Session 17

Heritage, tourism & ICTs in rural/marginal areas. A critical perspective
Chairs: Valentina Albanese (University of Bologna) & Teresa Graziano (University of Catania)

Over the last decades, the increasing pervasiveness of advanced technologies in tourist practices have led to the co-creation of tourism destinations, which entails an unprecedented role played by tourists as producers of shared multimedia travel-related contents as well as cocreators of destination images (Gretzel et al., 2015).
The concept of a networked travel (Germann Molz, Paris, 2015), based on the growingly pervasive role played by the Web 2.0 in shaping unprecedented tourism practices (Urry, Larsen 2011; Dinhopl 2016), is incorporated in the wider conceptual framework of smart city. While several studies have been conducted to explore the role of ICT's in urban tourism (Romão et al., 2017), the application, usability and territorial effects of new technologies in the rural/marginal areas have remained underdiscussed in the literature for years (Visvizi, Lytras, 2018). As a matter of fact, on the one hand smart technologies can be effective and useful tools to enhance local cultural heritage as well as support rural areas in facing challenges such as marginalization and depopulation. On the other hand, some controversial power relations could emerge from the growing pervasiveness of technologies, particularly in areas traditionally characterized by "slow" everyday ways of life. What is more, another crucial question is related to tourists' expectations and requests, which could challenge local heritage integrity. As a result, this session will welcome both theoretical and empirical papers that aim at scrutinizing the role of smart tourism in enhancing or, on the contrary, challenging cultural heritage in rural/marginal areas. Contributions about the controversial relations between ICTs and (de)territorialization in rural/marginal areas will be particularly welcomed, in order to understand to what extent cutting-edge technologies can positively enhance sustainable slow tourism practices or, on the contrary, foster new forms of inequalities, deterritorialization and unbalanced power relations.

Essential bibliography:
Gretzel U., Sigala M., Xiang Z., Koo C., Smart tourism: foundations and developments, Electron Markets, 25, 2015, 179-188.
Romão J., Kourtit K., Neuts B., Nijkamp P., The smart city as a common place for tourists and residents: A structural analysis of the determinants of urban attractiveness, Cities, 2017, Retrieved from
Germann Molz J., Paris C, The social affordances of flashpacking: Exploring the mobility nexus of travel and communication, Mobilities, 10, 2015, 2: 173-192.
Urry J., Larsen J., The Tourist Gaze 3.0, London, Sage, 2011.
Dinhopl A., Gretzel U, Selfie-taking as touristic looking, Annals of Tourism Research, 57, 2016, 126-139.
Visvizi A., Lytras M. D., It's Not a Fad: Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research in European and Global Contexts, Sustainability, 2018, 10, 2727.