Celebrated painters,such as Vicky Mount and Kelvin Evans, come from the Stoke. The cityhas also created institutions to promote art such as EdwardianSchool of Art.Additionally, the city has theaters for a range of events. Bigtheaters such as Regent Theatre have the capacity to host over 1,600people. Theater is an important area to host events for art andcultural events. Odeon is another cinema park in the city that makesit a good candidate for the EuropeanCapital of Culture (Baverstock,2010, p. 43).Forthe art lovers, the artworks found in the city offer a breathtakingpiece that integrate a limitless and fantastic sense of imaginationwith his meticulous and perfect technique of art collection.Artwork displayed through expeditions and seminar in different partsof the city would help in sensitizing people about the varioussocial-cultural issues. Declaration of the city as a cultural centerwould also help artists to explain their objectives to the audience.
Developmentof cultural and heritage tourism in the Stoke is defined by the richand huge tourism potential in the city. The city administrators havegreatly adopted approaches to help in the conservation of heritagetourism. Many researchers in the industry have come up with models toassess the potential of heritage tourism as well as how well tomanage heritage assets. The models used by the researchers includethe analytical hierarchy process that provides a way systemizing thechallenges involved by incorporating the stakeholders concerned.Additionally, there is the resource-based model that evaluates themarket and competitive potential of a tourism category within adestination (Moufakkir & Pernecky, 2015, p. 131).
Culturalsites and events play an important role in the economic and socialgrowth of a country. These cultural tributes have led to the growthof heritage tourism as a tourism concept as well as promoting thepreservation of cultural heritage in the city. Development ofheritage tourism has effected changes in the social, cultural andeconomic dynamics to accommodate this new venture. This movement ofpeople to different geographical locations and establishments ofsocial relations sometimes lead to a cultural collision. Differencesin cultures, ethnic and religious groups, values, lifestyles,languages and levels of prosperity cause cultural collision. Thetourists have interests in the heritage assets such as archeologicalsites, historical buildings, and crafts. Furthermore, changes in thelabor market, changes in community structure and immigration ofworkforce are other notable social impacts of heritage tourism.Foreign and domestic tourists are now visiting countries and engagingthe locals in diverse social activities. Stoke offers a good platformfor the holidaymakers to explore various forms of arts. Preservationof culture in the area reflects the great need of the residents andauthorities to promote heritage and cultural tourism. With the goodand clean environment, adorable political processes, and locationfurther improves the standing of the city.
Administratorshave greatly refurbished theaters and cinema halls. The cityadministrators have shown through their actions that they are readyto be a candidate for European Capital ofCulture in 2020. Regarding infrastructure, the city has elaboraterail and road network that is essential for the travelers. Forholiday lovers, it is a good area for canalling. The Trent andMersey Canal serves the town with the authorities making significantimprovements to the canal system. Cycling is also made possible withthe new National Cycle Network passing within the city. In fact, theStoke is sometimes referred as the ‘Cycling City’. Tourismand hospitality industry involves recreational, sports, holidayoutings or business purposes outside the typical environment. Thecity has great cultural significance as depicted in the various artcollections and heritage. Travellers andholidaymakers look for the best and ideal places to visit to enjoyexperiences outside their normal environment. I believe the choice ofthe city will strongly support the tourism activities in the area.
Makingthe city a candidate for the European Capitalof Culture in 2020 will help attract interests fromauthorities and the public on preserving the City’s culturalheritage resources. Such recognition will enhance the socio-economicgrowth of the city. Development of communication and informationinfrastructures contributes significantly to international trade,networking and good relations among nations. Infrastructuredevelopments encourage the local people to invest and open up moreopportunities for them to engage in trade with other regions. Theirdevelopment improves the overall growth at the both the local andnational level while supporting better trade and industrydiversification.
Accordingto Tomaselli (2011), cultural authenticity is the examination ofgeneral perspective of values and beliefs that shows the particularsof our everyday life. Under the concept, it is believed that variouscultural experiences enclose every individual. Such experiencesnormally emerge from the relationship with social groupings.Tomaselli (2011) observes that human beings have the potential toremember past events and experiences. Such memories make one connectin what is believed to a ‘culturally authentic piece ofliterature’. In tourism, not all forms involve the staging ofauthenticity. It is also true that staging a local culture does notalways lead to the isolation of people in the locality. Tourism isnot defined in simple terms. Societies have their traditions while atthe same time agree with values and practices from outside. It is forthis reason that cultures are believed to ‘stage authenticity’.Some scholars believe that tourism does not involve staging ofcultural authenticity, as this would be a destructive force. It isthus appropriate to understand when staging of authenticity isdisparaging or helpful (Rothman 2003, p. 131). Tourism is known tohave great influence on the cultural changes.Cultural authenticity is a fad but has few elements that appear toreflect the future of tourism.
Tourismcan be said to be a form of art. Increased mobility, globalization,and preservation of culture have greatly encouraged people to takecultural and heritage tourism. The consumers have also changed theirneeds (Tomaselli, 2012, p. 11). Nonetheless, ‘authenticity aimedtourism’ has turned to be a controversial matter. Touriststravelling to different parts of the world meet cultures that aredifferent from their local culture. The need for authenticity withinthe industry has greatly contributed to the creation of museums andsites that give foreign reality. Every tourist desires a unique andgreat experience, apparently, the recreation of sites or eventsdenies the original features and characteristics. As such, one canargue the sites are just a mere simulation of the actual event orsite. To examine effectively the concept of authenticity in tourism,it is appropriate to explore the characteristics of the moderntourist in comparison to postmodern tourist. Some scholars explaintourism in the context of an enterprise for the rich people. Anothergroup explains tourism as a ritual in the search for authenticity. Inthe contemporary society, there increased travels for heritage andadventure tourism. As such, the contest is to explain if tourism issimulational or just the search for reality. Ideally, the motivationfor tourists is multidimensional. Some visit places to experience thetrue authenticity in the environment.
Inexamining authenticity in tourism, Zhu(2012) observes that integrationof ritual performances with the external world generates‘performative experience of the authenticity’.Such a process involves the interaction between individuals and thereality. The author believes that authenticity in tourism arises fromthe outlook of the performers. Many scholars have challenged theusage of ‘authenticity’ in the context of tourism. In most cases,tourism is a staged event. Tourists visit areas but demand the localsbehave according to the expectations of visitors to provide them anauthentic experience. Some would go to the extent of paying thelocals hence losing the real authenticity. Tourism has largely beencommercialized hence the operators will always seek to stageexperiences to attract visitors (Rothman, 2003, p. 28).
Thereis great interest among the tourism players and authorities topromote cultural tourism. Rapid economic development has resulted inthe destruction of cultural assets thus affecting the culturallandscape of the destination areas. It is hoped that heritage tourismmay educate the public the importance of heritage conservation andhelp maintain the cultural heritage within a tourism destination.Besides the quest for authenticity, development of cultural andheritage tourism will aid stepping up the cultural and social changeof a destination. Social transformation and cultural adjustments dueto the introduction of new cultures by the visiting tourists has alsotaken place in various areas. The assessment of historical,scientific and social beliefs is important in understanding theassets’ cultural worth. The proposed use of the assets needs to beappropriate to the results of the cultural significance assessmentthat will determine the tourism potential and evaluate the ability ofassets to manage increased visitation (Sharma,2004, p. 24).
Adetailed examination of tourism shows that it generates both positiveand negative consequences. Tourism has economic benefits althoughcritics argue that most of the money is left to investors. Tourismhelps in the development of infrastructure. While it creates jobopportunities, tourism is known to employ low-skilled individuals.Social and cultural effects are sometimes devastating to the nations.Postmodernism in the tourism sector generates the usual politics ofexploitation and class relations. It is thus appropriate to examinethe effects of tourism on cultural change. Innovation in the industryhas led to the destruction of some cultures and heritage. Looking atthe historical perspective will help in addressing the issue onauthenticity in tourism. Sustainability in the tourism industry isessential. Both operators and authorities should advocate forsustainable businesses where the operators are required to observeissues such as environmental awareness, ethical, and socialresponsibilities. Social responsibilities by the operators shouldinclude promotion of local culture in its quest to attract domesticclients as well as show respect for the locals. It is hoped thatheritage tourism may educate the public the importance of heritageconservation and help maintain the cultural heritage within a tourismdestination (Ivanovic, 2008, p. 9).
Asthe world becomes competitive, the hospitality industry also becomesa dynamic and competitive sector within the global economy. Theindustry experiences massive changes by the day due to increasedinnovation. Due to high competition in the market, there is a needfor the development of innovative and tactical strategies to reachtarget clients. The hospitality and tourism sectors need to integrateand utilize technology resources tools strategically to serve theirtarget clients, improve their efficiency, maximize profitability,enhance services, and maintain long-term profitability.Operators need to use appropriate strategies that will considerlegal, cultural and social significance. Such an approach will helpin the determination of tourism potential and evaluate the ability tomeet the increased visitation (Zainal, Radzi,Hashim, & Abu, 2012, p. 54). The main challenges includepoor infrastructure developments, high tax regimes, poorcommunication networks, and natural resources. Further, poorexpertise on the side of service providers may limit the potentialgrowth of the industry and hence resulting in poor quality ofservices. The challenges can be addressed through deliberateinvestment on infrastructure by the government, curriculumsdevelopment in the hospitality industry, enhanced security and propermarketing of these tourist destinations (Bennett & Strydom, 2006,p. 26). Stakeholders must invest in the infrastructure development,beef up security, quality services and offer good prices. The movewould allow the tourists to realize the value of their money andrecommend people to visit as part of goodwill.
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