The cultural heritage of regions and communities is presently being rediscovered and valorized as a driving force in building cultural identity and as a ubiquitous resource for dynamizing cultural activities. This process can lead to the development of cultural capital with clear territorial links and, as such, a favorable incubation condition for creating sustainable and competitive forms of cultural tourism.
Research on cultural resources for tourism implies both a multidisciplinary approach and methodological innovations to deal with such a complex phenomenon. The challenge to identify and map cultural heritage elements – tangible and intangible – in a pan European context has recently been dealt with in the ESPON project 1.3.3 (2004-2006). Lack of adequate definitions, poor databases, and a showcase of national and sector differences in approaching culture as “resource” for development was the final balance of that explorative project. These findings have prompted further case study research into the study of cultural heritage, which is encapsulated in this book.
This new publication differs from others on cultural tourism through its emphasis on spatial dynamics, by analyzing location and behavior patterns in different tourism destinations, by identifying the parameters of change induced by tourism and, not in the least, trial and error examples in policy making. The book includes a rich variety of case studies mainly from all over Europe (but also including cases set in Israel, Cairo and India), representing the views and findings of 21 international researchers and scholars in cultural tourism, scanning unique situations in order to detect the common dynamics and impacts of tourismification. The final objective is to propose consistent directions for policy, based on empirical insights.
This book contributes significantly to the understanding of cultural diversity and territorial identity, on the one hand, and to the dynamics of tourism, on the other, all of which are key issues in local and regional planning and management. As such, they should be a source of inspiration for policy-makers and an eye-opener for students, researchers and consultants in the field of cultural heritage and tourism and, hopefully, an interesting virtual trip – from Savonlinna to Cairo, from Santiago de Compostela to Sibiu – crossing and discovering a kaleidoscope of colorful and unique cultural landscapes and tourismscapes.