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RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION

DISTRIBUTION OF INVESTMENTS CARRIED OUT

Table 3.3 shows the investments made within the tourism promotion strategy and shows the relative importance of each of their lines of action: (1) creation and modernization of rural accommodation; (2) restaurant businesses; (3) promotion of complementary activities for the tourist; and (4) transversal actions of a public nature.

In addition to private projects, within the rural tourism development strategy, it is worth highlighting the existence of a series of public actions, which are managed directly by the LAG, and are financed by the public resources of the program. Although the analysis of these actions is addressed in Section 3.3, their inclusion in the previous table allows for a global view of the lines of activities undertaken and their relative importance within the whole measure.

As shown in Table 3.3, the investment allocated to the creation and modernization of accommodation stands out over all other considerations. Perhaps, this can be an issue of debate since this type of action concentrates practically 80% of the total resources of the measure. Moreover, if these investments are added to those made in transversal actions of a public nature, only 5% of the resources are allocated to two essential issues for the development of the tourism sector in rural areas, which are restaurant businesses and promotion of complementary activities for tourists.

TAB LE 3.3 Distribution of Investments in Rural Tourism Promotion by Lines of Action.

Typology of the projects

No. of projects

Investment

o/o

Creation and modernization of accommodation

27

3,337,463.19

78.90

Investments in restaurant businesses

4

169.167.78

4.00

Complementary activities

3

65,896.81

1.55

Transversal actions of a public nature

32

657,569.37

15.55

Total

66

4,230.097.11

Source: Own elaboration.

INVOLVEMENT OE LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS IN THE PROMOTION OF TOURISM PROJECTS

The private projects referred to in this section will be those included in the sample, since knowing the origin of the promoters required asking this question in the personal interviews. To analyze this question, the following table differentiates the aforementioned promoters according to their origin.

To analyze this question, Table 3.4 differentiates private promoters according to their origin, based on this differentiation. Table 3.5 classifies the investments made according to the orientation of the projects. Due to the fact that regarding the origin of the promoters, there are significant differences between investments for the creation of accommodation and modernization, the aforementioned table differentiates these two types of projects.

TAB LE 3.4 Classification of the Promoters of Tourism Projects According to their Origin.

Origin Characteristics of the promoter

Natives People who have and had their permanent residence in the region.

Returnees People who, having their roots in the region, emigrated to urban environments. Now, they return to undertake tourism projects.

Neorrurals People who, without having any previous relationship with the region, leave the urban environment to live in a rural area.

Source: Own elaboration.

TABLE 3.5 Origin and Investments Made by Private Promoters.

Typology of the projects

Failed

Natives

Returnees

Neorrurals

Accommodation

Newly built accommodation

725,026.26

329,699.50

117,302.34

1.108,614.40

Accommodation modernization

604,596.11

Restaurant business

154,664.80

Complementary activities

32,721.91

Total

757,748.17

1,088,960.41

117,302.34

1,108,614.40

Source: Own elaboration.

The analysis of the involvement of local promoters in tourism investments provides some ideas of particular interest. In the first place, reference must be made to the fact that failed investments amount to one-third of the total investment made by private promoters. In addition, as shown in the previous table, unsuccessful projects are concentrated in a specific type of action: newly built rural accommodation. It is also striking that the only project related to the performance of complementary activities is also unsuccessful.

The analysis of the involvement of local promoters hr tourism investments provides some ideas of particular interest. In the first place, reference must be made to the fact that failed investments amount to one-third of the total investment made by private promoters. In addition, as shown in the previous table, unsuccessful projects are concentrated in a specific type of action: newly built rural accommodation. It is also striking that the only project related to the performance of complementary activities is also unsuccessful.

As Graph 3.1 shows, in the materialization of tourism investments, two types of promoters stand out: native and neorrural. However, the activities in which they materialize their investments are very different; while the promoters of neomrral origin aim all their projects at the creation of new rural accommodation. Native promoters hardly commit 30% of their investments to this type of activity.

5%

NATIVES RETURNEES ■ NEORRURALS

GRAPH 3.1 Investments made according to the origin of the developer.

Source: Own elaboration.

All investments aimed at the modernization of rural accommodation or restaurant businesses were addressed by the local promoters. Therefore, the investments of neorrurals and returnees are concentrated in the new creation of rural accommodation, which in addition, is the type of project in which there are more failed investments. The possible inter-relationships between these two facts could constitute of future lines of research.

The following graph complements the data shown in Table 3.5 and in Graph 3.1 and reflects the significant concentration of tourism investments in a single type of activity (Graph 3.2).

NATIVES «RETURNEES ■ NEORRURALS ■ FAILED

GRAPH 3.2 Investments by activities according to the origin of the promoter. Source: Own elaboration.

INVESTMENTS AIMED AT TOURISM AND RECOVERY OF THE HERITAGE

TRANSVERSAL ACTIONS OF RURAL TOURISM PROMOTION

Within the promotion of rural tourism, almost half of the actions and 15.5% of the investments were managed by public promoters. The following table classifies these actions into several lines of action and quantifies their investment (Table 3.6).

TABLE 3.6 Classification of Public Projects.

Typology of the projects

Number of projects

Investment

Tourism promotion material and campaigns

16

323,140.01

Attending fairs and conferences

7

32,055.77

Tourist information and assistance centers

4

245,004.35

Projects and activities for tourism revitalization

4

33,996.56

Signposting hiking hails

1

23,372.68

Total

32

657,569.37

Source: Own elaboration.

As seen, this type of investment is not aimed at achieving an immediate economic benefit, but rather aims at promoting tourism in the region from a number of perspectives: advertising and promotion campaigns, attending tourism fairs, creation of infrastructures for the provision of information services and tourist assistance, valorization of tourist resources, etc.

Although the logic of these actions is very different from that followed by private projects, there is no doubt that indirectly, this type of investment complements those of private promoters, even to their benefit, and is fundamental within the strategy of tourism development undertaken by the region of La Vera.

COMPLEMENTARY INVESTMENTS OF RECOVERY OF THE HERITAGE

Apart from the investments included in the measure to promote tourism, the development strategies are undertaken by the regions that manage the programs under study also include a series of projects that receive mainly public funding, complement the investments addressed within productive measures and, especially, those related to the promotion of tourism. Under the definition of “Recovery and conservation of the environment ”, Table 3.1 includes this type of investment. They are veiy diverse actions ranging from social infrastructures to immaterial actions aimed at recovering the cultural heritage and popular traditions (Graph 3.3).

The analysis of the actions included hi the previous graph provides a more complete vision of the strategy proposed for the promotion of the tourism sector. It is noteworthy that almost a tenth of the resources used are directed at actions aimed at the recovery and/or enhancement of several tourist resources: bathing areas in natural gorges, recreational areas, lookouts, and even tourist information points.

GRAPH 3.3 “Non-productive” investments for environmental recovery. Source: Own elaboration.

Those actions related to the recovery of religious and architectural heritage can be highlighted among those other complementary actions. The resources used in these two concepts are around 40% of the total investment of this measure. These two lines of action are materialized in very heterogeneous actions: while the recovery of religious heritage involves the restoration of religious images, organs, altarpieces, or various rehabilitation actions in hennitages and churches; investments aimed at recovering the architectural heritage involve the recovery of fountains, washing places, castle lighting, etc. There is no doubt that even though they are not specifically aimed at the promotion of tourism, these investments bring value to the region’s heritage and convert many of its elements into tourist resources. This demonstrates the close relationship between the recovery of the heritage and the promotion of tourism in rural areas.

The third element that deserves comment is the projects of cultural promotion and recovery of festivals and popular traditions. These actions may be aimed at the local population and their main purpose is to strengthen the identity of the population with its territory, but—not for that reason—should the interest that the consolidation of many of these actions has for the tourism promotion strategy of the region be underestimated.

A marked local character prevails over the rest of the projects executed under this measure. These are endowments and infrastructures aimed at the local population: cultural centers, classrooms for training, nurseries, care centers for the elderly, etc.

CONCLUSIONS

Due to its characteristics, the choice of La Vera as a field of study is justified given that this region is an ideal framework in which to implement rural development policies and especially those aimed at promoting rural tourism.

The research shows that investments aimed at the promotion of tourism are mainly concentrated on the creation and modernization of accommodation. These projects account for four-fifths of the resources of the aforementioned measure and reduce the support of the program for other types of activities such as restaurant businesses or those aimed at organizing complementary activities for tourists. There is also the paradox that one-third of the investments in the creation of new niral accommodation are unsuccessful. These conclusions can be of great interest to other rural spaces that face development strategies focused on the promotion of their tourism sector.

The involvement of the local population in the implementation of tourism projects remains at levels very similar to those of the promoters of neomiral origin, although there are significant differences between the projects in which they are involved. While neorrurals only invest in the creation of new rural accommodation, natives focus on the modernization of accommodation and restaurant businesses. There is no unsuccessful project within these last two activities.

The support of public funds for strategies to promote tourism in niral areas is essential: not only for co-fmancing private investments, but also for complementing these with other public actions. This work shows that part of these investments has an exclusive tourism component (promotion campaigns and tourist assistance infrastructures), but also another patrimonial component aimed at the valorization of various elements of niral heritage that can constitute valuable tourist resources.

KEYWORDS

case study

cultural heritage

tourism development strategy

economic and social cohesion

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