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Leonardo da Vinci: Cultural Heritage Tourism Network (CHTN)

NAVIGATOR supported the design and application of a Leonardo da Vinci pilot programme led by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

Client: Project Consortium comprising:

CHTN in an international network of institutions, companies, NGOs and other partners dedicated to the development of cultural and heritage tourism. CHTN was initially developed with support from the European Commission's Leonardo da Vinci programme. 
Led by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), CHTN includes partners from Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Spain.

We have developed and tested 8 vocational training modules for enterprises and other target groups.

These modules include:

  • Cultural Heritage Tourism Marketing
  • Traditional Gastronomy
  • Business Development Skills
  • Organisation of Cultural Events
  • Natural & Cultural Walking Tours
  • Traditional Wineries - Oenology
  • Rural Tourism Development
  • Cultural Tourism Development.

The original phase of CHTN lasted from 1998 - 2000, and saw the inception of the training network and the initial investment in training resources. Today, CHTN is continuing its activities through further project development.

The complete list of partners is seen below.

Cyprus
Cyprus Tourism Organisation
Cyprus College of Tourism & Hotel Management
Association of Cultural & Special Interest Tourism
Cyprus Agrotourism Company

Greece
NAVIGATOR Development Consulting International Ltd.
The Athens Centre
ARIADNE S.A. Development Company of Naxos

Ireland
University College Cork
Cork County Vocational Educational Committee
IRD Duhallow

Spain
Centro del Professorado de Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Municipality of El Rosario
Bodegas Flores, Bodegas Vinatigno, La Blasina Hotel

Background to Business Development Skills

Precise statistics on crafts micro-enterprises across the European Union are difficult to obtain. However, it is evident that traditional artisans and other micro-enterprises operating in the area of cultural heritage and traditional products represent an integral part of traditional fabric of a tourism destination, and more importantly, a society.

Most artisans have extensive knowledge of their art, but usually few competencies in business management. It is usually quite difficult for traditional artisans to:

  • Communicate effectively with tourism channels (intermediaries) as well as tourists;
  • Understand the  financial basis of their operations, and in particular how to price their products and/or services;
  • Deal with tourism seasonality and the competing demands of local (or national) customers, and foreign customers (tourists).

Navigator’s training module, entitled Business Development Skills, was designed to support the viability of these small or micro-enterprises by improving their management capacity. By doing so, this would support the survival and growth of artisans, and create a more rewarding, authentic tourism experience for visitors.

The module was prefaced by a needs analysis implemented among a group of SCEs in Naxos Island, the focus of the Greek project. These included:

  • The Apiranthos Womens’ Association
  • Ariadne S.A. Development Company of Naxos
  • Kagiorgis Marble Sculptures
  • Narkissos Ceramics
  • Naxos Academy
  • Naxos Tours
  • Takis’ Shop
  • Tsimbalakis Cheese Products
  • Vallindras Kitro Distrilleries
  • Zorpides Wood Carving

The needs analysis was also generalised across the group of SMEs participating in the project from Cyprus, Ireland and Spain (Tenerife). The needs analysis revealed the following broad findings:

  • Most artisans had finished lower secondary formal schooling; a few had finished upper secondary. Most learning was achieved in the family enterprise, through apprenticeship-style competencies. Tertiary-level vocational education and academic education were missing.
  • A main weakness was the lack of foreign language ability among the current generation of owner-managers. To some extent, this was compensated by their children, who had some exposure to foreign languages in school. However, the children usually did not work the same hours during the summer vacation: communication with visiting tourists was a major barrier.
  • At the time, visa cards or other facilities for large-value purchases were uncommon. This means that in the case of valuable products purchased as gifts, settlement had to be in cash. Shipping arranged by the artisan was not a common service.
  • With the development of modern economies, the artisanal tradition passing from generation to generation is in danger of extinction. Few young people want to stay in the same village, learning from their parents, and continuing the family enterprise. Similarly, few young people want to work the sometimes difficult hours, in uncomfortable work conditions.
  • The generation of owner-manager artisans does not have extensive time for classroom learning. Learning would have to take place in the quiet part of the season, for not more than 3-4 hours per day.
  • Learning would have to be highly visual, and comprise case studies and examples from similar, more successful businesses in Greece or other countries. The focus should be on simplicity and on practical tools, not extensive theory.
  • There was a remarkable lack of understanding of the global tourism market or the aspirations of the modern tourist. While most artisans are exposed to this market, they cannot identify the roles of the travel agent, tour operator, local tour guide, tour rep, car rental firm, local agent, hotel receptionist or other decision-maker or influencer on tourism routes or purchases. Tourism is perceived as a homogenised industry: all tourists are largely perceived as being the same type of customer.
  • The existing vocational training opportunities are dominated by public-financed, subsidised learning. Unfortunately, these opportunities are largely unsuitable, as they are structured towards subsidy-absorption rather than learning outcomes expressed through a measurable business impact. Thus, the training offered under the EU Structural Funds tends to be:
    • Highly academic: It relies on lecture notes, without cases, graphics or pictures, which are recycled from tertiary vocational training organisations, and delivered by professors without an adequate background either in tourism or artisanal development.
    • Resource-based: The EU-financed vocational adult training tends to follow rules-based procedures for cash disbursement and expenditure. Thus, programmes are structured around a certain number of hours of classroom learning. The hours are usually based on 8-hour modules to match the need of a visiting professor-lecturer, not the needs of the adult learners, who are fully-employed professionals working during the tourism season. The subsidy is usually granted on the basis of a certain number of hours of instruction and classroom attendance, not individualised support within small enterprises.
    • Theoretical: The quality of the curricula observed have been adapted from other tourism vocations which do not correspond to artisanal micro-enterprises. These presume a large, existing body of knowledge or other pre-conditions which is simply not the case in the sample group observed. The main focus is on the absorption of information and knowledge, not on practical, competency-building learning which leads to a business impact.
  • The artisans take a high degree of pride in their work, which is usually painstaking and requires long hours, physical dexterity and a real “art” to complete. Yet they are typically unable to express this in their workshops or points of sale. There is a lack of video recordings, demonstrations, brochures or other literature which shows exactly how long and how difficult it is to develop some of these crafts, or what respect for the local environment and heritage is required. Products sold independently in tourist high-street shops are typically stripped from the context of their creation. As a result, the tourist cannot understand the value of the product being purchased, or the cultural context from which it has emerged.
  • Although the artisans involved are in this business to “make a living”, they respect the integrity and ethics of their profession. Money-making is not the primary objective of their work. Similarly, they are unaware of basic financial principles of sales, pricing and cash flow.

These findings were used to develop the training programme for business development skills, which was tested in Naxos in 1998-1999. The basic pedagogical approach to the training design was:

  • A blended learning approach, combining classroom training with case studies, field trips, a group activity and individual coaching and counselling;
  • Short modules with ample use of cases, checklists, and practical information;
  • A group activity, uniting all participants in the class. This was typically either organising a regional crafts fair, or designing and implementing a crafts route;
  • Individual counselling sessions, applying what has been learned to the specific enterprise.

In addition to the role of the trainer in facilitating learning, the participants are expected to learn from each other by sharing their experience, outlining their basic challenges, and recounting how they developed means of addressing these challenges.

Business Development Skills for Small Heritage & Cultural Enterprises

Navigator has developed a training module on business development skills for small heritage and cultural enterprises. An overview of this module is seen below.

Session 1:        Classroom Session: Tourism Overview
Session 2:        Classroom Session: Planning your Work and your Enterprise
Session 3:        Crafts Demonstration
Session 4:        Classroom Session: Fundamentals of Crafts Marketing
Session 5:        Classroom Session: Activities Based Costing
Session 6:        Field Trip
Session 7:        Group Activity Planning
Session 8:        Group Activity Planning
Session 9:        Group Activity Planning
Session 10:      Group Activity Implementation
Session 11:      Classroom Session: Conclusions & Individual Review
Session 12:      Individual Work & Counselling
Session 13:      Individual Work & Counselling
Session 14:      Individual Work & Counselling
Session 15:      Classroom Session: Conclusions & Individual Review

There are five classroom-based segments of 4 hours duration. Each should be scheduled to allow time for participants with professional commitments. Time for field trips and group activities should be planned: a minimum of two 4-hours sessions for the activity are recommended (1 session preparation with trainer guidance; 1 session implementation / presentation of the activity).

The group activity is typically a crafts exhibition, whereby each participant demonstrates their specific craft. The venue is typically provided by the community: a school, municipal foyer, etc. The event involves:

  • Creating a basic description in English of the background and value of their craft;
  • Organising images, video or exhibits of the craft: photos, looms, products, etc.;
  • Arranging a display stand of products for sale and for sampling;
  • Marketing the event in the local community through fliers, posters, internet and word-of-mouth;
  • Holding the exhibition and interacting with local and tourist participants.

Each participant is asked to go through a checklist of options for his/her own craft, but also to take responsibility for:

  • Showing how the craft springs from the local heritage and culture, and
  • Take responsibility for one or more tasks for the entire group.

The concluding session should be no more than 1-2 hours, with short individual review and discussions held with each participant (5 – 10 minutes each) prior to the concluding session.

At the heart of the approach is the Individual Work & Counselling. Each participant should have a 4-hour individual session, held at their place of work, applying what has been learned in the classroom to their specific enterprise and situation. There should be a one-week interval between each individual session, enabling the participant/s to apply and implement practical results from the training.

Training Objectives

The objective of this training module is to support the continuing development of small heritage and crafts enterprises (SCEs) through the provision of services to the tourism sector.

The specific actions undertaken in this module to reach this objective are:

  • Review modern tourism development and its impact on SCE activities;
  • Develop a framework for strategic enterprise planning relevant to SCE needs;
  • Document the basic activities relevant to an SCE;
  • Outline marketing and promotional activities on an SCE and regional basis;
  • Develop activities-based costing methods;
  • Create specific methods for linking the SCE to incoming tourist resources;
  • Develop business planning and analytical skills;
  • Support individual public speaking and presentation skills as well as group activities.

What is a “Small Heritage and Crafts Enterprise?”
An SCE is typically a micro-enterprise active on one of the sectors of heritage or cultural tourism. Examples of SCEs include:

  • Agrotourism hotels;
  • Artisans such as potters and ceramists; traditional weavers; other craftspeople;
  • Cooperatives of artists or artisans promoting a traditional craft or art form;
  • Producers of traditional foods, spirits and liqueurs.

In each example, the emphasis is on SCEs which are oriented towards both the local (nationa) as well as the tourism market. Such enterprises are characterised by extensive owner involvement: Most SCEs are managed and operated by a single artisan or a family.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module, the participants should be in a position to present a basic business development plan for developing their SCE. This should include the basic elements:

  • Identification of final customers
  • Identification of channels
  • Selection and costing of marketing and promotional material
  • Developing and costing in-store/in workshop activities
  • Planning general income, expenditure, profit/loss and cash flow

Target Group

  • Individuals artisans and craftspeople;
  • Staff of small crafts enterprises and businesses;
  • Travel industry staff interested in developing cultural tourism activities and products;
  • Staff from regional authorities, municipalities and associations.

Indicative Requirements for Participation

  • Command of the English language;
  • Prior experience in business management or planning at the operational level;
  • Awareness of regional cultural heritage;
  • Understanding of tourism industry.

This module is intended for a craftsperson interested in developing his / her enterprise from the management viewpoint, rather than for a manager seeking to learn a craft.

Organisation & Logistics

Number of Participants:        8 – 16 people
Class Training Duration:       20 hours
Group Activity Duration:        20 hours minimum
Individual Support:               12 hours minimum/participant
Evaluation Time:                  1 hour
Field Trips:                          recommended
Equipment Required:             Large whiteboard / blackboard (minimum 2 m x 1 m)
Overhead projector or laptop PC projector & laptop
Bulletin boards for exhibits & Meta-Plan activities
1 – 2 large tables for exhibits & samples
Meta Plan kit (coloured markers, scissors, tacks / tape, etc.)