Arthur Araújo is an assistant professor of Marketing of Tourism Products and Tourism and Sustainability at Ensino Lusófona and the co-director of the Transdisciplinary Research Center for Ecosystem Entrepreneurship & Innovation (Centro de Investigação Transdisciplinar para o empreendorismo e inovação).
In this brief interview, Arthur expresses his view on the role of audiovisual communication in the context of tourism and how a festival like ART&TUR can contribute resilience and sustainability of the industry, while also discussing the history of his collaboration with the festival and revealing a little about himself and his projects.
What do you think is the role of audiovisual communication in the context of tourism?
A: Audiovisual communication plays an extremely important role in tourism, especially on how we perceive a destination and therefore in the process of choice. Since, in tourism, we buy the promise of an experience, we make decisions about travel destinations based on what we know (or think we know) about them and the emotions we associate with them.
These constructs are shaped and constantly transformed through different stimuli, including audiovisual communication, whether it’s organic (movies and series, for example) or induced (official promotional content from destinations). Audiovisual communication makes it possible to deliver to the potential visitor one of the closest experiences to a “sample” of the destination, so the effect it has on our perception is quite relevant, as shown by several studies in the area.
Naturally, organic sources, as they are not (in theory) controlled by destinations, are usually effective since the conveyed information is seen as more reliable. Hence the importance of organisations dedicated to promoting destinations as locations for film productions, such as Centro Portugal Film Commission.
There are, however, ways to imbue destination promotional campaigns with the “inherent” credibility of organic sources, as in most of the films participating in ART&TUR. This is achieved, for example, using a promotional video as a tool to stimulate user-generated content on social media. This way, we get the best of both worlds: control over the message, typical of destination’s official communication; and the perceived authenticity of the information, characteristic of the content shared by visitors.
These, alongside other good practices in the promotion of destinations through audiovisual, have been increasingly adopted by Portuguese Destination Management Organisations (DMO’s), such as Turismo do Centro and ART&TUR is an exceptional aggregator of good examples.
How can ART&TUR contribute to increasing sustainability and resilience in tourism?
A: Simply put, by promoting synergies between tourism and audiovisual.
Organisational resilience, from which the concept of resilience of tourist destinations derives, means being able to adapt to adverse conditions, learning from them and coming out of it stronger, as a result. To achieve it, destinations need to offer an excellent product suited to what tourists are looking for now.
Every year, the festival gathers a huge number of well-made successful campaigns, thus becoming a showcase for good practices in destination branding that allows both national and international destination managers to improve their skills and exchange best practices. Therefore, ART&TUR contributes to the effectiveness of national and international tourist promotion, through which we will be able to demonstrate that every corner of Portugal is prepared to receive tourists now, with the conditions and quality standards it demands.
Naturally, “homework” needs to be done as well. Promoting properly, by itself, is of little to no use. Destinations need to effectively offer conditions that better suit the requirements of today’s tourist. It is also necessary to have highly qualified professionals who ensure that every interaction between the tourist and anyone involved in the provision of touristic services is a positive component of the experience, which also involves taking care of hygiene and sanitary safety. Finally, it is necessary to have hospitality that transcends simple quality of service.
All of this is beyond the scope of the festival, however, the synergies created in ART&TUR, even if indirectly, contribute to each of these variables. For example, by bringing together examples of excellent destinations, it instigates competition for differentiation and raises the bar setting new standards which destinations must aspire to in order to thrive.
Considering the above, I believe that ART&TUR effectively contributes to the competitiveness and resilience of destinations.
How many years have you collaborated with ART&TUR and what would you highlight about this collaboration?
A: I presented an article in the academic component of ART&TUR in 2015 (International Conference on Film Tourism and Destination Branding). It was then that I met Francisco Dias, as well as several members of the jury and the organisation of the festival. The following year, I was not in Portugal at the time of the event, however, in 2017 I was invited to join the jury, for the first time, and the invitation has been renewed annually ever since.
Other “official” highlights from my collaboration with ART&TUR would be a keynote speech I presented in the 2019 edition, with the theme “Cinema and Tourism – two universes that cross in the same territories“, and the moderation of two sections: one on surfing in Africa, back in 2018; and one on the role of emotions in the tourist experience, in 2020.
However, the soul of ART&TUR lies in the interaction between people from different personal and professional backgrounds, united by their common interest in tourism and audiovisual. It is this exchange that makes each issue a memorable experience for members of the jury, keynote speakers, academics presenting articles, etc.
As an academic, for example, I loved presenting a work and talking about my area of study at ART&TUR, as the feedback I got from the audience was totally different from what I had experienced at any academic conference. Furthermore, these discussions always generate post-presentation conversations, that end up turning into professional bonds and even friendships.
Therefore, more than the moments registered in certificates, what I really highlight from my collaboration with ART&TUR are the interactions and the established contacts.
Tell us a little about yourself and your projects.
A: Unlike most members of the jury, I’m not an audiovisual producer, but a professor and researcher in the field of tourism. My connection with the festival stems from my line of research in film tourism, which I developed during my master’s and doctoral thesis, at Universidade de Aveiro, academic curiosity about the subject, however, stems from my graduation at Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, in Brazil.
Currently, I am an assistant professor at Ensino Lusófona, lecturing Marketing of Tourism Products and Tourism and Sustainability, where the relationship between tourism and audiovisual is frequently addressed.
I also lecture Research Methods and Final Project, where I have had the satisfaction of supervising works in this area. In the current finalist class, for example, there is a student investigating the role of films and series in the image of Colombia as a tourist destination. Another one is developing a film tourism development plan for Portugal.
Additionally, I am the co-director of the Transdisciplinary Research Center for Ecosystem Entrepreneurship & Innovation (Centro de Investigação Transdisciplinar para o empreendorismo e inovação), which allows my involvement in research projects in other areas, like sustainable tourism as well as management issues, such as the role of human resource diversity in the resilience of organisations.