The ART&TUR - International Tourism Film Festival was the first award initiative exclusively dedicated to audiovisual tourism in Portugal. Since its foundation in 2008, the event has crossed the country, awarding the best national and international productions and promoting discussion on the latest trends in the sector. Ourém, in the Center of Portugal, was the city chosen to host the 2022 edition, which will take place between the 25th and 28th of October.
The festival proposes a holistic approach to Audiovisual Tourism and is widely recognized for promoting the exchange of experiences between audiovisual producers, decision-makers of the tourism industry, the academic community, and the local community.
Its mission is to support the competitiveness of destinations, tourism products, and services, honoring the best projects and giving them more significant national and international visibility.
ART&TUR also acts as a driving force for innovation and creativity in tourism communication. For example, in the Portuguese market, it is possible to see a significant leap in the quality of audiovisual productions that promote and contribute to the development of tourism offers. The festival has contributed to the national tourism industry being increasingly aware of the great potential of video.
Annually, participants have the opportunity to get involved in diverse activities such as forums, workshops, film screenings, cultural activities, and an exciting award ceremony. Being among the winners of ART&TUR is synonymous with prestige and notoriety. The trophies offered to the winners are recognized for being unique and rich in detail, having been created by the hands of several local artisans.
ART&TUR Festival is organized by the Centro de Portugal Film Commission (CPFC), with the support of the Regional Tourism Entity of the Center of Portugal. Since 2008, the festival has been an official member of the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals (CIFFT).
To find out more about the history of the festival, who is behind it, and what the 2022 edition reserves for its participants, we spoke with Francisco Dias, founder and director of ART&TUR - International Tourism Film Festival.
Who is Francisco Dias? (Short Bio)
I’m a Full Professor and researcher in Tourism Sciences at the Polytechnic of Leiria, in Portugal. Before concluding my Ph.D. in Tourism in 2006, I was a social psychologist (with a master’s degree from Porto University). This is why I have a specific sensibility related to tourism issues from the point of view of consumers/tourists.
Could you briefly tell us about your career so far and what led you to the Travel Video Marketing Industry?
As a teacher and researcher committed to sustainable tourism development, I have duties and responsibilities that make me a kind of social entrepreneur in multiple and diverse areas. For instance, I’m strongly committed to the development of a more holistic approach to tourism sustainability worldwide. This is why I decided to create in 2015 the EATSA - The Euro-Asia Tourism Studies Association, and I was its first president for the first 3-years term. But I can mention here three other relevant responsibilities I’m carrying on nowadays: vice-president of Centro de Portugal Film Commission, coordinator of the Sustainable Tourism Observatory of Centro de Portugal, and principal researcher of the project Olive4All - Olive Heritage for Sustainable Development: Raising Community Awareness of Living Heritage.
Moreover, the ART&TUR – International Tourism Film Festival, founded in 2008, is probably the more influential project of all these projects I have created. In many senses, tourism communication is the core element of tourism development. So ART&TUR can be considered a creative forum for benchmarking in the video marketing industry since the best productions are highlighted and awarded and can be considered the standard of quality for the other production companies and their clients: mostly destination management organizations and tourism developers.
What inspired you to found the ART&TUR - International Tourism Film Festival? What were the main challenges in creating an international tourism film festival?
Everybody has “travel dreams” and sociologists know that the “dream in tourists’ mind” is the basis of their motivation: we first dream, imagine and anticipate the trip before going somewhere. And everybody is connected to the “dream machines” that feed tourists’ imaginary: literature and cinema or audiovisual.
When I created ART&TUR in 2018, the quality of tourism audiovisual promotion was significantly low than nowadays because most tourism decision-makers were not aware of the marketing potential of cinema and audiovisual for tourism communication.
On one hand, audiovisual producers did not understand very well the real complexity of tourism and its holistic reality, and, on the other, tourism decision-makers did not understand the huge possibilities that audiovisual could offer. That is, both professionals of tourism and audiovisual didn’t know very well each other, so cooperation was more difficult.
ART&TUR and other film festivals, in particular, the network of festivals integrated into the CIFFT, have the merit of creating and supporting more strong contacts between filmmakers and tourism decision-makers, benefiting this way each other, and creating better audiovisual projects for their clients in the tourism industry.
What has been your most rewarding experience as a festival director?
Interesting question… maybe my most rewarding experience as festival director was to witness the evolution of the portfolio of several Portuguese producers as a direct outcome of awards they received in ART&TUR. In a short time frame of 5 or 6 years, I can identify and describe in detail at least 8 cases of small production companies that, thanks to the awards at the ART&TUR festival, have started a strong growth process, and some of them have even gone international, and whose CEO recognize and assume that the prestige and reputation of the ART&TUR Festival awards were the main driving force behind their successful portfolio.
In your opinion, what makes the Center of Portugal a good destination for the festival? How do the attributes of the region contribute to the attendees’ experience?
As director of the ART&TUR Festival and simultaneously vice-president of the Centro de Portugal Film Commission, I am very happy that we have the Tourism Regional Entity of Centro de Portugal (TCP) as our main partner. In fact, the Centro of Portugal region is an excellent tourism destination, in part due to the phenomenal job that TCP is doing since 2018, under the presidency of Pedro Machado. Their excellent work has good results, both from the point of view of the quality of many tourism products, as well as from the point of view of the excellent promotion, nationally and internationally. And it all happens, in part, thanks to an adequate vision of the use of video marketing in tourism promotion.
Why should people enter Tourism Videos in ART&TUR?
ART&TUR is a promotional showcase that increases the brand awareness and goodwill of tourism brands through audiovisual communication, it means that ART&TUR awards are a good occasion to generate news in favor of your product or tourist destination. So, if you want to use a new tourism video in marketing communication to reach your market segment, you benefit a lot by entering this video in ART&TUR, especially if it is good. An awarded video ensures a higher positioning of your brand messages.
What kind of videos are you looking for, and what should they have to become winners?
Stereotypically, I can say that an ART&TUR winner is a video telling an exciting story and sharing social values related to sustainable development and corporate responsibility. Together with good content, a winner has to be brilliant from a technical point of view. Photography, soundtrack, and sometimes the message are very important, in combination with a good screenplay.
What can we expect from ART&TUR in 2022? Could you share some of this year’s highlights?
The ART&TUR festival has a unique feature: it is itinerant in the Central region of Portugal: every year it is held in a different city (Leiria in 2018; Torres Vedras in 2019; Viseu in 2020; Aveiro in 2021). This year, the ART&TUR Festival will take place in Ourém from October 25 to 28. Ourém is the city where the world-famous sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima is located.
Another very beneficial feature of ART&TUR is that it is organized by the CPFC - Centro de Portugal Film Commission (https://cportugalfilmcommission.pt/). Thanks to this circumstance, it will be possible to extend the partnerships of ART&TUR Ourém 2022 to the entire "Médio Tejo" region - a beautiful region that includes 13 municipalities. Thus, the programming of the ART&TUR Festival will integrate two complementary axes:
Axis 1: "From the World to Medio Tejo".
This axis of programming includes the two main competitions of the Festival, namely the "International Competition" and the "National Competition". The submission of films in the two competitions is open until June 30th. But those who want to take advantage of a 30% discount should submit their films by April 30th.
Axis 2: "From Médio Tejo to the World".
This axis of programming is aimed at producers interested in showing their talents through creative competitions held live and based on regulation. Just like in a sports modality, the participants will have to take part in talent competitions, all equal. Four separate competitions are planned:
- "ART&FACTORY Médio Tejo": creative competition of professional directors and producers;
- "Creatives of Médio Tejo": video competition directed to schools of Médio Tejo;
- "Blogging Médio Tejo": publication contest of bloggers about Médio Tejo
- "Location scouting Médio Tejo": a contest open to all interested people at the national level.
To finish, as a Tourism/Travel passionate, how do tourism videos impact you?
As a consumer, my mode of functioning is the same as other people's: my tourism imagination, travel motivation, and expectations about what each tourist destination can offer. In short, all my mental representations about tourism destinations depend on a large extent, on the videos I have seen, and that have had a strong emotional impact on me.