Accepted Paper:

Consuming 'Nature': Cultural Tourism in the Mountains of Central Spain.  


William Kavanagh (CEU San Pablo University, Madrid)

Paper short abstract:

The commoditisation of 'nature' as a cultural object has implications for community identity. Declaring the Gredos Mountains in Spain a 'park' has brought a sharp increase in a market-oriented tourism which has altered the relation of the villagers to their physical place and cultural space.

Paper long abstract:

The Gredos mountain range in central Spain (Sierra de Gredos in Spanish), which includes both alpine and Mediterranean ecosystems, is one of the most biologically interesting areas of Western Europe and one of the most physically attractive zones of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1996 the political decision was taken to declare the area a park. Since then the publicity given to the new status of the region has resulted in a significant rise in market-oriented tourism and the area has become the summer and weekend playground of an ever-increasing number of urban spaniards and foreign visitors in search of experiential tourism and rural tourism. The relationship between the locals and the outsiders and that between the locals and the tourist entrepreneurs have evolved from the original clashes between the host populations and touristic interests to the present-day negotiated dynamic where identities, 'place' and 'space' have all undergone a process of reinterpretation by the local communities.

Panel P10
Consuming culture: the politics and aesthetics of cultural tourism in different national traditions