A World Heritage Site (WHS) since 2013, Coimbra, in the centre of Portugal, is already struggling with excess of tourists and with difficult management challenges. A possible solution for this overtourism problem can be the creation of alternative differentiated tourism products in neighbouring, peripheral small towns capable of diverting tourists and visitors from the sites in overload. Cultural routes inspired by landscapes and historical places and personalities can contribute to the affirmation of a collective memory, combining natural and cultural heritage and adding value to existent heritage resources while providing intercultural dialogues and interaction with the visited community and its distinctive values. This research in cultural tourism and education is about a proposal of a walking route for cultural interpretation intended for young visitors. The theoretical framework draws on the importance of designing tourism products that will engage families in quality time and that heritage interpretation products for young visitors can also create an awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and its conservation. Literature review regarding issues of interpretation in tourism as well as on family and educational tourism preceded an inventory which covers natural and cultural resources used as materials in the route manual and activity guide. An important piece of information was collected through a survey aimed at understanding the socio-economical, cultural and attitudinal impacts that were caused by the UNESCO listing of the University of Coimbra, Alta and Sofia as a WHS. The route project demonstrates how cultural tourism can be a driver of local development through adequately designed non-formal educational tourist programmes to foster an in-depth knowledge of destinations. The results point to the importance of destination managers and marketers to focus on providing informal educational activities which can increase the tourist offer and satisfaction of young and family tourism and thereby strengthen a destination competitiveness and value creation. The tourist route challenges young visitors and their families to know the most relevant cultural aspects of the region, allowing them to effectively contribute to local development, as it invites visitors' interaction with the local community.
Carreira, V., Azeredo, J., González-Rodríguez, M.R. and Díaz-Fernández, M.C. (2021), "The Role of Tourism Education in Overtourism and Destination Management", Sharma, A. and Hassan, A. (Ed.) Overtourism as Destination Risk (Tourism Security-Safety and Post Conflict Destinations), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-48. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83909-706-520211003
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2021 by Emerald Publishing Limited