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WIPOD – Page Points: Transcript of Episode 2

Intellectual Property and Tourism

Patricia Carmona: Tourism should be identified as a priority in the political agenda in the post COVID-19 era, as a driver of recovery and inclusive growth while contributing to the fulfilment of the sustainable development goals leaving no one behind.

Lise McLeod: I'm Lise McLeod. And during this episode, I'm having a conversation with Patricia Carmona and Mary Hayrapetyan. Patricia joins us from the United Nations World Tourism Organization. And Mary works here at WIPO. In that regard, we’re discussing one of their recent projects, the publication entitled 'Boosting Tourism Development Through Intellectual Property' which is co-published by both organizations.

Life for many of us post pandemic means being able to travel again. It has been recently estimated that the pandemic could have costs the global tourism industry as much as 1 trillion in 2021, after countries imposed travel restrictions.  Recovery could be aided by intellectual property’s tools, in particular, branding and copyright that can add value to tourism services and products.

Let's tune in now to hear about this publication, which is aimed at helping non- IP specialists understand the connection between IP, tourism, and culture.

Welcome to the podcast Patricia and Mary.

Mary Hayrapetyan: Thank you very much dear Lise. Thank you for having me and Patricia today.

Patricia Carmona: Thank you very much for the opportunity to disseminate and share with the audience the outcome of this joint publication.

Lise McLeod: I am going to structure my questions based on the general outline of the publication using the table of contents. Can we start looking at how intellectual property rights can support tourism development and why is it important for the tourism sector?

Mary Hayrapetyan: Yeah, if I may start, actually tourism is one of the main sources of income for so many developing countries and least developed countries. And IP on its turn, being an important economic asset, can play a really instrumental role in the growth of the tourism sector, because IP helps establish proper innovation and creative production ecosystems that value local products and local services. So it is incredible, but IP can create this positive chain of actions and benefits to the whole economy.

For example, a successful local tourism business, which is backed up by an effective IP system can result in an increase in living standards of the local community, because it can create jobs, it can increase income, it can hire experts and increase the flows of private investment flow. So these are basically why intellectual property rights are so important for the tourism sector and for the economy as a whole.

Lise McLeod: Patricia, the publication covers what’s called the tourism value chain. Can you expand on what that means in relation to IP rights?

Patricia Carmona: Yes. I would like to mention that all IP rights are relevant to tourism, but among them trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, and certification and collective marks, specifically can be used in branding and marketing strategies, especially at destination level.

They are very relevant for DMOs in tourism strategies and plans and in product development, and IP rights can also be leveraged for fundraising purposes. Also copyrights, trade secrets, and to a lesser extent patents should also be considered by tourism start-ups within the innovation ecosystems.

So how can IP be used in the tourism value chain? First, we need to take into consideration that, the tourism value chain has a broad sense. It covers the primary and support activities, which intervene in the tourism experience. And they cover not only, tourism providers, but also providers which operate in the economy and whose activities have also an impact or intervene in the tourism experience.

So given the cross-cutting nature of tourism and the different stakeholders, which intervene to make the tourism experience possible, intellectual property rights can be used by national tourism authorities and national tourism organizations by policy makers at national level, and by DMOs, destination management organizations at destination level, but they can also be used by the tourism sector at large.

This means accommodation and hospitality sector, transport, travel agencies, distribution channels, online travel agencies, start-ups etc. Here I would also like to mention the importance of an adequate IP strategy for micro, small, medium-sized enterprises and for entrepreneurs. Why I mention this? Because in large companies, maybe they already have this knowledge or the expertise.

And they maybe have the tools to get the advice by experts in IP, but small, medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs may lack this knowledge. So it is important for them to be aware of the importance of IP in their tourism strategies and to maybe seek how to upgrade their skills and their knowledge, or seek the advice of experts who can assist them in developing adequate IP strategies in their tourism business.

I would also like to mention the intersection between intellectual property and different tourism types and different tourism areas, and in this sense specifically mentioned the importance of intellectual property in rural tourism. Rural tourism brings immense opportunities for rural development. Thanks to its connection with the territory, with local products and traditions, rural tourism opens new opportunities to advance jobs and inclusiveness in rural areas. So IP strategies can be used by local stakeholders, for example, in the creation and development of tourism products related to rural tourism, for example, farmers and other stakeholders in rural areas.

IP strategies can be used in gastronomy tourism, in wine tourism, although also in handicraft and in creative tourism. So we see that there are strong linkages between tourism and intellectual property, and tourism stakeholders can use IP strategies in the tourism value chain.

Lise McLeod:  The application of IP and tourism has been practically outlined through several national case studies throughout the publication. There is the question about how stakeholders in the tourism value chain can benefit from IP. Patricia, could you tease out a couple of these studies?

Patricia Carmona: Yes. For example, we explore in the publication a very interesting case study in Turkey, about good practice in the use of a certification mark. In Turkey, there is a travel foundation.  It's a foundation which develops the 'Taste of Fethiye' project. Sorry if I don't pronounce it correctly. One of the project's main objectives was to connect small and medium-,sized local producers with larger tourism suppliers to support local development in a sustainable way.

The project involved establishing the 'Taste of Fethiye' brand and defining its specific quality as standards to help hoteliers to identify local produce and advertise the sustainable practice to customers, to their clients. So this is a very interesting, good, practice in the use of a certification mark, which identifies and connects local producers with the tourism sector and ensures high quality standards.

In this case, the accommodation and food and beverage stakeholders are the actors in the tourism value chain, which benefited from this good practice of IP in the tourism sector. Another interesting case study, which we describe in the publication, is the use of geographical indications as a tool for developing tourism and reviving the local economy in Cambodia.

In this case, there is, in a Cambodian province which is called Kampot, since the 10th century, there is a particularly fine variety of pepper, which has been grown and traded since ancient times. Traditionally, the region produced tons of peppers each year, which were mainly consumed locally, but in 2010, the Cambodian government gave Kampot pepper the status of a geographical indication, transforming it into a premium product with export potential.

As a result, pepper production started to grow, boosting exports and attracting to the region tourists from all over the world.  By protecting Kampot pepper as a geographical indication, the Cambodian government insured that not only authentic pepper produced in Kampot province could carry this prestigious name, but it also made it possible for pepper producers to build and promote their brand and trade it internationally.

The pepper farm has also built its retail presence and now it distributes their products in shops, supermarkets, hotels, and online.  And it has also gain why the recognition and has become a key destination for tourists in Cambodia, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the traditional plantations of the Kampot region and discover ancient recipes which have passed down through centuries of cultivation.

Lise McLeod: Thank you, Patricia. Mary, how can IP rights promote tourism innovation and leverage fundraising.

Mary Hayrapetyan: In this regard, we have included two case studies in our publication that focus on tourism, innovation, and digitalization.

So the first case study is about the Andalucía Lab, which is based in Spain, and it is an ambitious tourism innovation project that is based on public private partnership. The main aim of this lab is to encourage tourism, entrepreneurship and generate jobs and business opportunities in the sector and the lab does so by offering various services to small and medium enterprises. Services such as research, knowledge transfer, consulting, advice on building a brand and so on. So surely whenever they do all these activities, they're likely to create materials that can be protected by the IP rights, for example, patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyright. And in this regard, it is essential for tourism stakeholders to be aware of how an effective utilization of these IP rights can benefit them and can benefit their businesses and organizations.

And another very interesting example that we have is actually on an Israeli start-up called Refunded which provides a fully digital service that facilitates tax-free shopping for tourists in Europe. From the very first days of its establishment, the start-up actually worked in a close collaboration with IP attorneys to create a strong IP portfolio, because with a strong IP portfolio, they can attract new investors and they can assure the future funding of their start-up. So this is one way in which IP can be used to leverage funds.

Lise McLeod: Patricia, could you please outline an example of how policy makers can use IP rights in promotion and branding for tourism destinations?

Patricia Carmona: One of the case studies is about the community tourism toolkit, which was developed in Jamaica. It's a good practice in the use of a trademark. The toolkit was created in response to the difficulties faced by small community tourism enterprises, mainly accommodation providers, adventure and community tour operators, in setting up and managing their tourism businesses.

The toolkit includes a handbook containing comprehensive information about running a sustainable and profitable community tourism business and a step-by-step guide to obtaining a Jamaica Tourism Board license. Thanks to the toolkit and to the training and capacity building sessions these enterprises are now better equipped to meet local and international standards.

So, this is a good example of how an adequate IP protection strategy, in this case through trademark licensing, contributes to local economic and social development in the tourism sector and the leadership of a public authority initiative.

Another interesting case study is in Peru. In this case, it's not a good practice, but we explored the potential of the IP rights portfolio, which includes copyrights, collected marks and trademarks, that would enable a destination in Peru to be at the forefront of innovation. In this case, the archaeological complex of Túcume in Peru is a cultural tourism destination, which captures the pre-hispanic traditions of the Moche culture. The museum housing Túcume’s archeological collection is one of the main attractions for international and domestic tourists visiting the region.

The museum upgraded its facilities by transforming into an eco-museum where local artisans, transport providers, tour guides, restaurants, schools, and other organizations now work together in this space to protect both tangible and intangible cultural resources. In this case, the tourism potential of the Moche Route is undisputed and the Moche Route brand could now be developed with the support of a DMO and other tourism institutions involved in the tourism value chain. So in this case, we see where the IP potential lies in regards with destination branding and how an adequate IP rights portfolio would contribute to their competitiveness and to the promotion and branding of these destinations.

Lise McLeod: Mary, how about we talk about the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and how it illustrates the relationship between tourism, cultural events and intellectual property?

Mary Hayrapetyan: They are using a combination of IP rights to attract visitors from all over the world and at the same time to share benefits within the local tourism value chain’s stakeholders. So let us see how they do so.

The brand of Montreux Jazz Festival itself is protected by a registered trademark. They have a chain of Montreux Jazz shops that sell licensed merchandise bearing this very trademark to festival attendees and at the same time to online customers all over the world. At the same time, promotional materials that feature this trademark are widely used by different sponsorship partners and authorized local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants that accommodate the attendees of the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Meanwhile copyright ensures benefits from artistic content produced during the festival. So as we can see with this one event and with the utilization of IP tools, the entire Montreux region draws grand benefits, which of course includes stakeholders in the leisure and hospitality sectors that provide their services and accommodate the attendees of this festival.

Lise McLeod: Patricia, the publication covers case studies in relation to tourism routes and trails. How do they connect with intellectual property?

Patricia Carmona: In the publication we have included a very interesting case study on the European Association of the Via Francigena in Italy. This Via Francigena is a route which stretches from Northern Europe to Rome and is a historic pilgrimage route that was once taken by a Cleric back centuries ago.

In 2001, 34 local Italian authorities situated along the route formed the European Association of the Via Francigena. The itineraries of the Via Francigena now cover more than 100 territories, including 139 European communities. The route has entered the growing market for pilgrimage walking and shows how a well-branded, clearly marked walking trail can trigger social and economic development.

The Association’s tasks include providing guidance on commercial activities related to the route, and for this purpose, the Association provides clear and accessible list of procedures to follow for the use of the route’s trademark.

So the European Association of the Via Francigena has created a trademark for the promotion of the route and it authorizes commercial and non-commercial uses of this trademark aligned with the social, ethical and environmental values that characterize the route. It also ensures that the standards in the service providers, such as those for accommodation or tour guides, are met by including the services that meet these standards in the route’s promotional materials.

Other IP strategies are used by the Association for funding purposes. So these include, for example, merchandise, which is available online, pilgrims’ passport and more than 30 branding events every year. So Via Francigena demonstrates that thematic routes or trails and tourism routes need more than good storytelling and the IP system is a valuable partner in the management, quality control and brand positioning of the tourism products, which are commercialized in the tourism route.

Lise McLeod: There are also some sporting events case studies. Mary, can you talk about how tourism and IP meet in sports? Especially relating to the impact of a mega sporting event.

Mary Hayrapetyan: A mega event is a great opportunity to enhance or even to change the international image of a destination. These events can also trigger huge developments and investments in infrastructure. Let’s say the infrastructure of transport, event venues, different accommodations or various public spaces, which can later become landmarks and tourism attractions for the country. And in this regard a strategic utilization of IP rights can help countries to ensure not only short-term, but also mid and even long-term benefits from such events.

Just to illustrate such an example, one of our case studies is focusing on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which was hosted in South Africa. By hosting this mega event, the South African government actually fostered tourism and future investments for the years to come. And how they did that, they actually prior to the event, the South African government approved the new logo and the brand of South Africa. This logo and brand were then consistently integrated in the World Cup and South Africa marketing and advertising campaigns, making it recognizable. And even after the event, a post event campaign continued to convey a positive image of South Africa, featuring journeys and experiences of various people who had visited the country during the tournament.

So by hosting this one event, the South African government was able to establish a positive and recognizable tourism destination brand and to reap social as well as economic benefits for the years to come.

Lise McLeod: Patricia, what do you think are the potential trends and opportunities for the future of tourism after the pandemic of COVID-19?

Patricia Carmona: Well tourism has proved its resilience in the face of a range of challenges and crises in the past. It is a key driver of global sustainable socioeconomic progress and development, and tourism will recover and will contribute to restart economies and societies thanks to its capacity to adapt to changes and offer innovative solutions to new challenges.

In this sense, tourism should be identified as a priority in the political agenda in the post COVID-19 era, as a driver of recovery and inclusive growth while contributing to the fulfilment of the sustainable development goals, leaving no one behind. The tourism sector has the opportunity to bounce back more sustainably and ensure an inclusive growth, which benefits all.

Both the public and the private sectors will need to embrace innovation and digital transformation in their recovery strategies and we need to place sustainability at the core of their strategies and activities. But as I say, there is no doubt that tourism will bounce back again and will contribute to restarting economies and will contribute to social and economic development in societies and in the economy and the global economy at large. What we need to ensure is that the benefits of tourism spread and they reach all the layers and all the different groups and the stakeholders in the tourism value chain.

Lise McLeod: Mary, what are the final words that you'd like to share with our listeners for when they pick up a copy of this publication?

Mary Hayrapetyan: I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell that this core publication does not really provide a detailed legal advice, but it provides a general framework to better understand how IP tools can be utilized to boost tourism-related businesses and organizations.

We just need to keep in mind that IP rights are national rights and therefore IP laws can vary from country to country and territory to territory. So we encourage our users to get awareness about IP rights and how it can be used, but at the same time, we encourage them to seek legal advice based on their specific needs and jurisdictions of the country or territory where the IP protection is sought.

Lise McLeod: I would like to thank both of you for joining me today and for sharing the highlights of this practical publication.

Patricia Carmona: Thank you very much Mary. Thank you very much Lise.

Mary Hayrapetyan: Thank you very much.

Lise McLeod: I hope that you enjoyed my conversation with Mary and Patricia. The digital version of this joint publication is available through both the WIPO and the World Tourism Organization websites, and exists in six languages, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian language versions. A print version is available for purchase through your favourite e-book shop.

More information about this WIPO publication and other IP works in our collection can be found via the WIPO Knowledge Center webpage.

Until next time and the next Page Points, bye for now.