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Social appreciation for the improvement of tourism management of 20th-century heritage: a methodological proposal

Gema Ramírez-Guerrero (Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)
Javier García-Onetti (Department of History, Geography and Philosophy, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)
Juan Adolfo Chica-Ruiz (Department of History, Geography and Philosophy, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)
Manuel Arcila-Garrido (Department of History, Geography and Philosophy, University of Cádiz, Cádiz, Spain)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 27 September 2021

Issue publication date: 28 October 2021




This paper attempts to fill the gap that exists in research regarding 20th-century heritage and its social appreciation. The purpose of this paper is to explore different ways of evaluating the heritage value and tourism potential and to propose an innovative model validated in the Zarzuela Hippodrome as an example of cultural asset from 20th century with important economic, social, cultural, aesthetic and architectural aspects.


This study opted for an interpretation of heritage from an ecosystem, integrating and global paradigm, understanding the asset as a set of resources that interact with each other, generating a common and enriched tourist experience among all the elements that make it up. From this perspective, it is conceived that by modifying one of the elements, the whole (tourist) ecosystem will be equally influenced. On the other side, it was incorporated non-parametric techniques based on the implementation of surveys for the validation of the tool to the case study of the Zarzuela hippodrome.


The results suggest that the hippodrome's internal values have been evaluated very positively, while its external values are low. Through this study, the paper has identified several weaknesses that impede its functioning as a viable “tourist product.” The distance from the city center, the lack of available information and the scarce diffusion and tourism promotion are its main weaknesses. The proposed analysis tool reveals the importance of the active participation of visitors to evaluate cultural assets through the combination of aspects related to the conservation of cultural assets and, in turn, elements that encourage their commodification as tourist products, break down barriers between these two disciplines.

Research limitations/implications

The management tool proposed in this study can be used to underpin the creation of tourism experiences in cultural or heritage assets by diagnosing the current state of its tourist potential, quantifying its value in relation to the visitors’ perception and making visible those problematic aspects to develop actions to solve them. Although the present study is support for future research, as well as for improving the marketing of heritage in tourist settings, an in-depth analysis of the technical elements of heritage, as well as of its intervention (if applicable), will be necessary for the managers who want to use the tool.

Social implications

One of the most differentiating characteristics between the construction typology of 20th-century historical buildings is perhaps the scarcity of decorative ornamentation, with exposed concrete being the main surface coating. Many of these constructions have an important cultural and historical relevance, however, the social perception, as regards its consideration as architectural and artistic heritage seems to reflect discordant aspects. This study provides support as a decision-making tool to determine the existing valuation of a building and how to enhance it.


This study takes steps toward the creation of a model that supports decision-makers and owners of cultural assets through a measurement system that makes it possible to quantify and determine the current state of tourism use through the social evaluation of heritage criteria. It defines which are the elements that favor the resilience of the property or, on the contrary, which are those that undermine its enhancement.



The authors remain grateful the administration of the Zarzuela hippodrome for allowing them to carry out the surveys, essential step for the validation of the study. They also thank to anonymous reviewers for their advice at the stage of state-of-the-art and discussing the research methodology. This research was funded by InnovaConcrete Project, funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement (No. 760858).


Ramírez-Guerrero, G., García-Onetti, J., Chica-Ruiz, J.A. and Arcila-Garrido, M. (2021), "Social appreciation for the improvement of tourism management of 20th-century heritage: a methodological proposal", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 522-546.



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