Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

An Insight into Cultural Heritage Management of Tourism Destinations

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

An Insight into Cultural Heritage Management of Tourism Destinations

Article excerpt

Introduction

Complexity characterizes today the ontological and epistemological approach to the study of the phenomena that surround us. The present work embrace this paradigm and aims to look at the management of cultural heritage and its link to tourism development considering the complexity of the implication in several areas, at local, regional, national and international level. In this time of global changes in terms of economic paradigms, geopolitical stability and international security, culture is considered the fourth pillar of sustainability. Cultural heritage becomes the central topic of many debates. It is included in the considerations regarding local development from the economic point of view (Mazzanti, 2003; UNESCO, 2000), as well as the debates about heritage awareness (Oosterbeek & Pollice, 2014). Still, cultural heritage and its management is nowadays a central point within the debates on integration and intercultural dialogue (Carbone, Oosterbeek, & Costa, 2012) and multicultural societies (Colombo, 2011). Culture and cultural heritage become vital within the process of tourism destinations development, attractiveness and their competitiveness (Boniface, 1995; Malek & Costa, 2014; McKercher & du Cross, 2002).

In a broader sense, we need to contextualize the implication of cultural heritage management within the post-capitalist society in which we live. According to authors such as Drucker (2015) or Bounfour and Edvinsson (2005), among others, in the post-capitalist society the knowledge represents the primary resource for development. On the other hand, the New International Setting is based on full economic and international integration and, at the same time, on the enhancement of diversity, thus on the self-knowledge. The latter is provided at several levels as a result of a process in which the role of culture and cultural heritage management is crucial. Culture is indeed evocated as an essential resource within the new paradigms of international relations and "soft power", and the cultural diplomacy is seriously taken in consideration by the most prominent nations (Gienow-Hecht & Donfried, 2010; Mazzei, 2012: 35).

In this context, the holistic approach leads us even further into D'Amore (1988)reflection about tourism as a great vehicle of peace and mutual understanding among different communities, through its capacity of putting people with different cultural background (visitors and host community) in contact with each other. In order to reach this goal, however, coherent, new and integrated policies and approaches to cultural heritage management for the integration between tourists and local communities should be developed. In this perspective, for instance, even the director of a small museum contributes not only to the local community development, but also to a global process of sustainable development and intercultural dialogue. The notion of supranational and cross border cooperation through tourism is a concept also approached by Timothy and Saarinen (2013).

One thus understands the multiple implications of a reflexion on cultural heritage quality management of tourism sites. The contribution of the present work is therefore to provide a theoretical framework to meet the point of convergence of these three areas - cultural heritage management, tourism and development. Below we present Figure 1 to illustrate schematically the reasoning developed based on the literature review along the sections of this article.

Having assumed that the cultural heritage and its knowledge is one of the elements that can drive towards the socio-economic and cultural development, its management should be based on territorial planning and management policies clearly aiming at the cultural heritage enhancement within the process of local development (Sections 2 to 4). Such a policy, together with the management practices implemented, require parameters to standardize the quality of each effort (Section 5). …

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