Place Ambassadors: shaping better places to live and visit

The Discover Llangorse & Bwlch Rural Alliance have recently worked with Catia Rebelo, a PHD student at Cardiff University for the “Place Ambassadors” project:

“Place Ambassadors” is the result of an academic intervention that aimed to explore the advantages and disadvantages of introducing and or strengthening civic participation in tourism and branding planning. This intervention seeks to engage and give voice to 10 members of the group Discover LLangorse & Bwlch, who is a bottom-up association that intends to develop and promote tourism in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales. For this end, an innovative and collaborative visual methodology that merged different methods such as video-taped interviews, video elicitation techniques and a focus group was developed. Via these methods the group was invited to reflect on the various characteristics that make up Llangorse and Bwlch villages, as well as on the socio-cultural connections of each individual with these same places. This exercise allowed them to claim decision-making power and take responsibility for their territory by sharing their values and narratives that should be the basis of any tourism and branding initiative. Indeed, they played their role as Place Ambassadors by proudly sharing with us their visions, stories and feelings about their places.

Cátia Rebelo holds a degree in Tourism and a Masters in Sustainable Tourism from the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal. Currently, she is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN Early Stage Researcher (ESR) at the Sustainable Places Research Institute as well as a PhD student in the 3rd year of City and Regional Planning at Cardiff University, UK. Her project, Place Ambassadors, is part of a network called SUSPLACE that explores the full potential of place shaping practices on sustainable development. She has worked in national and international projects in sociology, tourism & sustainability and higher education areas.