LouléCriativo: Creative Tourism experiences showcased in a digital platform, with co-creation by CCIs SMEs enterpreneurship, local community role and mentoring.
Loulé district of Faro, PT, sought to increase overnight stays in the city historic centre, in order to counterbalance sun and beach tourism, as well as to extend the activity on the low season. Creative tourism adopted as Loulé owns a very rich heritage due to the coexistence of various cultures throughout its history. The Municipality fostered the creation of a local network, gathering craftsmen, artists, festival organisers, CCIs SMEs, hospitality and tourism entrepreneurs, as well as public bodies, under the brand “LouléCriativo”.

They started by co-creating a wide array of creative tourism experiences with the local stakeholders, showcased in a digital platform. Such interest, led to the recovery of old trades, through the creation of “ECOA, Spaces for knowledge, crafts and arts”, and Loulé Design Lab, whose - successful - mission is clearly to make Loulé an international leader in design. Thus, the traditional craft sector has been converting into a world renown creative hub.

Although the whole city and local stakeholders of all kinds, are benefiting from this strategy, the direct beneficiaries are the CCIs, and handicrafts, and more particularly the SMEs, for whom the impact is measurable in terms of training, job creation (especially traditional trades: coppersmiths, luthier, watchmakers), economic growth, empowerment and and inclusiveness of vulnerable communities (youth and women), heritage recovery, SME’s international competitiveness and unseasonality.

Resources needed

“LouléCriativo” is fully funded by Loulé Municipality under tourism, trade, crafts, arts & culture budget items. The team is 10 persons.

The annual membership fee as a Creative Friendly Destination of the CreativeTourismNetwork® is €1000, which includes services in terms of advice and promotion.

Evidence of success

Immediate success was due to the interest of both locals and visitors for the co-creative experiences.

The most visible achievements are the daily publications referring to the successful program of creative tourism experiences, to which locals and tourists participate throughout the years.

The offer is updated following the traditional calendar, which guarantee its authenticity.

Success is also visible in the international impact of the Loulé Design Lab, as an incubator for CCIs SMEs.

Difficulties encountered

Any important challenge was pointed out in the development process, which confirms that the public / private partnership is a satisfying formula that in this case, was facilitated by the spontaneous adhesion of the local stakeholders. Other beneficiaries are the services related to tourism industry.

Potential for learning or transfer

The CCIs SMEs involved have the opportunity to combine tourism entrepreneurship, with their main creative and art activity throughout the year. This is possible thanks to the legal framework and tools provided by the public administration, that allow them to focus on the creative contents.

A key feature is to involve the local communities by arousing their interest for their own intangible heritage, traditions and know-how. This stimulated the offer on the short-term, all year-long and guarantee the authenticity of the experience.

A main achievement is the linkage created between all the local stakeholders, that contribute to create a narrative for the destinations. Every partner of the project (craftsmen, artists, , CCIs, festivals, hospitality sector, services etc), explicitly promote LouléCriativo, which is certainly the most sustainable way to promote such a program, through empathy.

The main beneficiary is the city at its whole, be they as a destination or as a place.

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Main institution
Commission for Regional Development and Coordination of Algarve
Algarve, Portugal
Start Date
November 2015
End Date


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Good Practices being followed by

Eliana Raytcheva

Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency