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15 Nov, 2013

UN Report Highlights Power of Creativity, Culture and Tourism as Job Creators

UNESCO Media Release

Paris, 14 Nov 2013 – World trade of creative goods and services totalled a record of US$ 624 billion in 2011 and more than doubled from 2002 to 2011. At the same time, creativity and culture also have a significant non-monetary value that contributes to inclusive social development, to dialogue and understanding between peoples.

© UNESCO/International Fund for the Promotion of Culture (IFCD) – Since independence in 1990, Namibian authorities have recognized culture’s role in development

This is the main message of the Special Edition of the United Nations Creative Economy Report, “Widening local development pathways”, co-published by UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the UN Office for South-South Cooperation. The report was launched today at UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris as a major contribution also to shaping a new and bold sustainable development agenda to follow 2015 that recognizes the power of culture as an enabler and a driver.

The creative economy – which includes audiovisual products, design, new media, performing arts, publishing and visual arts – is not only one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, it is also a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings. Between 2002 and 2011, developing countries averaged 12.1 per cent annual growth in exports of creative goods.

“While creating jobs, creative economy contributes to the overall well-being of communities, individual self-esteem and quality of life, thus achieving inclusive and sustainable development. At a time when the world is shaping a new post-2015 global development agenda, we must recognize the importance and power of the cultural and creative sectors as engines of that development”, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

“Culture is both a driver and an enabler of human and sustainable development. It empowers people to take ownership of their own development, and stimulates the innovation and creativity which can drive inclusive and sustainable growth,” said Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP.

The Report builds on examples that demonstrate that how the creative economy is diverse and innovative, enhancing lives and livelihoods at the local level in developing countries. The cultural and creative industries in Argentina, for example, employ some 300,000 people and represent 3.5 per cent of the country’s GDP. In Morocco, publishing and printing employ 1.8 per cent of the labour force, with a turnover of more than US$ 370 million. The market value of the music industry was more than US$ 54 million in 2009 and has increased steadily since. In Bangkok, Thailand, there are over 20,000 businesses in the fashion industry alone, while across the region, young people are earning a living as small-scale designers.

In Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, the Chiang Mai Creative City (CMCC) initiative, a think tank cum activity and networking platform, has been launched as a cooperative endeavor by activists from the education, private and government sectors as well as local community groups.  Building upon all of the cultural  assets available locally, the CMCC aims to make the city more attractive as a place to live, work and invest, while marketing it as a prime location for investment, businesses and creative industries. The Report also features case studies about the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood), the development of home textile industry in Nantong (China) and the City of Buenos Aires support to content producers, among other examples.

The Report puts forward ten key recommendations with a view to forging new cultural pathways to development:

  • Recognise that in addition to its economic benefits, the creative economy also generates non-monetary value that contributes significantly to achieving people-centred, inclusive and sustainable development.
  • Make culture a driver and enabler of economic, social and environmental development processes.
  • Reveal opportunities through mapping local assets of the creative economy.
  • Strengthen the evidence base through rigorous data collection as a fundamental upstream investment to any coherent creative economy development policy.
  • Investigate the connections between the informal and formal sectors as crucial for informed creative economy policy development.
  • Analyse the critical success factors that contribute to forging new pathways for local creative economy development.
  • Invest in creativity, innovation and sustainable creative enterprise development across the value chain.
  • Invest in local capacity-building to empower creators and cultural entrepreneurs, government officials and private sector companies.
  • Engage in South-South cooperation to facilitate productive mutual learning and inform international policy agendas for development.
  • Mainstream culture into local economic and social development programmes, even when faced with competing priorities.

© UNESCO/International Fund for the Promotion of Culture (IFCD) –
UNESCO’s IFCD is helping artists in Benin

The report includes a complimentary web documentary which presents a visual narrative that brings the stories and people of creative economy to life – with videos, photographs, interviews and sharp data that change our perspective of what culture and development means.


The Report is organized in two volumes: a policy report and a web-documentary that brings to life cases and trends, and opportunities and challenges of creative economy on the ground.

The Report confirms the creative economy as one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy and a highly transformative one in terms of income generation, job creation and export earnings.   But this is not all there is to it.  For unlocking the potential of the creative economy also means promoting the overall creativity of societies, affirming the distinctive identity of the places where it flourishes and clusters, improving the quality of life there, enhancing local image and prestige and strengthening the resources for the imagining of diverse new futures.

The evidence provided demonstrates how the cultural and creative industries are at the core of local creative economies in the global South and how they forge “new development pathways that encourage creativity and innovation in the pursuit of inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth and development” that the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda exhorts the international community to take.

The results of the Report will inform international debates on the post-2015 UN development agenda and the role of culture in sustainable development. It speaks to decision-makers, demonstrating some of the key factors that make creative economy initiatives successful on the ground.

Click here to download the report FREE

The report cites several examples of how tourism, culture and economic growth are interlinked. Here are some of them:

Destination branding: The Bob Marley Museum

Jamaica has a large and diverse constellation of heritage tourism assets across the wide spectrum of its tangible and intangible heritage. Popular culture and festivals have also made Jamaica well-known all around the world. The Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, which was started in 1986, five years after the singer’s death, houses an 80-seat theatre; a gallery of Marley memorabilia; a library with the latest books on Bob Marley, reggae music, and more; a gift shop selling T-shirts, posters and CDs, as well as unique African arts and crafts; and the Queen of Sheba restaurant which features some of Bob Marley’s favourite vegetarian dishes. It is located at Bob Marley’s former place of residence and was home to the Tuff Gong record label and record manufacturing plant that was founded by The Wailers in 1970. In 1976, it was also the site of a failed assassination attempt on Bob Marley.

The objectives of the Museum are to protect, enhance and promote the legacy of Bob Marley, whose widow, Rita, converted the compound with the earnings from the ‘Catch a Fire” album. The family has made all the investments, using the royalties from the Marley music catalogue (the catalogue is worth $100 million and the estate $30 million). The Museum is managed by the Robert Marley Foundation (the Board of Directors consists of only family members), which is actively involved in the planning and implementation of various activities including art exhibitions, film festivals, workshops and talent shows. A major event is Bob Marley Week, hosted in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. The Museum is the most visited attraction in Kingston, with over 30,000 visitors annually, and one of the main drawing cards for heritage tourism in Jamaica. The majority of adult visitors (90 per cent) are foreigners or non-nationals. About 10 per cent of the overseas visitors are from the Jamaican diaspora or are regional tourists. The Museum also generates diplomatic tourism as visiting dignitaries often wish to visit it.

Development of the creative sector across South-East Asia is also closely linked to tourism, based notably on cultural heritage. A key recent development is that individuals in the industry are taking advantage of Internet sites that enable them to access global markets directly. Recourse to the website http://www.airbnb.com for example, allows those who would ordinarily be unable to do so to partici- pate in or benefit directly from global tourism flows and provides incentives for locals to showcase and preserve local culture. The Government of Malaysia has developed a highly successful national home-stay programme in which guests can stay in the homes of one of 3,424 selected families to experience local cuisine, culture and daily life. In November 2012, the programme won a United Nations World Tourism Organization Ulysses Award for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism. Food tourism is becoming an important source of income in Malaysia and Indonesia, and growing number of small firms that are being created are headed or staffed by women assuming functions as instructors and tour guides.

The Gauteng Creative Mapping Project

The Gauteng Creative Mapping Project, a study commissioned in 2008 by the government of South Africa’s Gauteng province in partnership with the British Council, quantified the contribution of the creative industries to the economy. A secondary aim was to gather information on perceived needs and obstacles to ensure the alignment of policy and programmes to the needs of the sector. Owing to the lack of official statistics or across-the board industry figures, the mapping was based on in-depth and firm-level surveys across the following sectors: visual arts, performing arts, cultural heritage and tourism, multimedia, music, craft, audio-visual, publishing, design and fashion. It revealed that these sectors contributed over US$ 3.5 billion (at today’s rate of exchange) annually to the province’s economy, and created direct employment for more than 60,000 people in over 11,000 firms and organizations. The cultural tourism and heritage, design, audio-visual, craft and publishing and print media sectors were the largest employers. The majority of them are owned by white South Africans; over 35 per cent by people under 35 years of age and slightly less than 70 per cent by 1 or 2 people. Only 54 per cent reported that they were members of professional and/or industry associations and 86 per cent report that the majority of their workforce was not unionized.

Slightly more than a quarter operated from home-based studios or workshops, 46 per cent from rented premises and 23 per cent from premises that they own. The design and sectors made up a significant proportion of this figure. It was noteworthy that 53 per cent of the creative workers were women, 47 per cent young people and 15 per cent of firms employed people with disabilities. Forty- seven per cent of all employers were under the age of 35 and 15. Most workers were employed full-time, yet many were freelancers. Compared with general employment in Gauteng and the tertiary sector in particular, the sector showed a more equitable work environment for women.

The entrepreneurship model of the Festival sur le Niger

The model known as “Maaya” entrepreneurship was created in Ségou, Mali in 2004 by the Festival sur le Niger, led by Mamou Daffe. “Maaya” is a Malian humanist vision that Daffe believes can bring about artistic, economic and social sustainable development based on local values, but incorporating modern management principles. This vision has been applied through a festival that acts as a catalyst for local development, from artistic professions to hotels, catering, crafts and tourism. This approach helps to sustain the community in different ways, notably:

• Economically: By having the local population supply all goods and services and by instigating the creation of the Council for the Promotion of Local Economy in the office of the Mayor of Ségou;

• Culturally: By reviving and incorporating traditional performances, e.g. oral traditions, masks and puppets, music and traditional dance and canoe races;

• Artistically: By providing support to training and development of careers in the arts in the newly established cultural centre;

• Socially: By affording opportunities for those living in Ségou to interact with festival participants and audiences. Over the past five years, the festival has developed a housing system that encourages festival-goers to stay in private homes (200 families were accommodated in 2008), boosting income for local residents and fostering friendships. Ségou has been twinned with Richmond (Virginia) in the United States in October 2009, and exchanges have been developed with Mexico and Portugal, as well as the festival Les Journées Mandingue in Sedhiou, Senegal; and

• Environmentally: Through the development, cleaning and reforestation of the bank of the river downtown. The festival has also established an observatory of the Niger River in Ségou.

Creativity intersects with economic development in Kasongan

This Javanese town provides an example of a highly successful creative industry contributing to economic growth in a traditionally economically depressed region. Located near the city of Yogyakarta, Kasongan predates recent creative economy initiatives, yet is a model of its principles. In the early 1970s, Kasongan’s ceramic and earthenware industries were initiated and developed by Sapto Hudoyo, a central Javanese artist. Hudoyo taught local families how to use clay to create decorative and household objects that could be sold locally and provided guidance on the sorts of products that would sell, while encouraging locals to explore their own creative potential. Today, Kasongan is a thriving centre for ceramics and produces a wide variety of products including pots, masks and sculptures for domestic and international export. Kasongan has also become a destination for cultural tourism where visitors can tour workshops, view the extraordinary variety of ceramics displayed in open-air family workshops, and buy souvenirs directly from the craftspeople. It is a fine example of how creativity intersects with economic development, and also also demonstrates the potential for economically depressed areas to find a distinctive niche and marshal local creative talent to fuel economic growth in ways that are culturally sustainable.

Ouarzazate, Hollywood in the Moroccan desert

Ouarzazate has become the “Hollywood of Morocco”, a location for the shooting of many leading international film successes. Both the national government and the local authorities took up the cinema option for the development of this heritage-rich region of the country and for the diversification of its economy. In 2005 already, 57 film shootings took place here; current objectives are to attain 225 shootings per year by 2016 and to create 8,000 more jobs locally. Some 45 per cent of the country’s 140 film shootings during the period 2006-2010 were carried out in Ouarzazate, generating an estimated revenue intake of US$ 75 million annually. In 2008, the Ouarzazate Film Commission and a special fund were created to promote the zone and a twinning agreement has been signed with Hollywood for capacity-building and new infrastructure investments. The film industry is estimated to generate income directly and indirectly for nearly 90,000 people, with a cumulative turnover in the area of more than US$ 100 million.

Three studios have been established. The first, Atlas Studios Corporation, was established in 1986 by a hotel chain and has a three-star hotel, set construction facilities, costumes and lighting workshops, interior sets and exterior spaces. The second, CLA Studios, has some 40 employees providing diverse services. In addition to studio services; the third, Kanzamane Studios, has established a training centre in collaboration with the Italian group Cinecittà Luce and the Italian region of Latium. All three studios have had many positive spillover effects, including tourist visits to the region and a high level of intercultural dialogue with the local community, resulting from the presence of different nationalities and cultures. Environmental degradation, notably of the traditional built heritage, has been one of the downsides of this activity. New projects that have emerged from this success story include: the creation of a one-stop shop for pre- and post-production and a market tracking mechanism; training programmes in script writing, special effects, etc.; the upgrading of infrastructure; and the establishment of financial incentives for new production companies.

Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, Message from Ms. Hoda I. Al Khamis-Kanoo, Founder

Creativity enshrines the soul of a nation. It is the bedrock of its cultural, economic and social development. The arts hold the keys to releasing the creative potential of the greatest resource of any country – its people. Artistic expression is not only a fundamental human right, it is also the fuel that feeds the hearts and minds of society – spurring citizens to develop their creative potential, broaden their horizons and realize their ambitions.

Today, the United Arab Emirates is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Within the next decade, more than a quarter of the people in the wider Gulf region will be under the age of 14. This dramatic transformation of society and the economy offers many challenges, and might be most effectively addressed by investing in creativity.

The Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) seeks to advance the vision of the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi. Through partnerships with public and private sectors, this independent non-profit organization has spent the last 17 years investing in current and future generations through education, arts and culture. Over the last decade, its flagship initiative, the Abu Dhabi Festival, has become an imaginative gateway to the region for artists and audiences alike, enabling tourism and economic diversification, fostering cultural exchange and incubating innovative forms of creative expression. In so doing, ADMAF and the Abu Dhabi Festival continue to make a substantial contribution to the 2030 Vision of Abu Dhabi, a seminal roadmap that positions the Emirates as a future global creative capital. Through our vocational development initiatives, we are embedding the knowledge, skills and commitment necessary for these young people to claim their rightful place in society.

Thanks to our partnerships with the country’s education sector, our programmes are supporting greater academic achievement, enabling pupils and undergraduates to develop a cultural identity that is rooted in the country’s heritage and customs, while remaining outward-looking so that they may be effective players and role models at a global and local levels. Additionally, ADMAF’s community programmes feeds the sustainable development of society by collaborating with various groups, ranging from women’s microfinance crafts initiatives to shelters for survivors of human trafficking, hospitals and special needs centres.

The Memphis Music Magnet: Arts-Based Community Development

With over 19 per cent of its population below the poverty line, Memphis is the poorest metropolitan area in the United States. But the city is rich in cultural assets and history. Both are now being deployed to create transformative change under the Memphis Music Magnet plan in the Soulsville USA neighbourhood by attracting and supporting musicians, celebrating the local musical heritage, and creating new types of social interaction and collaboration. It also aims to reclaim and repurpose key music heritage properties and make them accessible to residents. The music industry was central to the Memphis economy in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the city was one of the world’s major recording centres.

While the city is better known for music tourism than music production, the city remains rich in musical talent and the music community has always been as important as the music business. Soulsville USA was the birthplace of American soul music and home to Stax Records. Once a racially integrated, middle-class community, it has been impacted by decades of socio-economic change. Today, while it struggles with issues of poverty, disinvestment and abandonment facing many other inner city neighbourhoods, it is now positioning itself for revitalization on the strength of assets that include the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Soulsville Charter School, LeMoyne-Owen College (a historically black college), and the Memphis Black Arts Alliance.

More than just a studio, Stax was a place where diverse people with diverse sounds converged to create something new. Many of the artists lived nearby or knew one another, and the adjacent Satellite record shop served as a neighbourhood hangout and provided an instant focus group for the music being recorded. These circumstances made it easy, almost inevitable, for a diversity of artists to bump into one another, and end up in the studio. This setting facilitated what economists would call “knowledge spillovers” that fuel the creative economy, creating convergences that the project aims to foster. The idea emerged from a multi-year university-community partnership that originated in the Graduate Programme in City and Regional Planning at the University of Memphis among a group of students that developed a plan designed to promote neighbourhood revitalization through targeted housing programmes for artists; place-based amenities; and community enrichment programmes.

The Memphis Symphony Orchestra is engaged in a year-long residency with programming that includes a series of unique musical collaborations performed in vacant community spaces, mentoring programmes for youth and seniors and leadership training for area neighbourhood associations. To host the concerts and other activities, a vacant grocery store has been repurposed as a temporary performing venue. The kick-off event at the venue featured Soulsville native and soul legend Booker T. Jones alongside the symphony and young performers from the Stax Music Academy. Renovation is also underway at the former home of Memphis Slim, a legendary blues musician. The property is being converted into “Memphis Slim’s Collaboratory” – a music-centred community space for artistic collaboration, music training and storytelling. The space will include video-casting rooms to record oral histories, and will be anchored by a music studio run on a cooperative basis to support emerging artists, as well as apprentices learning the production business. Through these activities, music is acting as a magnet by connecting neighbours, bringing back former residents and attracting new visitors.