The Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (UPV) has joined in the celebration of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development sponsored by the United Nations Organization, with the presentation of the book Sustainable Tourism and Heritage. Tools for Value-Enhancement and Planning. The book gathers the knowledge accumulated during more than 20 years of research in Tourism, from the time that the UPV began offering the degree in Tourism Studies at Campus Gandia. Research professors from the Department of Tourism Studies from this campus (Lola Teruel, Maryland Morant and Pau Alonso-Monasterio) have taken part in this project, one that highlights the results of projects applied in different geographical locations with varying sets circumstances in countries in various continents.
The presentation took place on Friday, November 24th at the UPV, with the participation of the Rector of this university, Francisco J. Mora; the Regional Secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer and María José Viñals, lead author of the book and full professor at the UPV, among other authorities.
The book has a practical focus and will be available in paper and on online in Spanish and English. According to the Full Professor of the UPV ,María José Viñals, the main objective is to provide practical tools to those who need them: planners and managers of protected areas or heritage sites; municipal managers; tour operators; members of non-governmental organizations; research staff in tourism and heritage, and also students majoring in tourism and other disciplines related to heritage and tourism resources.
“The reason for the book is the need to manage tourism from an the standpoint of the conservation and protection of heritage, of recognizing the importance of heritage as a driver of local development,” explains María José Viñals.”This way, tourism products can be designed that are responsible and respectful with their natural, cultural and social environment, and also, the tourist is given a satisfying, memorable and high-quality experience at destinations,” says the researcher.
TOOLS FOR THE DIAGNOSIS AND THE CREATION OF TOURIST PRODUCTS
According to the researchers, the tools presented constitute an instrument for the diagnosis of the tourism potential of a place, strategic and operational plans, creation of tourism products, evaluation systems and tourism indicators, tourist communication plans, etc.
“There was a need for a comprehensive analysis of the relationships between the different fields of action of tourism, territory and heritage, as well clarifying the processes, and even the terminology relating the management and value-enhancement of tourist destinations, especially the patrimonial ones,” according to the researchers. “These aspects have been pointed out as necessary for a while now by different international organizations, although in reality their consolidation seems to be a distant goal,” they stated.
TECHNOLOGY APPLIED TO CONSERVATIO
The team led by the researcher María José Viñals has been aware of the advent of new technologies in the tourism and heritage sector. “The current technological changes reach both the consumer and the heritage site itself, and this must be taken into account when planning and managing tourism in heritage environments,” they point out. Adaptation to the new technological reality not only has to do with the contents, they say, but with the fact that this practical manual allows the user to download digital methodological files for data collection using a QR code.
The guiding principles behind these tools have been: sustainability, adaptability and flexibility, prioritization and sequencing, quality in information, participation and staying updated.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food, and Environment has funded the publication of this book, which, according to the scientific team, reflects the confidence of this body in the work of this research group. Publishing was carried out by the UPV Press.
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