Community-involved tourism approaches for inland tourism areas

A course about community management to plan sustainable tourism destinations, will be developed by the University of Pisa and provided online to the partners and other users of the Training Portal, with the title of: Community-involved tourism approaches for inland tourism areas.

The multivaried and complex tourism framework is now changing scenario, both as regards the tourist demand and the tourist offer. European cultural heritage boasts a historical value expressed through tangible and intangible local sights and attractions, which have to be managed from a holistic perspective. Consequently, as concerns tourist destination planning and tourist product offer, it is necessary to consider the concept of “destination” as a network element with high local involvement [1].
Local community and stakeholders are ‘designers’ of their living territory, especially regarding inland and marginal tourist areas which have to be managed in a systemic vision for a sustainable development.

Community-involved approach integrates a community interest in sharing local values and common objectives among community members, to create opportunities to respond to disadvantaged territories and marginalized communities [2] . Cultural tourism represents a strategic asset for marginal areas with unexpressed tourism value, thanks to high government involvement level in culture-led policies and a strong community empowerment towards sustainable and resilient tourism measures [3].

In this light, sustainability can be fostered through public and private partnerships, as well as through locally generated engagement in stakeholder collaborative actions, such as: crowdfunding campaigns, resilience and widespread tourism activities. In this light, marginal areas have to foster their local traditions and cultural landscapes, for a tourism-led purpose, thanks to sustainable valorization measures, mainly referred to: history and memory of the place, slow tourism activities and cultural innovation (also with digitalization activities).

The following table introduces at different types of community-involved tourism.

Table 1 – Different kinds of community-involved tourism [4]

Experiencing creativity and emotional tourism represents the prerogative of 4.0 tourism, especially as concerns: local storytelling and visual narration and intercultural knwoledge (as out-of-the ordinary- experience). «Cultural tourism in this way can be a powerful mechanism to understanding other places, peoples and pasts, not through selective, high-profile cultural sites and activities that may not necessarily be representative of the societies they operate in, but through a more democratic and ubiquitous approach to cultures» [5].

In these terms, cultural and sustainable tourism models can realize inclusive and accessible tourism systems, in order to plan a better touristic organization and a better community quality of life, by activating strategies with socio-economic added value on territories. Definitely, community-involved tourism approaches are defined by literature as holistic measures for local development and minor tourism valorization, with monitoring and evaluting support.

The table below shows four thematic focuses on community-involved tourism approach that will be expressed through bottom-up participatory meetings. They will be realized by stakeholder partnerships and private-public focus groups, in order to provide specific expertise for co-creative tourism experience. Particular relevance will be given to involved-community itinerary design on the basis of Italian and European models for mountain and inland tourism planning. Sustainable tourism perspective has also to be considered as the key factor of a successful socio-economic and environmental promotional strategy for minority tourism areas. Sustainability can be fostered by high local identitary itineraries planned with antropic, cultural, natural and social peculiar elements. Slow tourism practices will be studied with the aim to realize geoitineraries with territorial strong connotation, in order to qualify local community and local stakeholders. Tangible and intangible elements will be integrated in network tourist itineraries which merge various kinds of tourism experiences where the visitor is a valuable element of the tourist offer.

INVOLVED-COMMUNITY TOURISM APPROACHESBottom-up governance approach. Local empowerment measures. Experience and emotional tourism, network tourism, co-creation approach for cultural tourism.
INVOLVED-COMMUNITY ITINERARY PLANNINGThematic and integrated tourism planning: terrorial features, identity specialities, material and intangible resources.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENTSocio-economic development and social quality of life.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PLANNINGGeoitineraries, slow and cultural tourism.
Table 2 – Training subjects [6]

[1] LEMMI E. (edited by) (2015), Turismo e management dei territori. I geoitinerari, fra valori e

Progettazione turistica, Bologna, Pàtron Editor.

[2] JOPPE M. (1996), “Sutainable community tourism development revisited” in Tourism Management, ELSEVIER, Great Britain, vol. 17, pp. 475-479.

[3] RICHARDS G., DEREK H. (edited by) (2000), Tourism and sustainable community development, Routledge, London.

[4] ARUNJ N. (2015), “Local Community-involvement in tourism: a content analysis of websites of wildlife resort” in Atna-Journal of Tourism studies, India, Vol. 10., pp.13-21.

[5] SMITH MK ET ALII (2006), “Cultural tourism, community partcipation and empowerment” in Cultural Tourism in a changing world, UK.

[6] Source: University of Pisa – Department of Political Science