Cultural tourism and digital humanities

Co-author: Dália Guerreiro

Tourism sector has been reformulated in the post-modern society and, over the past six decades, has experienced continued expansion and diversification, but it faces challenges demanding it to develop innovative solutions for the consumption of the cultural heritage. Meanwhile, advances in technologies for aggregating and searching collections data had open the debate about how museums and heritage sites may use digital data to promote their collections knowledge and to react to the visitors’ diversified expectations.

We are like vapours: Pacifying the South China Sea Museu Marítimo de Hong-Kong, 2013
We are like vapours: Pacifying the South China Sea
Museu Marítimo de Hong-Kong, 2013

There is an inevitable relationship between heritage and tourism, but there is also a tension between the strengths, the opportunities, the weaknesses and the threats involved in the process: the tourism growth is crucial for the heritage management and is a risk to the physical preservation of the archaeological sites and museum collections.

So, in this context, digital humanities are being seen as an important link between them, as they may contribute to differentiate the audiences and to provide different approaches according to their expectations and competences, considering intellectual audiences or more recreational ones.

Digital technologies should provide target information, according to the different audiences segments. To the researcher, the new technologies use is an alternative to the museum’s visit. Although considering that there is not an alternate to the original observation, the additional analysis may be realised through digital reproductions. To the tourist, or a non-specialized visitor, the museum experience may be enhanced by digital strategies mediation, from the visit preparation to the construction of the visit memories and knowledge acquisition. Also, digital humanities have created an opportunity for reusing the information and making it available in an affordable and creative way.

Consulta de tabela com QR Code, Museu Diocesano de Santarém Foto: MIR, 2015
Consulta de tabela com QR Code, Museu Diocesano de Santarém
Foto: MIR, 2015

They provide innovate tools and products for the textual and visual data display, such as animated and augmented reality or geo-referenced services with texts, images or films, which allow tourists to get more information about what they are seeing and go beyond the immediate and the physical space to a virtual experience. To the tourist, museums and heritage sites offer the ‘authenticity’ of the real object, but the use of digital tools offer the possibility of an immersive experience required by the creative tourism. In a two-way process, cultural institutions, like museums, may certificate the online contents, by separating the crucial information of the accessory, and digital technologies may improve the communicational strategies with the audiences, tourists included. So, digital humanities allow a huge return to society, as they make knowledge available to broad communities. Applied to the heritage use, digital humanities contribute to the knowledge of the past and other cultures and civilisations, in order to a renewed to the “other” awareness and to a tolerating social attitude.

Cite this article as: Guerreiro, Dália, & Roque, Maria Isabel, ” Cultural tourism and digital humanities” in, 2016/02/14,

OpenEdition sugere que esta publicação seja citada da seguinte forma:
Maria Isabel Roque (14 de Fevereiro de 2016). Cultural tourism and digital humanities. Recuperado em 19 de Julho de 2024 de

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