The Power of Belonging and Identity in Cultural Tourism: A Resource for Mature Tourism Destinations for Image Re-creation

By Chantal Marie Portillo Stephens.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the biggest advantages of the dissemination of cultural heritage (tangible or intangible) is the value given to the specific and unique characteristics of a nation, that which makes them unique for some and attractive or interesting to others, two rising assets in the competitive market of tourist destinations nowadays. Due to the rescue of its cultural heritage, the identity of a community may be established and reinforced, which in turn contributes to create an image, a reference for both the tourist and the local resident. The development of cultural identity translates into growth of the individual in the cultural context. On the other hand, it is also a process of self-discovery that may lead to a stronger perception of the self, to personal empowerment or to the development of cultural activities and other initiatives, like social projects that result in positive changes for the community and favour renovation of tourist activity. Like Kirshenblatt-Gimblett says: “Sameness is a problem the industry faces” (1996:168), an industry that requires actions that give the host community the opportunity to counterattack the secondary effects of mass tourism.

Keywords: Cultural Tourism, Mature Destination, Community, Identity, Image

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.113-126. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.165MB).

Chantal Marie Portillo Stephens

PH.D Student, Department of Modern Philology, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas de G.C., Canary Islands, Spain

After completing my studies on Translating and Interpreting I am at present in my second year of PH.D studies, enrolled in the programme ‘Cultural Sustainable Tourism: Tangible and Intangible Heritage’ in the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain. My line of investigation in the research group lead by PH.D Margaret Hart is focused in ‘Education for a Wholistic Tourist Product: Intangible Heritage’. In this line of work, I participated in the EU project Mediterranean Voices in 2004, carrying out oral testimonies recompilation, transcription and analysis, and participating actively in the organization of the Exhibition held in the Casa-Museo de Colón, in LPGC, where I was responsible of various workshops that would introduce students to the importance of intangible heritage for the preservation of local identity. I am actually working as part of my thesis on the project Family Album, which intends to organize a photograph exhibition in various schools thanks to the work of the students and through oral history recompilation. Finally, I am Secretary of the Association ‘Voices and Memory: Intangible Patrimony’, which intends to work on the recuperation of Intangible Heritage to help integrate newcomers in islands, an issue of great urgency nowadays.

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