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Literary Tourism, Literature acting for tourism

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By Ahmed JADIR

<>Faculty of Sciences and Technologies,

Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech

<</>> Abstract

Literary tourism is a concept that praises the culture and heritage of a destination. The concept is to go to locations around the world that have been highlighted in some non/fictional novels. They can fascinate new tourists,increase the number of domestic travelers, and promote the tourism destinations. This paper overviews in general the phenomenon of cultural tourism and literary tourism, then outlinesliterary escape, launched by Sofitel hotel, which aims at choosing and offeringaccommodations to writers as a source of inspiration. This paper will also try to discuss and exemplify the link between non/fiction and escape: how places have influenced writing and at the same time how writing has created place, considering Essaouira as example.

<</>> Key words: literary tourism, tourism, literature, non/fiction, literary escape

<</>> 1. Vision 2020 Morocco aimed at making tourism one of the engines of national development on economic, social and cultural levels. To reach that Morocco has worked on different programs such as visions 2010 and 2020. The purpose of vision 2020 consists in making Morocco one of the top 20 global destinations by 2020, to build a benchmark for sustainable development in the Mediterranean region. It comes to correct and fix the shortcomings of vision 2010, place Morocco among the world’s top twenty destinations, pursue a creative approach to sustainability, and double the industry’s size by building hotels and similar accommodation amounting to 200,000 new beds, doubling our tourist numbersand tripling the number of domestic travelers. To attain the objectives of Vision 2020, the Ministry of Tourism has adopted the following framework for the strategic activity, which is an innovative approach based on three major axes:

• A voluntarist policy of territorial development of tourist offers • A new institutional, dynamic, steering scheme • An innovative approach and an integrated mechanism for tourism sustainability The driving ambition of Vision 2020 is to make Morocco one of the top 20 destinations worldwide, and establish itself as a model serving as a reference in terms of sustainable development.

So, the aspired goals are: • tobuild nearly 20,000 new beds and the like to provide a rich and dense tourist experience. • todouble our tourist arrivals accordingly by doubling our market share in the main traditional European markets and attracting one million tourists from emerging markets. • totriple the number of domestic trips, with the objective of democratizing tourism in our country. • toCreate 470000 new direct jobs throughout the national territory, for employees at the end of the decade nearly a million Moroccans, roughly a million Moroccan employees by the end of the decade •toincrease tourism receipts to reach about 140 billion dirhams in 2020.

2. Cultural Tourism has witnessed considerable changes since the time it was identified as part of the available tourism experiences in the end of 1970s and beginning of 1980s. It was only regarded as a separate product by the end of 1970s when tourism officials, specialists and researchers became aware that a group of people travelled for the reason of gaining a profound understanding of the culture or heritage of a destination (Tighe 1986). At the start, it was seen as a special activity done and practiced by a category of more educated, wealthy tourists who were lookingfor things other than the usual sun, land, sea, sand, mountainand holidays. It started as a humble idea to become a commonly approved and recognized mass product. Some quantitative studies based on the source and destination have shown that between 35% and 80% of all tourists can be considered cultural tourists. (Mandala 2009; Moller and Deckert 2009; Richards 1996; TV 2013). Although Cultural tourism is considered one of the oldest types of special interest tourism, it still persists as one of the misapprehended forms. People have been travelling for what we now call cultural tourism reasons since the days of the ancient Romans visiting Greece and Egypt (Perrottel 2002) or Chinese scholars making journeys to beautiful landscapes (Yan and McKercher 20l3). Likewise, places and activities that we now label as represent¬ing cultural tourism products were not identified as such until currently. Alternatively, the extensive dictionary of sightseeing activities that constituted part of the total tourism experience started to include terms and concepts as visiting historic sites, cultural landmarks, attending special events and festivals, watching street performances, or visiting museums. It is proved difficult to provide clear answers to these questions: what iscultural tourism? Who are cultural tourists? Given the fact that many distinct definitions related to the types of tourists exist. It is not easy to establish a clear concept of what cultural tourism is and who cultural tourists are. This subject was acknowledged approximately 20 years ago by the American Chapter of ICOMOS (the lnternational Council on Monuments and Sites), which observed that « cultural tourism as a name means many things to many people and herein lies its strength and its weakness » (US ICOMOS 1996: 17). Later Smith (2003) clarifies that confusion over what consti¬tutes ‘culture’ bringsan extra level of confusion.

By time, other definitions have been suggested that include, enhance and place cultural tourism within a broader framework of tourism and tourism management theory (Zeppel and Hall 1991) or as a form of special interest tourism (Zeppel 1992; Ap 1999). For example, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines cultural tourism as: “the movement of persons to cultural attractions in cities in countries other than their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs and all movements of persons to specific cultural attractions, such as heritage sites, artistic and cultural manifes¬tations, arts and drama to cities outside their normal country of residence”. (Whyte, Hood and White 2012: 10) Undoubtedly, it is normal to define cultural tourism by activity, using definitions that contain something like ‘cultural tourism includes visits to…’. The Australian State of Victoria, for example, defines cultural tourists as « those who attended a theatre performance, a concert or other performing arts, a cultural festival, fair or event; or visited a museum, art gallery, art or craft workshop or studios, and/or a history or herit¬age site while on their trip to Australia » (TV 2013). Richards (2011) adopted a hybrid definition linking motivation to behaviour, when he suggests cultural tourism essentially involves visits to cultural attractions and events by culturally-motivated people.

3. Literary Tourism. Herbert (1996) listed different kinds of literary sites. To portray this, Herbert clarified this by collecting several definitions of “literary site” by several authors: Places connected with the author’s life (Marsh, cited in Herbert, 1996); Places linked with the fictional world created by the author in his/her literary work (Pockock; Daniels, cited in Herbert, 1996); Places associated with the writer’s life or works but valued by the visitor because they remind him/her about his/her past and evoke, e.g. childhood memories, indulging in a sense of nostalgia. In (1990) study,Urrydistinguishedattractive places on their own(e.g. due to their landscape), not depending on their connection with a writer to attract tourists, from those places that rely on their connection with a writer in order to attract tourists. As for Herbert (1996), a literary site may be a tourist attraction on its own, or a component of some wider setting, as well as specific or general visitor attractions. As for Müller (2006), literary sites can be managed as heritage sites, i.e. protected, or as tourism destinations to be used as a product to be consumed through developing tourist attractions, facilities and services. Several authors suggest that tourists are more interested in being stimulated and living an experience ratherthan in the distinction between reality and fiction (Schouten, cited in Herbert, 2001; Foucault cited in Shields, 1992). The United Kingdom was one of the first places where literary tourism began to be seen as a popular form of travel when it emerged in the second half of the eighteenth century and continued throughoutthe early twentieth century.

Over time, the trendhas spread to the rest of Europe, even to Russia and the United States, catching the attention of enthusiasts of all ages, as well as that of academics. Many scholars have addressed the issues raised by literary tourism such as Stephen Coan, Mike Robinson, Randy Malamud and Nicola J. Watson. They have produced numerous scientific articles and books on the topic. This rising trend has been met with both positive and negative feedback; some seeit as a way to bond with the author’s work, while critics regard literary tourismas a way of travel, anaffordable subsidy (Bushy, 2000). Literary tourism remains an understudied topic, and there is approximately no academic theory about it. Butler (1986, cited in Busby and Hambly 2000), nevertheless, has identified four types of literary tourism: (1) Homage to an actual location, (2) Places of significance within the work of fiction, (3) Appealing areas because of their appeal to literary figures and (4) A popular writer’s work, so an area becomes a tourist location in itself. In addition to those four types of literary tourism, Busby and Klug (2001) proposed a fifth one, (5) “Travel Writing”, where places and people are reinterpreted and communicated to wider audiences and “film induced literary tourism”. Busby and Klug (2001) have proposed two more types of literary tourism; one is « Travel Writing, » which consists of reinterpreting and communicating places and people to wider audiences, and the other is »film-induced literary tourism ».

4. Literary Escape. « The Literary Escape » is based on an initiative launched by Sofitel in partnership with Le Figaro, the famous French daily newspaper. The principle is attractive and innovative: inviting Francophone writers to stay in a Sofitel hotel of their choice and imagine during that stay a short story which will be published later. Each writer is free to choose the subject and the inspiration,the hotel, the city of destination, the meetings he makes thereand the places to be visited. While being in the hotel, the writer creates enjoyment byparticipating lively in events, such as readings, debates and discussions, and inviting guests to discover French literature.The main objective of Sofitel is to harmoniously link travel, literature and art of receiving.Nowadays, it is possible to visit literary tourism sites, ranging from places where ‘your favorite author was born, grew up, lived or died, where ‘your favorite books were written’, to those places ‘where they are set’ (BRITO, 2004) 2.Sofitel experience Literary escapes stem froman original concept.

The selected writer is welcomed for a week in one of Sofitel hotels in the world, a stay during which they are invited to write a short story inspired by the destination,the originality of the escape and the values of Sofitel. The authors come back a little later to the hostdestination in order to present their short stories to the public at large. Since 2009, the project has grown and travelled, from Europe to Africa, from the United States to the Middle East and up to Asia. Thus, all the cultures of the world are honored. Since the launch of the literary escape project, Le Figaro Magazine has regularlyissueda special edition devoted to the short storieslater. The project has been realized thanks to Dominique Colliat, Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa with the collaboration of the two writers Catherine Enjolet and Denis Labayle. Renown Writers have wished to try the exercise including Jean Marie Rouart, AkliTadjer, Gonzague Saint breakage, EdouardoManet, YasminaKhadra and of course Catherine Enjolet. Rome, Fez, Luxor, Paris, New York, Marrakech, Marseille, Essaouira and many others: jewel-cities withtreasures that are sometimes hidden in the depths of our thoughts, and invariably trigger inspiration, whether literary or more broadly artistic. The Literary Escapes of Sofitel offer the opportunity to writers to enjoytheir stay, toexplore a region of the world and to blacken a few pages. Each written story, thus transcribes the atmosphere of a city, backdrop or regardlessof its own unique history.

Phillipe Besson, Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, BenoiteGroult, Yasmina Khadra, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and many others stayed in a Sofitel hotel to play the game of « Literary Escapes« . When reading their short stories, we understand that travel always rhymes with love, passion and reunion, inspired by a quest or new beginnings. Since 2008, Sofitel has established an authentic, legitimate bond with the literary world by setting up more than 50 Literary Cafés throughout the world and seducing over 60 writers, among which some of thewidely-acclaimedfigures of contemporary literature. Literary cafés, public readings, conferences and roundtables are now so many events that fuel the current book scene and give Sofitel Literary Escapes a well-deserved reputation for excellence all around the world. 3.Short Stories Written in Sofitel Essaouira When Sofitel launched the experience of “Literary escape”, different writers were invited to Sofitel hotelsin different countries to be inspired and write their short stories. Phillipe Besson, Patrick Poivred’Arvor, BenoiteGroult, YasminaKhadra, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and many others agreed to express their experience.

Claude Sérillon, Serge Raffy and Jean-Marie Rouart were three French names selected to play the game of Sofitel in Essaouira. Jean-Marie Rouart’sstay in Sofitel Essaouira ledhim to produce “La Fin du rêve bleu”. Serge Raffywas invited to present and discuss his latest books: “Tuez les Tous” and “l’Homme qui Rit”. As for Claude Sérillon, hechose Sofitel Essaouira to imagine a real-mystery short story. This author, who has several essays, news or novels, is also a fervent lover of reading. Claude Sérillon had two ideas to realize his new short story « On », either to imagine a bloody murder committed in a hotel or to focus on the mix of religion in the city of Essaouira. « At the same place you can hear the call to prayer and the bells of the church. It is a common life between those who believe in Heaven and those who do not believe in it. It was quite disturbing for me, » declares Sérillon with emotion while recallingmoments of angerin hisjourney, particularly to Palestine and Israel. But it is indeed the port of Essaouira which captured the author’s attention. The port reflects the aspiration to flee, to drop everything and especially the difficulty of social life. It is also a place full of smell, silence and noise, a city for love and research. The story between the protagonist couple begins by a meeting in love,an overwhelming and burning desire to seek a place of stability. The female protagonist wants to the problems, and it is the other character who offers to accompany her with the need to reconsider their very bonds. It is the “On” which counts: « Go, we are headed for undefined horizons. It is an invitation to travel via the port of Essaouira », confirmed Claude Sérillon. « ON » marks the union under the sun of Essaouira. From his stay in Essaouira, Claude Sérillon signs a short story entitled « ON ». If the title is impersonal, it is nevertheless an intimate story that speaks above all of complicity.

In a woman’s shoes, the writer and journalist seeksto show us how the imperceptible solidity of a man can sometimes become the base of a destiny, aninvisible wall against fears and loneliness. “This is only a meeting characterized with mystery that lasts for one day and will eventually extend on the beach of Essaouira, hand in hand in the beach …” Between the beginning in the Parisian subway and the end opened on the ocean, we can read these few lines on the city of Essaouira: « by walking I succeed in discerning all that:cats, cars, high pavements and trees which made shades under the moon. I felt fig and orange trees, sweet flavors and almost disgustingsalty smells. And then the sound of the sea”. 4.Literary Escape on the Press Different newspapers have been intensely interested in the unique Sofitel experience since ithasexquisitely combined tourism with the fascinating world of literature. The MAP, L’économiste, la Nouvelle Tribune, le Figaro, and other electronic press, such as,,were examples that devoted parts of their issues to that experience second to none. – Claude Sérillon, agreed to play the game of « Sofitel Escapes » and his stay at the Sofitel Mogador Essaouira Golf and Spa induced his short story: « On ». French journalist, news presenter of the biggest channels of French television for many years, he started his career in writingin 1987 with  » De quoi je me mêle », followed by dozen books of which the last one,“Les Mots de l’Actu”,published in2009by Marabout editions.

The Sofitel luxury hotel brand has been a partner and promoter of cultural events for many years. With its « Literary Escapes », Sofitel invites us to travel through the eyes of experienced writers who, after a short stay in one of its hotels, write a short story inspired by the place. The journalist Claude Sérillon stopped at the hotel Essaouira-Mogador Golf & Spa, and « ON » is eager to learn more… Claude Sérillon was on January 21, 2012 at the Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa to present and share his short story entitled « ON » with the public, written in Essaouira as part of « Literary Escapes ». Exchanges and open debates constituted an opportunity to speak with the author of this literary experience, of Essaouira of course, and of his latest book as well, « Les mots de l’actu ». Claude Senouf presented his short story « On », inspired by his stay in the city. Claude Senouf is a journalist, intellectual, novelist, artist and businessman. The trip was made to attend this big cultural meeting organized in Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf and Spa. It is a beautiful idea to bind art of reception, journey and literature. It was at first an exchange of literature between the lovers of Essaouira,an escape of exception for a destination of exception « , as Catherine Enjolet, author of novels and essays, explains. This time, it is Claude Sérillon who is inspired by the site of Essaouira. « I am someone who writes but not a writer « , he says while addressing a wide public. Le Figaro Magazine presented a special edition devoted to the elsewhere short stories.

Conclusion : Literary escape is a fiction that is designed to take the reader away from real life and provide pleasure, usually with a story that is easy to follow and pleasant to read. This paper reconsiders literary escapes and explores the means by which literature can reapbenefit in the form of attracting more tourists and promoting destinations; that is literature in the service of tourism industry.



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