Cultural Tourism At Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Cultural Tourism Typologies

In the current era, the tourism is divided into different types because the motive of people for visiting the places is changing. The purpose of visiting the places by the people is changing accordingly the types of tourism are increasing. One of the major reason due to which the people are visiting different places is culture. Cultural tourism is the subset of tourism that is concerned with the engagement of travellers with the country or region’s culture. The cultural tourism allows the visitors to understand the value of the culture of different countries or places. The report reflects the cultural tourism at Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

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The aim of the report is to investing the cultural aspects of Plovdiv, Bulgaria as a European capital of culture 2019. Plovdiv is the second biggest city in Bulgaria and the town is situated in south-central Bulgaria (Investment destination Plovdiv, 2014). The exact location of the place is 150 km from Sofia, 19 km from Assenovgrad and approx. 90 km from Stara Zagora. Plovdiv is divided into two parts; one of the old towns occupies the 3 eastern hills, the lower town spread in the plain below. Another part is the modern town which shows the trade and culture centre. The place includes the bunch of museums, churches, banks, hotels, bazaars and many others (Plovdiv, 2018). Plovdiv modern town provides the entertainment and rich cultural life to the tourist.

The cultural tourism includes a different range of typologies that might vary according to the destination. The typologies are the classification that is done according to the general type as it may include archaeology, psychology or the social sciences. In other words, the cultural tourism refers to as the genre of special interest tourism that is based on the psychological, emotional and other elements. The classification of the cultural tourism is done on the basis of elements which include mass and passive tourism. The cultural tourism at Plovdiv, Bulgaria is divided into the segments of the classical attraction of the cultural tourism. These segments are: –

  • Built and material values: – In this typology, the buildings, material values of art forms are included. In Plovdiv, there is the presence of the different museums that show the history and culture of the country. Along with this, the place is colourful when talking about the craft and art (Guide Bulgaria, 2018).
  • Cultural values that are connected to lifestyle: – This typology includes the lifestyle, leisure, habits, gastronomy and other elements. The culture that is followed by the local people is linked with the history. Most of the people in their leisure time visit the Knyaz Aleksandar market which is considered as busiest spot (Plovdiv Guide, 2018).
  • Events and festivals: – This typology includes the festivals and events that take place in the place. Plovdiv includes the winter festival of symphony music which is held in the month of January of every year. Along with this, in the fair camp different international exhibitions take place (Plovdiv Guide, 2018).

Plovdiv is the city with the population of approx. 368,469 people that are accounting for 4.9% of the total of the country. In the town, the major cultural products are the art and craft that is done by the people in the country. The visitors find the much interest in the culture, history, religion and architecture of the place which is the cultural products. Along with this, the classical concerts that take place at the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra concert hall which grab the attention of a large number of visitors.

Cultural Products of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The cultural products are linked with the market of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The major cultural product is art and craft. In Plovdiv, there are dozens of small shops that are positioned with hand-made work of arts of about 100 artists from all over the country. The art is available in the form of hand-made clothes and unique accessories. Along with this, the products that are made up of leather are also available in the shops. Most of the tourist who visits the place always appreciate the shops that are decorated with the arts (Lost in Plovdiv, 2018). Along with this, the shops of the place are one of the reasons due to which tourist get attracted. The visitors who enter the shops find the glass jewellery, paintings, hand-painted icons and different mirror works. In addition, near the area of the market, there is the availability of the museums and churches which grab the attention of visitors easily.

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In the modern town, near the market, there is the availability of the entertainment facilities which include Symphony Music festival and exhibitions. This show the key cultural products are related to the market of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. These cultural factors can easily attract the visitors towards the place.

McKercher and Du Cros introduced the cultural tourism market diagram in which they provided the details related to the different tourist types of the cultural tourism. The below given is the cultural tourism Market diagram: –

The typology of cultural tourist by McKercher and Du Cros

This diagram was formed with the motive to analyse the importance of cultural tourism in making the decision to visit a destination. The diagram is based on the four major elements that are low, high, deep and shallow (Jovicic, 2016). These elements are related to the experience sought of the tourist.

The diagram shows that there are different tourist types of the cultural tourism which include: –

  • Serendipitous cultural tourist: – This cultural tourist is the tourist who does not travel for the cultural reason but after visiting the destination ends up with a deep cultural experience.
  • Purposeful cultural tourist: – These tourists found that cultural tourism is one of the primary motives for visiting a destination and the tourist found the deep cultural experience (AMA Culture Hive, 2018).
  • Incidental cultural tourist: – The tourist doesn’t travel for the cultural reason but nevertheless contributes to specific activities and has shallow experiences.
  • Casual cultural tourist: – The cultural tourism is the weak motive for the tourist for travel and results in experience are shallow.
  • Sightseeing cultural tourist: – These cultural tourists are the primary reason for experiencing a destination but the experience is less deep (Chen and Huang, 2018).

The above are the different types of the tourist that are categorised in the cultural tourism. These tourists visit the place with different motives. According to the analysis, this has been found that most of the tourist would visit Plovdiv with the motive of sightseeing cultural tourist. The tourist needs in a total of 2-3 days to get around the sights that are present in Plovdiv which include going into the museums and old houses (Plovdiv Sightseeing, 2018).

The old town is the compact but it is built on three hills and the streets with few pavements that are made up of cobblestones. Apart from the old town, the tourist is required to visit the modern town in which there is the availability of the Archaeological Museum, Roman stadium and many others places. All these places reflect the culture of the place due to which the tourist visits the place. Apart from the sightseeing cultural tourist, there is the probability that the casual cultural tourist can also visit the place (Plovdiv Sightseeing, 2018). The casual tourist who visits the place Bulgaria will like to visit Plovdiv at once and after visiting the place they get connected with the culture and art of the place.

European Capital of Culture 2019

The city of Plovdiv has been declared by the European Commission the European Capital of culture 2019. This leads to the impact on the city and the country which is discussed by analysing the social, economic and environmental impact. Plovdiv is the first Bulgarian city chosen that is selected for the European Capital of culture (Plovdiv 2019 European Capital of Culture, 2018). This is one of the unique projects for Bulgaria which offers the attractive opportunities for bringing development of the potential of the city and the new international visibility and a perspective on Bulgarian culture as a whole. This programme includes the activities and the events in the south central region of the country. The aim of the program is to the diversity of the culture present within Europe.

The country and the city will face the numerous impacts if they will host the European Capital of Culture in 2019. This program works with the aim to bring the economic, political and social benefits both to the cities and the countries who organizes the event. Along with this, this is the way through which they can maintain the EU exchanges and interconnections. This impact which is faced by the country can be positive or negative and the same has been discussed below: –

Social factors

The social factors include the effect on the lifestyle, religion, family, cultural values and social values. Some of these factors are discussed below: –

Quality of living

The cultural event will affect positively to the country and city as it will improve the living of people because the event will give an invitation to the numerous countries cross different culture. These visitors make the contribution by sponsoring the different companies and within the growth of the country. This will contribute to improve the quality of living.

Awareness and participation in ECOC

In Bulgaria, the event will bring the rise in awareness and participation of the people by bringing new events and programs related to the cultural values. Along with this, the people of Plovdiv get motivated towards the culture of the country (European Commission, 2018). The youth of Plovdiv is proactive towards the cultural values and they respect their culture. ECoC will the youth to understand the culture of different countries which will help them to represent the country when they will get the opportunity.

Economic factors

The economic factors include the GDP, inflation, living standard of people and other factors that can affect the economics of the country directly or indirectly (Nelson, 2015). Some of the factors are explained in detail: –

Impact of the Cultural Tourism on the City and Country

Growth in tourism

European capital of culture will increase the awareness for the country and city due to which most of the tourist would like to visit the place. This will bring the rise in the number of tourist within the country. The expected data for the people who stay in accommodation of Plovdiv by the year 2020 is 123,869 foreign visitors (Plovdiv – European Capital Of Culture 2019, 2015).

New business opportunities

European capital of culture will bring the rise in the business opportunities for Bulgaria and Plovdiv. The business from the different countries likes to expand their business operations in Bulgaria due to which there will be new opportunities for the job (Plovdiv – European Capital Of Culture 2019, 2015). This will reduce the unemployment rate of the country and the GDP of the country will improve. The rise in GDP will further contribute to developing the countries.

The environmental factors include the physical environment of the country or city which consist of the surroundings (Department for Cultural Media & Sport, 2018). European capital of culture event can affect the negatively on the environment. Some of the factors are discussed below: –

Land use

Organizing an event include the use of land where the event will take place. This event can exploit the productivity of the land which directly impacts the surroundings of the place.

Carbon emission

The carbon emission is one of the major factors that get affected due to the production of some or other merchandise. This mission directly impacts the useful resources which is one of the major impacts on the environment (European Capital of Culture, 2014).

Wastage of resources

The wastage of resources is one of the major environmental issues that are faced by the country. Organizing such a big event include use of the resources but at the same time these resources which include the exploitation of the infrastructure due to excessive consumption. Moreover, there is excessive use of the resources due to poor waste streams that can ruin the experience of the visitors (Department for Cultural Media & Sport, 2018).

Doxey’s Irridex (1975) presented the model that provides the analysis of the effects of the tourism development on the social relationship between the host and tourists. This model includes the four basic stages of the tourism development along with their influence on both host and tourists (Slavov, 2018). These stages are explained with the help of the image given below: –

Talking about the Doxey’s Irridex model on Plovdiv in terms of the destination development, this has been found that the city is on stage 1 that is Euphoria. The city has the small number of tourist at present and these tourists are willing to get merged with the host. Along with this, there is the limited presence of commercial activity. This is the current stage because currently, the development of tourist is not on a hike. According to the report, this is found that Plovdiv has a richness of the affordable accommodation possibilities. The city has approx. 101 accommodation facilities with 3500 beds. Moreover, the EU funding is bringing the improvement in the public infrastructure and key utilities that will provide the benefit to the city to increase the number of tourists. In addition, the place doesn’t have its own international airport but it is one hour to Sofia and two hours to Burgas.

Once the event of European capital of culture will be organized then the tourism development will increase which makes the country to shift to the stage 2 that is Apathy. In this stage, the number of visitors will increase and this will make the country to take the visitors for granted. The relationship between the host and tourist remain formalised. In the coming few years, this is expected that the city will reach the irritation stage in which the growth in tourists number will take place. Along with this, the competition between the resources has an influence on the tourist and resident of the city (Zhang, Wong & Lai, 2018). This development of destination will bring the improvement in the quality of living standards of local residents due to which these people can immigrate to the other countries of Bulgaria.

Trends and developments that a destination would require to be categorised as a future European Capital of Culture 

Plovdiv would require to be categorised as future European Capital of Culture for which there is need of trends and development of the destination. The development of the destination is one of the ways in which it will be able to get nominated again in the near future. Some of the developments are given below: –

Gaining the participation of minorities

Plovdiv needs to develop in such a way that it will be able to gain the trust and participation mainly in Roma/Turks. Plovdiv should remove the social division and break the borders among the different groups. This is essential because European Capital of Culture will consider the fact the fact that the city has brought the change in attitudes towards the minorities (Candidate for European capital of culture, 2018).

Promoting togetherness

The city needs to show their unity towards the European audience which will attract them for highlighting the cultural heritage of Plovdiv. Along with this, this is possible with the improvement in communication and corporation between the local administration, citizen and business of Plovdiv.

Plug into Europe

Plovdiv needs to position the city on the map of Europe and this can be done by focusing on the assets of the past for its future of European country. This will help the city to become the future European Capital of Culture host. Along with this, the culture needs to add the own style and approach that is related to the diversity of the European culture.

Utilizing the isolated landmarks

The development is required at Plovdiv at the isolated landmarks such as seven hills and the Maritsa river with the help of the artistic intervention. Moreover, the city should bring back life to some building with the prominent architectures like famous tobacco warehouses (Candidate for European capital of culture, 2018).

Mobilizing resources 

There is a need to integrate the cultural and tourist development as a part of the long-term city development. Plovdiv needs to develop both the cultural and touristic infrastructure which can be done by resolving the long-lasting uncertainty that is concerning to the ownership of the historical sites and the cultural elements as this can block the development. In addition, there is a need for the sustainable long-term integration of the resources which include both natural and cultural resources.

European Capital of Culture is a city that is designated by the EU for a period of a year during that period it organises a series of the cultural events and festivals. The selection for the nominated host country is done for the two capitals every year. The eligibility for the European Capital of Culture is open to cities in EU states.

The required criteria for the nomination is the bidding process in which the decision is taken by the European Parliament and the Council of European Union which is a legal basis for the monitoring and selection process. For this bidding process, the company need to register their applications for the six years in advance. The selection process for the European Capitals of Culture 2020 is now going on in which Ireland and Croatia are presently running their competitors for 2020. In the current bidding process, the commission is monitoring the entire process but don’t interfere (Avison, 2015). The selection is done by the jury which is an independent panel. Then the recommendation related to the city will be given to the government. Moreover, the government select the country on their cultural aspects. It includes the togetherness in the cultural, values of people, diversity, and many others. The accommodation, entertainment facility and infrastructure developments are also required.

Conclusion 

In the end, it can be concluded that the Plovdiv, Bulgaria is one of the major destinations that is famous because of its cultural tourism. The destination is rich in cultural values and tourism which is one of the reason due to which the people visit the place. The report shows the analysis of the cultural aspects of Plovdiv, Bulgaria as a European capital of culture 2019. Along with this, there is a description of the McKercher and Du Cros (2002) Cultural Tourism Market diagram. In addition, the impact on the country or city is discussed after the declaration of European Capital of Culture 2019. In the end, there is description related to the trends and developments that a destination need to considered as a future European Capital of Culture.

References 

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