WIT Press

The Cultural Landscape As A Cross-cutting Resource For Tourism Products In Low-density Rural Territories: Diagnosis And Guidelines For Alto Minho (NW Portugal)


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WIT Press


A. Pereira


In Northern Portugal rural tourism is one of the most successful tourism sectors: the number of establishments rose by 30%, and the accommodation capacity registered a growth of 48% between 2002 and 2011. The evolution trends of rural and nature based tourism in Northern Portugal open new perspectives to the development of an integrative approach to tourism offer, where cultural landscape may be valued as a cross-cutting resource, as well as to the reinforcement of secondary demand. Alto Minho (NW Portugal) is a predominantly low-density rural territory, with a rich cultural landscape shaped by agro-pastoral communities since the Neolithic. The concentrated diversity of potential tourism attractions and the combination of natural and cultural heritage stands as main distinguishing factors of Alto Minho as a tourism destination. This research work aims to show how the acknowledgment of cultural landscape unities at a regional scale is as a crucial instrument for the conception of interpretative itineraries, joining different kind of tourism resources, from natural to cultural heritage. Despite the short-term growth potential of rural and nature based tourism, its expansion may benefit from the development of a more integrated offer, widening the motivation spectrum. Heritage and cultural landscape touring may play a crucial role in the articulation of different tourism resources. This strategy proves to be the most advantageous one in the case of low-density rural areas.


cultural landscape, nature based tourism, rural tourism, touring.