About the Project
In December 2015 the Consejería de Educación (Education Council) of Madrid (Dirección General de Universidades e Investigación = General Directorate of Universities and Research) resolved the call for grants for R&D programmes between research groups of the Community of Madrid (Social Sciences and Humanities). Our program is one of the 24 selected, a series of research, transfer and dissemination activities to be developed between 2016 and 2018.
Approach and objectives.
The Community of Madrid is one of the biggest tourist regions of the country, with an estimated influx of around 14 million tourists a year. This is a high figure, of a magnitude equivalent to other major European urban regions, within which are the capitals of each country (Paris, Lisbon, Vienna, Berlin, etc.). As in other regions of long history, tourists and groups on excursions make an intensive use of immovable heritage, which responds to different origins and presents a wide range of typologies. Of particular interest among this heritage are several elements of territorial character: historic ensembles located in urban areas of different levels, cultural landscapes, areas of archaeological and/or paleontological interest, historic sites and territories ... and other places that concentrate a large set of values and that are subject to a complex management. In short, a heritage of great value, that has been the subject in the last decades of remarkable efforts towards its conservation, restoration, enhancement and social projection. This heritage acts as a reference of regional identity and provides a quality environment for the local population; however, it is required to become an asset for development of the region through its tourist use.
To a large extent, these cultural, tourist, urban and regional policy actions are not supported by a scientific research of an equivalent level. The scientific literature on tourism and leisure in Madrid is ample, but suffers from several knowledge gaps. In this regard, it is to be stated the small effort dedicated to study in depth the relations between heritage and tourism. On this basis, we have proposed the development of a three-year research program with two major types of objectives:
- First objective, related to knowledge generation and its management, aims to:
a) Build a body of interdisciplinary knowledge on the relationship between heritage and tourism at a European level, with a specific reference to the large capital – regions of the continent that will cover the deficits identified in the scientific production at the level of the Community of Madrid.
b) Facilitate the exchange of significant knowledge between researchers and heritage managers in order to promote changes in the conception and overall management of heritage territorial aspects.
- From an applied research perspective, the second objective is oriented towards intervention. We seek:
a) To develop innovative, locally oriented and culturally and socially sustainable strategies, for a better use of heritage ensembles, maximizing their participation in the touristic attractive of the region and, thus, contributing to its development.
b) To elaborate tools and specific applications which may be used in the cultural, urban and tourist management with an impact on large heritage ensembles, located on the territory of the Community of Madrid.
Expected results are related to the accomplishment of these major aims. In addition, to achieve a number of more global effects on a transverse direction is proposed. In the first place to advance at a scientific level, in order to become the leaders in the field of each discipline. Secondly, to generate a solid structure of scientific collaboration that will be able of leading projects at a European level. In third place to provide scientific support to Community of Madrid administrations, to inform decision making in tourism and heritage.