new experiences in cultural tourism

In short

The Flemish Tourism Board called for a future-oriented and people-centered approach to inspire the development of new products for their Flemish Masters program opening in 2018. The changing context of travel and cultural tourism was studied, taking on the perspective of tomorrow’s international leisure travelers. This analysis resulted in five key challenges regarding the variety of experiences that tomorrow’s travelers seek out.


in which ways could tomorrow's leisure traveller be different? | which products and services cater to the needs of tomorrow's cultural tourist? | what could the experience of tomorrow's leisure travellers look like?

the project

In 2016 Pantopicon carried out a project for the Flemish Tourist Board. The ambition of this project was to inspire the development of new products for the Flemish Masters program running from 2018 to 2020, by taking on the perspective of tomorrow’s international leisure travelers.

The Flemish Masters program aspires to attract international visitors to Flanders by presenting a strong offer of pictorial art and cultural heritage from Rubens, Bruegel and the Flemish primitives in a modern and future-oriented way. Considering that the tourism sector mainly focuses on the supply-side of the program, Pantopicon was contacted to dive into its demand-side in its future-driven and people-centered approach.

As a first step a qualitative study was carried out to gain insight into the changing context of travel and culture, and into the way travelers’ experiences of these are shifting. This resulted in an adapted model of the traveler’s user journey on the one hand, and into frameworks on the other hand that present a variety of experiences that tomorrow’s international travelers are seeking out more and more often.

As the remodeled user journey below shows, a trip is made up of a series of steps – from pre-travel-experience over (travel to/on) destination, the journey home and post-travel-experience – throughout three main activities – experiencing, planning/booking and sharing/reflecting. Three distinct frameworks were developed that lay out the variety of experiences sought out by travelers during each of these activities.


Secondly, inspired by a service design approach, we mapped out the most interesting combinations of experiences, steps and activities in the user journey by taking on international travelers’ perspectives. By immersing ourselves in different personas and their journeys that were developed, a number of desired experiences on specific touch points of travelers was identified, described and selected.



Eventually, from this selection of experiences five key challenges were deduced, to be used for product development by Toerisme Vlaanderen and/or the sector:

  • to enable travelers to co-create their own experience while preparing for their trip, on their way to Flanders or in Flanders
  • to enable travelers to reenergize on their destination, whether through offering activities or ways to relax
  • to enable travelers to flexibly plan and book their trip beforehand or along the way
  • to enable travelers to instantly share experiences with friends and family
  • to enable travelers to reflect upon valuable experiences afterwards


Toerisme Vlaanderen is currently using these experience frameworks and challenges to inspire the tourism sector to develop new products and to get partners to collaborate with a shared vision in mind. The challenges also serve as a trigger for the creative sector to come up with product ideas and to seek out partners in the tourism sector to further develop and materialize them.

[Images Toerisme Vlaanderen]


five key challenges for the development of new products for the Flemish Masters program, centered around the variety of experiences that tomorrow's international leisure travelers seek out
three experience frameworks to encourage discussion, to inspire and to stimulate envisioning opportunities for new product development in tourism
service design materials including a remodeled user journey and personas, to facilitate taking on a traveler’s perspective