In 2018 the European Commission celebrates the European Year of Cultural Heritage with the aim of promoting cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and social cohesion and strengthening a sense of identity. The initiative draws attention to the new challenges that the cultural heritage is facing in recent years, such as the impact of the digital shift, the environmental and physical pressure on heritage sites, the reduced public budgets, and the falling participation in traditional cultural activities.
Beyond merely commercial approaches, the touristic sector can stimulate virtuous uses of the cultural heritage that allow either to keep it alive and guarantee its preservation. If increasing tourism activity can threat the preservation of cultural heritage, the participation of local communities in the management and promotion of the cultural heritage can mitigate the risks related to the banalization of cultural landscapes in mass tourist destinations.
In the last few years, the touristic model of Barcelona has been widely discussed. For instance, one of the most visited World Heritage Sites in Barcelona such as Parc Güell has been surrounded by several controversies among residents due to the decision of restring the access in 2013. Barcelona is thus asked to give responses that mitigate the conflict around cultural tourism that also will be scalable in other cities and heritage sites.
Coping with scenarios as such, the touristic sector is thus expected to foster encounters between local communities and visitors as a strategy to keep tangible and intangible heritage alive and enact intergenerational dialogue and practices. New technologies have to be the main driver in encouraging co-creation process between audiences, both tourists and locals, and cultural heritage.
This expert meeting will gather in Barcelona a group of researchers presenting contributions which address the conference themes from a range of subject fields including, but not limited to; leisure studies, tourism, geography, cultural studies, sociology, gender studies, ethnic and racial studies, and social and anthropology of tourism. The aim of the meeting is to propose key advances into the understanding and analysis of the relationship between tourism and cultural heritage.
The workshop is open to academic researchers and practitioners at any career stage with an interest in tourism. The meeting will be organized by the ATLAS Cultural Tourism Research Group, which has been monitoring cultural trends around the world for the past 25 years. The meeting with be hosted by the Ostelea School of Tourism and Hospitality, Campus Barcelona, affiliated to the Lleida University and partner of EAE Business School and member of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization).