Cultural heritage tourism: a territorial management perspective

Objectives and competences

The objective of this course is to present tourism as a 'marketplace' for cultural heritage, but one that presents peculiar issues, management problems, and questions of economic viability, ethics, and governance which the heritage manager needs to be at ease with. It will involve 'opening up' core competences of the cultural heritage management institutions and cultural site managers to territorial and economic management and planning, mobility, and technological innovation.


Ideally, students should manage a basic knowledge of cultural heritage categories and spatial forms, as well as some principles of economics.


h1. 1. Tourism: Definitions and Key Concepts
• The tourist system: definitions, structure, functioning, recent trends and epistemological approaches
• Sustainable tourism: key issues and challenges
• Tourism development models and analytic tools: the tourist space, carrying capacity models, the Tourism Area Life Cycle model and its refinements, the Vicious Circle of Heritage Tourism Destinations

h1. 2. Destinations and Trends in Cultural Tourism
• Drivers and profiles of cultural tourism
• Trends and paradigm shifts in culural tourism: the crisis of “tangible” as a tourism asset
• The importance of context and place in Cultural Heritage tourism: the city as destination
• The critique to “cultural” tourism and the shift to “creative”

h1. 3. Cultural Planning for Sustainable Heritage Tourism
• The “creative tourism” paradigm
• Managing culture in space
• Mobilising and dynamising heritage
• The role of ICT in enhancing the value of CH

Intended learning outcomes

The students will gather a basic knowledge of the workings and tensions related with the ‘heritage experience’ of visitors, their territorial context, and the economic cycle by which tourism may become a lever for conservation, valorisation and branding of cultural heritage. Through the presentation of theoretical concepts and the discussion of several case studies, they will be offered a chance to develop a critical and hands-on approach to cultural management, which looks at the wider scale of problems involved by the spatial economics of destination management.


  • Ashworth G.J., & Tunbridge J.E. (2000). The tourist-historic city. Pergamon (2nd ed.) E-version
  • Bendixen P. (1997). Cultural tourism: economic success at the expense of culture? The International Journal of Cultural Policy 4(1): 21-46.
  • Curtis, S. (1998). Visitor management in small historic cities. Travel & Tourism Analyst 3: 75-89.
  • Hunter, C. (1997). Sustainable tourism as an adaptive paradigm. Annals of Tourism Research 24(4): 850-867.
  • Jansen Verbeke, M. (1986). Inner-City Tourism - Resources, Tourists and Promoters. Annals of Tourism Research 13(1): 79-100.
  • Martin, B. S. & Uysal, M. (1990). An examination of the relationship between carrying capacity and the tourism lifecycle: management and policy implications. Journal of Environmental Management 31(4): 327-333.
  • McKercher, B. & H. Du Cros (2003). Testing a cultural tourism typology. International Journal of Tourism Research 5(1), 45-58.
  • Moscardo, G. (1996). Mindful visitors: heritage and tourism. Annals of Tourism Research 23(2): 376-397
  • Richards, G. (Ed.) (2007). Cultural Tourism. Global and local perspectives. London: The Haworth Hospitality Press E-version
  • Richards, G. & J. Wilson (2006). Developing creativity in tourist experiences: A solution to the serial reproduction of culture? Tourism Management 27: 1209-1223. E-version
  • Russo, A.P. (2002). The ‘vicious circle’ of tourism development in heritage cities. Annals of Tourism Research 29(1): 165-182. E-version
  • Russo, A.P. & A. Arias Sans (2009). Student communities and landscapes of creativity: how Venice – ‘the world's most touristed city’ – is changing. European Urban and Regional Studies 16(2): 175-189.
  • Russo, A.P. & F. Romagosa (2010). The Network of Spanish Jewries: in praise of connecting and sharing heritage. Journal of Heritage Tourism 5(2): 141-156.
  • Russo, A.P. & G. Segre (2009). Destinations and property regimes: an exploration. Annals of Tourism Research 36(4): 587-606. E-version
  • Van der Borg, J., Costa, P., & Gotti G. (1996). Tourism in European heritage cities. Annals of Tourism Research 23(2): 306-321.


Based on assignments evaluation and public discussion of project work.

Lecturer's references

Prof. dr. Antonio Paolo RussoAssociate tenured professor at University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain (Department of Geography) and Research Director of the Science and Technology Park of Tourism of Tarragona. He has worked in the past at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (where he obtained his Ph.D in Economics in 2002), Autonomous University of Barcelona and at the IULM - Milan. He is the author of several publications in international academic journals and collections. His research interests range from education to economy and tourism geography and urban planning culture. He is regularly involved in national and European projects on these issues, as a member or leader of international networks or as an independent consultant. He lives in Barcelona since 2003 and is a social and political activist on issues related to global citizenship and urban democracy.