Promoting historical irrigation canals as natural and cultural heritage in mass-tourism destinations

Sandra Ricart (Department of Geography, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain)
Anna Ribas (Department of Geography, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain)
David Pavón (Department of Geography, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain)
Ariadna Gabarda-Mallorquí (Department of Geography, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain)
Dolors Roset (Department of Geography, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Publication date: 24 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the tourism potential of natural and cultural heritage in historical irrigation canals by promoting social learning and providing digital tools to local and visitors.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is based on the EUWATHER project (JPI – Cultural Heritage, HERITAGE PLUS Joint Call 2015), through which new opportunities for eco-tourism and outdoor recreation as a driver for sustainable development of historical irrigation canals are provided. A case study from North-Eastern Spain, the Lower Ter area (in the Costa Brava), is analyzed. Heritage inventories and digital itineraries including the tangible and intangible cultural history of waterscape heritage have been co-designed with local communities and key stakeholders. Online data sets and Spatial Data Infrastructure (webpage and mobile app) are provided.

Findings

The project provides a manual for developing digital waterways heritage tours. For the case study, up to 118 heritage objects have been selected from 8 natural and cultural heritage categories according to their tourism potential. Three itineraries have been proposed to promote the tourism potential existing in the hinterland of the Costa Brava region.

Practical implications

The methods section and the main results obtained for the case study will be useful for professionals working in heritage institutions, rural development and sustainable tourism agencies.

Originality/value

The project provides two geo-based technologies: a digital platform (www.waterwaysexplorer.com) and a mobile app (Izi.travel) in which external users are able to collect relevant data and construct tourism itineraries from minor waterways with consolidated natural and cultural heritage. A Tool Box is provided for practitioners in order to help local communities and tourist organizations to create their own itineraries along minor waterways.

Keywords

Citation

Ricart, S., Ribas, A., Pavón, D., Gabarda-Mallorquí, A. and Roset, D. (2019), "Promoting historical irrigation canals as natural and cultural heritage in mass-tourism destinations", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-12-2017-0089

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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