UNIQUENESS AND NOTORIETY IN CLASSIFIED SITES - TRENDS AND CHALLENGES
One of general criteria for listing a site as World Heritage include the acknowledgement of its supralocal relevance,
as well as the singularities that make it unique in the world. Although likely to be integrated into larger networks, this individuality is dependent of its specific geographic location but also related to tangible and intangible values symbolized by the place.
The sites already listed and therefore subject to special protection, as well as those with the potential for a future integration are an excellent laboratory in terms of landscape content analysis, study and collection of data that identify and justify this distinction, a strategic issue in a global dynamic that presents some risks of standardization of processes and spatial patterns.
NEW TOURISM AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE - GASTRONOMY, WINE AND RELIGION
Some elements formerly considered of minor relevance in its capacity to attract tourists to tourist sites now play a fundamental role. The same happens with the demand for wine and food tourism.
There has also been a change in the supply structure of some products that have long been centred in mass commercial offers, as in religious tourism. What actually happens nowadays is a combination between the attraction of pilgrimage places, which tend to be mass-marked based, as happens in Fatima, Portugal, and a more cultural, monumental demand, increasingly present in the UNESCO Heritage List.
Visitors are offered the opportunity to learn about the culture, customs, traditions and stories of the places and personalities in a very pleasant way, with expectations often exceeded, and a true enjoyment of the experience.
The demand of what we may call the alternative, niche, or creative tourism – the new tourism – has in food products and in the food for the soul (religions), meets the cultural expressions of places, the unique presence of gastronomic and religious festivities.
In both cases, the places and the motives of devotion (churches, sanctuaries, sacred art, saints, friars and nuns, in the case of religious tourism; terroirs, gourmet products, unique food cooking, wine cellars, harvests, restaurants and chefs, in the case of gastronomy and wine) have become attractive elements that motivate an increasing involvement of regulators, agencies, institutions and researchers.
In both cases, the places and the motives of devotion (churches, sanctuaries, sacred art, saints, friars and nuns, in the case of religious tourism; terroirs, products gourmet, unique food cooking, wine cellars, harvests, restaurants and chefs, in the case of gastronomy and wine) have become attractive elements that motivate an increasing involvement of regulators, agencies, institutions and researchers. They shape a tourism product, motivating meetings of confreres, becoming the object of celebration and promotion in local, regional, national and international events.
In this sense, promoting this theme as an academic framework values culture, tourism and development, enabling their study to give a special meaning to the relationship between heritage and the new trends in tourism.
MANAGEMENT OF DESTINATIONS AND SUSTAINABILITY IN WORLD HERITAGE SITES
The management of tourist destinations is especially relevant when dealing with sites listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. In these destinations sustainable management seems rather complex due to the quantity, diversity, uniqueness and rareness of the heritage.
The recognition of Exceptional Universal Value contributes to an exponential growth of tourism demand, posing new challenges to sustainable management of tourist destinations.
In this framework, it is crucial to understand management challenges, share experiences and reflect on best practices of planning and sustainable management of tourism activities in World Heritage Sites. Among these, several strategies are included: heritage conservation and preservation; integration and participation of the different stakeholders and interest groups; empowerment of the local community and private and public agents related to tourism and heritage;, partnerships and networks; visitor management and monitoring; interpretation and promotion of destinations; innovative and creative ways of structuring and qualifying the offer and enhance the tourist experience.
Responsible tourism is a key concept in the preservation of the values and spirit of the place and to safeguard World Heritage sites.
In this context, the expected dialogues between tourism and heritage will prove crucial for the effectiveness of local actions and for the sustainability of tourist destinations as a distinctive factor in World Heritage Sites.
TOURISM RECREATION AND CULTURAL EVENTS
Tourism recreation focused on the resources of a given area, planned and implemented in order to encourage and facilitate greater and more active participation of tourists, are a key component of the differentiation of the offer of a tourist destination.
Cultural events are part of the new positioning strategies of territories in the competitive tourism market and also play an important role in promoting their singularities, which are at the root of different classification processes/asset protection.
The increase in demand and tourist experience on the one hand, and the growth and diversity of World Heritage Sites on the other, justify the renewed interest in these issues, in the range of entertainment and events programmes, and in its actual effects on tourist destinations of renowned heritage relevance.
NEW TECHNOLOGIES APPLIED TO TOURISM MANAGEMENT AND RESEARCH
We live in an increasingly technological world, an idea which may be a cliché, but is in fact an undeniable reality and the logical corollary of a long and intricate evolution which, deep down, dates back to the root of human nature itself and to its capacity of organizing and identifying as a community.
In this techno-society, especially after the advent of the digital age and the internet, the idea of community started to exist in a truly universal scale. However, globalization - instead of what was to be expected – highlighted the local and regional dimensions of phenomena.
However, globalization - instead of what was to be expected – highlighted the local and regional dimensions of phenomena. The field of Tourism was no exception: local identities oppose the trend towards standardization, providing competitive factors of the territories.
In a time-space dominated by connectivity and guided by logics of collectivized thinking on social networks, there are many challenges that arise in tourism research, but there are also huge challenges and uncertainties that arise in the planning and management of tourist activities.
MANAGEMENT OF PORTUGUESE INFLUENCED HERITAGE WORLDWIDE
The list of World heritage sites of Portuguese influence is characterised by its spatial discontinuity, quite diversified geographical locations and different settings in social, cultural and political contexts, placed in territories with different development paths.
This results in quite particular challenges in the process of management of those sites:
on the one hand, by enhancing the connections and memory filiations underlining this network, particularly the Portuguese heritage; on the other hand, by working on the specific special framework of each one of the nodes or vertices of this set.
In addition to the general principles of sustainability and long-term guarantees associated with managing any site listed by UNESCO, the future of this network might be achieved through the balance between this sense of belonging to a collective memory, and the proper local and regional contextualization of each of these assets.
TERRITORY, TOURIST ROUTES AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPES
Over the past few years, territory has been positioning itself as key element in thematic tourism, as it is able to gather the values of the identity of places, the authenticity of the practices, the global communications and technological diversity, cultural differentiation, sustainability support and notoriety.
All these values are attraction factors for any tourist destination, and simultaneously find a solid expression in the organisation of trial experiments and participation in the daily activities in places and in the exploitation of the resources of the territory, along routes which are the result of cooperation between local and regional stakeholders.
These routes, clearly anchored in landscape elements, either natural or built, find a superlative appreciation in cultural elements (tangible and intangible), in history, in traditional practices and in the specific socioeconomics of places. This set of characteristics are especially endowed to give a proper answer to an increasing demand of new tourists in search of alternative forms of tourism, of experiences that break with their daily lives, of contact with forgotten traditions and adventures in unusual places.
This topic aims at integrating the texts that may have the core of their approach in the affinity between the area's resources, the motivation of visitation and the cultural identity.