Living cultural landscapes and the challenge of tourism

When, local time: 
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 -
9:00am to 5:00pm
Where: 
France, Paris
Type of Event: 
Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Contact: 
p.debrine@unesco.org

This 6th UNESCO Chair seminar will address a number of questions on living cultural landscapes in France and abroad and the challenge of tourism. The morning session will focus on vine and wine landscapes, emblematic of issues concerning the creation of wine tourism destinations in connection with UNESCO sites, and the relationship between production landscapes and consumption tourism . The afternoon session will seek to extend these questions to all types of cultural landscapes.
As “combined works of nature and humankind” that “express a long and intimate relationship between peoples and their natural environment”, living cultural landscapes are characterized by their strong anthropic dimension. The concept of living cultural landscape requires taking into consideration the relationship between topography and the contributions, traces and memories of those who have shaped it, not only as a legacy of the past, but also as a dynamic and continuous construction of those who live there on a daily basis.

A complex and polysemous concept, living cultural landscapes give rise to specific questions on their tourism development, in a different sense from that of other World Heritage sites which are more restricted geographically and thematically:

* The boundaries of cultural landscapes raise the complex issue of their tourism development, as there may be a lack of overall coherence and consistency between the perimeter inscribed on the World Heritage List and the “destination”.

Should the creation of a tourist destination correspond precisely to the administrative UNESCO perimeter – as it is specifically this perimeter that receives prestigious World Heritage recognition – or should tourism development coincide with the territorial boundaries of the cultural landscape? What are the relationships or the potential sources of competition with existing destinations located within or near the established perimeter?

* The notion of living cultural landscapes implies the existence of productive activities, the sustainability of the latter being directly related to the inscription of the former. Accordingly, it is necessary to identify the limitations induced from tourism activities that not only contribute to the aestheticization and museumification of these places, but, through their introduction into the area concerned, may also hinder other economic activities.

* The sometimes considerable number of actors involved in these complex areas requires an analysis of their role and positioning in the development, communication and creation of a new destination. What tourism governance could be created in order to ensure harmony between actors with different objectives?

* Living cultural landscapes are places to live and work for the local populations. The expectations of these different worlds – those who live in, work in, and visit these areas – are not always the same. Thus the “tourism development” of living cultural landscapes is not systematically devoid of conflict and tension. How can the encounter between the permanent inhabitants of these landscapes and short-term visitors or tourists be ensured?