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2019 ICTC Annual Meeting and Study Tour in Mallorca, Spain


From October 6 to 11, 2019, members of two International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Scientific Committees, the International Cultural Tourism (ICTC) and the Cultural Landscape (ISCCL) Committees conducted a Study Tour of Mallorca. Participants focused on the observation of the island’s cultural and natural resources and the landscape, with the purpose of understanding how they relate to tourism in general and cultural tourism in particular for Mallorca.

The Study Tour participants’ expertise included professionals from landscape architecture, architecture, tourism planning, academia, heritage site management, heritage resource interpretation, heritage preservation and conservation, and transportation planning.

The report structure includes: a short overview that highlights the reasons and approach of the Study Tour and continues with the findings that the participants made as a result of their meetings, interviews and personal observations. It is fully understood that with a short five-day timeframe, that it was not possible to gain a full, in depth understanding of all Mallorca’s different tourism aspects. In this context, the report then presents a set of recommendations that resulted from the findings. Overall, the report is meant to help Mallorca build on the good work being undertaken by all stakeholders in tourism planning and management, rather than serving as a critique of areas that may need improvement.

Study Tour Approach
The intention of the ICTC Study Tour was to explore the cultural tourism evolution of a “mature” tourism destination, examining both its strengths and weaknesses which impact on tourism development on the island, as well as the potential opportunities to capitalize on tourism trends, as well as threats that can and will affect the regional and global tourism sectors.

The findings and general recommendations the participants made are based only on what the participants observed, heard, and noted during the Study Tour as well as from their personal experience, knowledge and professional backgrounds. They generally did not undertake more in-depth research beyond the time spent on the island. It should be noted that as part of this Study Tour, even though the ICTC is an ICOMOS Scientific Committee, the participants did not concentrate solely on the Serra de Tramuntana World Heritage Site (WHS). The Study Tour instead focused across the broader region of Mallorca, looking at the lower agricultural areas in the east and the highly developed tourist areas in the southwest.

The Study Tour participants used the six principles of the draft 2019 ICOMOS Sustainable Cultural Tourism Charter as the basis for their reflections: 
  • Place heritage conservation at the center of tourism activity. 
  • Manage cultural heritage visitors in a sustainable way through carrying capacity. 
  • Reinforce support for indigenous groups and all kinds of communities affected or participating in cultural tourism. 
  • Provide a worthwhile visitor experience and encourage public awareness of heritage. 
  • Raise awareness and reinforce cooperation for heritage conservation among the tourism industry. 
  • Contribute to reducing climate change impacts and to implement the Agenda 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With respect to the last principle, the Study Tour participants had a great opportunity to consider the link between tourism and the SDGs with Mallorca’s cultural tourism sector as the focal point. It was apparent that the main challenges affecting the implementation of the tourism and cultural heritage-related SDGs are present on the island. With specific regard to SDG Target 8.9 – “By 2030 devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products,” local authorities and the tourism sector appear to be already undertaking significant actions in that direction. The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) document Tourism and the SDGs – Journey to 2030 states that key points to tackle are:
  • Policy makers should recognize tourism’s contribution to SDGs.
  • Active engagement of tourism policymakers in national SDG processes is indispensable.
  • Public policy needs coherent dialogue among all stakeholders
  • Challenges and threats in tourism require urgent policy measures.
  • Policymakers must encourage and support the tourism private sector.
With respect to the private sector, it notes: 
  • Building competitiveness is a key to sustainability for tourism industries. 
  • The private sector can lead tourism towards the achievement of the SDGs through the internalization of the SDGs. 
  • Companies can lead tourism towards a more sustainable path by embracing sustainable models and practices that do not undermine profitability and on the contrary, make business sense.

ICOMOS ICTC Mallorca Participants

Fergus Maclaren, Canada (President)
Jim Donovan, USA (Secretary-General)
Ivan Henares, Philippines (Vice-President)
Ian Kelly, Australia (Treasurer)
Bartomeu Deya, Spain (Organizer)
Adriana Careaga, Uruguay
Karin Elgin, Netherlands
Suk Young Han, Korea
Hila Keren-Steinmetz, Israel
Wolfgang Köllisch, Germany
Marianne Lehtimaki, Finland
Paolo Motta, Italy
Patricia O'Donnell, USA
Michelle Prats, France
Isa Torres, Spain
Aysegul Yilmaz, Turkey

ICOMOS ISCCL Members and Observers
Dexel Aita, New Zealand
Diana Henriquez, Venezuela
Diane Menzies, New Zealand
Kyung Park, Korea
Mariano Fern√°ndez, Venezuela
Michael Thomson, Australia

Document: Full Report