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Heritage Tourism Field Trip

February, 03 2020
Girona Field Trips EMTM 2018-2020

During the third semester of EMTM, we got the chance to conduct many practical field trips as a crucial part of all the academic courses. One of the most exciting trips is for heritage tourism course, when different teams would be traveling to different heritage tourism sites as assigned by the professors to have observations and carry out interviews with relevant stakeholders in order to analyze different aspects of the site management such as the marketing mix, visitor management, on-site interpretation, conservation activities, and assess the impact of tourism as well as the authenticity of the site, then suggest feasible recommendations.

Heritage Tourism Field Trip

As a member of Team E, we were assigned the topic of archaeological sites with a focus on the case of Empuries. In order to enrich the assessment of Empuries, we were also visiting three other archaeological sites along Costa Brava including Ciutadella de Roses, Ullastret’s archeological site and the Iberian settlement of Castell. After all the visits, we have gained a better understanding of all the sites’ operations and how they are able to attract tourists to a mature Sea, Sun, Sand destination as well as how they can communicate the core heritage values of the site to visitors.

The topic of archaeology might sound boring to a lot of people, especially at destinations where most of the visitors come for leisure activities as of Costa Brava. However, the field trip totally exceeded our expectations. We got amazing tour guides for our visits, who were very informative and amusing at the same time. The on-site interpretation took us all by surprise for the diversity of interpretation methods being used and especially the high quality guiding services, from classic narrative guiding with many fun questions to engage audience to the role-playing that took us back to the ancient times to follow the Greek and Roman daily life. We also got to interview the managers of the two larger scale sites: Empuries and Ullastret for more insights into the sites’ operations and conservation effort.

Observations together with in-depth interviews helped us to have a more cohesive perspective of running a heritage site for tourism. We have learned that interpretation plays a crucial role in increasing the attractiveness of the sites to visitors and raising visitors’ awareness about the key educational and conservational values of the site. All tourism activities must take into account the protection of the archaeological site by striking a balance between conservation and promotion of the site for tourism. Visitors should be aware of the historical and cultural significance of the site to develop a sense of appreciation and protection of the site during their visits.

All in all, this field trip has broadened our perspectives on optimizing the use of archaeological sites for tourism and the importance of fostering heritage values among visitors. Archaeological sites are among the most valued heritage sites and conservation should always be the primary aim of these sites. Any needs for tourism activities must be compatible with this ultimate aim.

Written by Thi Thu Trang Nguyen, Student of EMTM Generation 2018-2020.

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