“The commercial benefits of tourism for heritage destinations can be a problem if it is not managed well”

Daily news related to the Council and the Alhambra and the Generalife complex 


“The commercial benefits of tourism for heritage destinations can be a problem if it is not managed well”

For three days from today until next Wednesday, the Alhambra will be the scene of debate and reflection about tourism and Heritage. This morning, María del Mar Villafranca, the Director of the Alhambra and Juan de Dios Jiménez, the Vice-Rector of Institutional Relations with Business and Labour Market Insertion Programs at the International University of Andalusia (UNIA), inaugurated the International Seminar on the Capacity to receive and manage tourism flows in heritage spaces, and welcomed over 50 students who had registered for the course.

Later Miguel Ángel Troitiño Vinuesa, the Professor of Human Geography at the Complutense University in Madrid, and co-director of the course with Victoria Eugenia Chamorro Martínez, the Secretary-General of the Council of the Alhambra, gave a lecture entitled Heritage and sustainable cultural tourism in which he argued that “the commercial benefits of heritage tourism can be a serious problem if it is not managed well. Tourism poses a threat to heritage if it is not carefully planned. In the 21st-century heritage and culture must coexist with mass tourism. Heritage managers face the challenge of how best to combine tourism and conservation”. 

Troitiño put forward the Alhambra as an example of sustainable management. He said that it was “key for Granada, Andalusia and for tourism in Spain in general. Sustainable tourism strategies were implanted here many years ago, and this has been a key factor for development and progress in the region”. 

For her part María del Mar Villafranca, the Director of the Alhambra and Generalife, reflected in her welcome speech about the relationship between heritage, tourism and culture placing special emphasis on the negative effects of mass tourism on heritage because she said “of the negative effects it has on conservation. Tourism is necessary but it is not the solution to heritage problems”.

Over 50 people will be taking part in the seminar which is structured around two main themes: Tourism load capacity and the management of the public visit an operative instrument? An instrument for review? and The Alhambra as a laboratory: the load capacity and management of the public visit. In the first theme, two main lines of analysis will be presented: general reflections about the subject (recent evolution of the concept, research in different territorial contexts and the doctrines of international organizations) and secondly interesting case studies with special mention of three important geographical areas of reference, namely Europe, Latin America and the Arab Mediterranean region.

The second main theme of the International Seminar, which is part of the programme offered by the School of the Alhambra, will be to analyse the management of the public visit so as to reflect on the concept of tourism load capacity as applied in heritage management. It will also present particularly difficult and innovative cases and interesting research initiatives for the preventive conservation of the Monuments and the visit system in heritage spaces with large numbers of visitors.

The Alhambra is the main subject of the International Seminar and various research initiatives applied in the Monument for preventive conservation and management of the public visit system will be explained. These initiatives have made the monument “a reference at local and regional level and also in terms of its international projection” Troitiño claimed. 

Until next Wednesday experts in heritage, culture and tourism will be taking part in this International Seminar, including Pilar Fatás, from the Museum of Altamira, Margarita Robles, from the Atzompa group of monuments (México), Pedro Salmerón, an architect and Juan Antonio Herráez, scientific curator of the IPCE, among others.

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