Attracting Visitors to Ancient Neighbourhoods: Creation and Management of the Historic City of Plymouth, UK

By Rahimi, Roya | European Journal of Tourism Research, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Attracting Visitors to Ancient Neighbourhoods: Creation and Management of the Historic City of Plymouth, UK


Rahimi, Roya, European Journal of Tourism Research


Barrera-Fernández, D. (2016). Attracting visitors to ancient neighbourhoods: Creation and management of the historic city of Plymouth, UK. Groningen: InPlanning. 289 pp. Free e-book. ISBN: 978-94-91937-19-4. DOI code: 10.17418/PHD.2015.9789491937194

Tourism considers as an essential tool for achieving European Union objectives and promoting European citizen's interests, increasing employment and growth, developing regions, better managing cultural and natural heritage and strengthening European identity (EU Commission, 2000). Since 1988 urban tourism constituted the most stable part of tourism potential and revenue of European countries (Hollier, 1988) and in the recent years the number of countries with decisions to develop urban and cultural tourism to enhance their economy and regenerate their historical areas has increased rapidly. In the European Union, heritage policies depend on each country and some countries such as UK (Bath), Germany (Heidelberg) and Italy (Florence) successfully attracted significant numbers of visitors to their historic sites and managed to become top heritage tourism destinations. In these cities, tourism is the dominant activity and heritage conservation has become a priority.

Current book focuses on the historic city of Plymouth which is a medium size, multifunctional city with regional relevance on the south coast of Devon, the most visited region of the United Kingdom (UK) by nationals and one of the most visited by foreign tourists. According to BarreraFernández in the number of visitors, Plymouth is in the third place among unitary authorities of the Southwest of England and in the first place among heritage and coastal cities of Devon and Cornwall. Despite other UK's port cities Plymouth was built around, and for, the Royal Navy, not maritime trade, and was once the largest naval base in Europe. The city is not a major traditional heritage or cultural destination but made an effort to change and is continuing to change in relation to the development of urban cultural tourism by offering a complementary product in its region.

This book is evolved from doctoral thesis of Daniel Barrera-Fernández and using British model (Ashworth and Tunbridge, 2000) focuses on the role and importance of heritage preservation and urban tourism in Plymouth. The book has eight sections and addresses the following aims:

* First, analyse specific framework of heritage preservation and management in the UK with focus on Plymouth to find out how the heritage framework has evolved and identify the current framework in relation to legislation and the role of administrations involved;

* Second, study the historic evolution of urban tourism and the current relevance of tourism-related activities;

* Finally study how different stakeholders and initiatives affect the tourist use of the historic city, dividing them into four aspects: heritage and culture, tourism, urban planning and economy.

After foreword and acknowledgment the book starts with the first section to introduce the rationale of the research, research questions and methodology. Second section focuses on the historic cities of Europe, urban cultural tourism, heritage values and recent trends and shifts. Third section focuses on the city of Plymouth and discusses its geographic position, its relationship with the sea, importance of the military forces in its history, its urban and local government and socioeconomic approach and finally presents the study's area. Section four focuses on the evolution of preservation and management of Plymouth during the Second World War and consequences on built heritage and discusses the current situation regarding conservation areas, statutory listed buildings and other local listing policies.

Section five is about the history of the tourism industry in Plymouth where the author introduces four stages of pre-war antecedents where the city was particularly attractive because of its transoceanic connections; the war and the recovery of the activity where the war destroyed much of the tourist activity and the city made an effort to recover; the changes in the market where British holiday makers changed national destinations for international resorts and there was a need to find new tourist markets; the new management strategies where there was an increase in promotion and creating new events and attractions and visitors' profiles. …

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