García-Delgado, F.J.; Martínez-Puche, A.; Lois-González, R.C. Heritage, Tourism and Local Development in Peripheral Rural Spaces: Mértola (Baixo Alentejo, Portugal). Sustainability2020, 12, 9157.
García-Delgado, F.J.; Martínez-Puche, A.; Lois-González, R.C. Heritage, Tourism and Local Development in Peripheral Rural Spaces: Mértola (Baixo Alentejo, Portugal). Sustainability 2020, 12, 9157.
In the context of multiple repurposing of rural spaces, tourism represents a path for development, with the potential to revitalize these areas. The conservation and restoration of heritage, and its promotion through tourism, can become an opportunity for local development, in which a range of stakeholders fulfil different roles in the carrying out of the processes involved. The aim of the study was to analyse the process and results of channelling heritagisation through tourism in Mértola (Baixo Alentejo, Portugal). A series of interviews with the chief stakeholders in the process was conducted, from which the contexts and conceptualisations of development were determined. On the basis of secondary data (statistics), an analysis of the impacts of the process of heritagisation and the development of tourism was undertaken. The objectives of this study consisted in determining: a) the importance of the process of heritagisation in Mértola; b) the viability of the project, given the cost and lack of comprehensive conservation, in creating a unified whole; d) the performance of, and power relationships between, the various stakeholders; e) the limited participation of locals due to disaffection with the project; f) the correlation between heritage, rural tourism and local development.
Peripheral areas; local development; heritagisation; sustainable rural tourism; stakeholders
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