Haifa Trail Urban Trek – the DNA of the city: Lessons from Haifa Tourism Conference

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“People of Haifa Want Tourism!”
This is the opening title of the Haifa Trail presentation projected on the entrance wall of the 4th Haifa Tourism Conference hall.

Haifa Trail was initiated as an urban trek – a travel/tourism oriented project. During the conference we came to conclusion that the trail is more than that –
as it identifies and leverages Haifa’s essence or “DNA”, it serves as an important platform for various urban aspects, such as: city branding, community empowering, framework for sport and culture activities and a potential to significantly contribute to the local economy.

The Presentation

Lessons

This year, The Haifa Tourism Conference was focused on destination branding. For Haifa this is a highly relevant issue, as the city fails for years to brand itself not only as a tourist destination but even locally  – young Israelis keep leaving the city to live in other settlements.

Many speakers in the conference, including the keynote speaker Prof. Frederic Dimanch from SKEMA business school in France, talked about the “competitive identity” of a destination. If it is a city, identifying its essence, or “DNA”, is crucial for building the brand.

For years, Haifa has been trying to become something else, despite its residents’ protest, who recognize the city’s assets and strengths.

Haifa Trail was initiated as a grass root initiative by people who live in Haifa and familiar with its nooks and crannies. The initial idea was to form a long Urban Trek, traversing the city’s unique landscapes.

Without noticing, Haifa Trail simply gathered the essence of the city into a continuous experience. In a way, it is an actual DNA… a physical, actual, city genome, with 21 chromosomes – the trail segments, each one uncovering a unique aspect of the city…

So Haifa Trail is not only an Urban Trek intended for tourists for hiking or running. It is a platform. It is a base for subjects and activities to be built upon:  Connection to the hometown,  Sense of community, Community empowering and activities, cultural events, sport events, small businesses development, a thread for unique identity, and more.

This is how an Urban Trek or Urban Trail can be the actual DNA of the city.

 

Some photos

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