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The cultural richness as a key to touristic innovation in South America.

Updated on February 13, 2016

Cultural heritage and tourist innovation

Tourism appears as one of the industries with the greatest potential for innovation. Among the determining factors of this reality is the fact that, in the case of tourism, innovation, in its gestation and incubation period, as a powerful ally: The cultural wealth they possess, by inheritance, the various communities, urban or rural that make a nation.

According to Wikipedia (2015): “Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations”

How then incorporate cultural heritage to the process of innovation, one that does not meet with the typical linear process of production but rather with an iterative process of trial and error? “The process is highly and continuously iterative. All three elements – the nature of the product, the implementation into reality, the market to addressed – are continuously being balanced against each other, and thought of in relation to one another. And typically all elements, or, at least, the details of them, change as innovation progresses” (Inside Real Innovation, Fitzgerald, Wankert&Schramn, p14, 2010).

Use and involve the cultural wealth in the tourist innovation requires a demanding technical rigor for those who seriously are seeking to exploit the enormous cultural reserves that each destination has. Achieving this addition also promotes the achievement of one of the objectives of sustainable tourism, which is the active participation of aboriginal communities in the selection and design of the tourist product.

Latin American Cultural Heritage

Yanomami - Venezuelan Aboriginal Community
Yanomami - Venezuelan Aboriginal Community | Source

Heritage in touristic marketing

The cultural richness is essential in touristic destiny marketing. Every region has its own handcraft, values that are manifest through objects and symbols of collective veneration. These components of tangible and intangible heritage are ideal sources for the development of distinctive touristic products that the competence will find hard of imitating, precisely for being a social fact, which doesn’t allow being copied or reproduce.

The distinction based on the cultural richness has in the members of an autochthon community its raw material, which contributes to a touristic development, superior to the traditional development that is based just on the requirements of the capital owners, where it is favored the application of foreign models ignoring or disregarding the interests of the local community. However, the intention is not to ignore the fact that tourism industry requires of standardized quality. The goal is to achieve the standardization by designing the product taking the cultural richness as the matrix.

Ultimately, the use of cultural heritage to achieve touristic innovation forces the capital owners to meet the principles of sustainable development, when it is incorporated huge masses of human traditionally marginalized from the economic system, facilitating their active participation in the service production and, consequently, their participation in the benefits of modern society. It will be a complex dialogue between artisans and businessmen. But it must be a rich dialogue when a farmer, holder of an enormous cultural baggage and dedicated for years to the coffee growing, gets to talk with capital investors, opening the doors of a new era of economic prosperity, not just for those who talk and recognize each other, but for the whole planet.

Cultural Heritage

Folcloric Dancers
Folcloric Dancers
Arquitectonic heritage
Arquitectonic heritage
Arquitectonic heritage
Arquitectonic heritage

Psycho and Sociological Factors in Cultural Touristic Innovation

Let us now to review some psychological and sociological factors that merit consideration in the innovation process which is specifically linked to cultural richness, going through different theories developed by renowned personalities of both sciences. In this occasion, we would talk about interesting tools for critical thought, developed by the American psychologist Albert Bandura and the french Sociologist Emile Durkheim. The first speaks of personal efficacy, defined as the own belief or assessment of every human being about achieving personal goals by using their own abilities to overcome obstacles. Bandura also brings us the concept of collective efficacy, the ingrained belief in a group or community about their capabilities for effective group work. Durkheim also states in its book “The Rules of Sociological Method”, that a social event is a tangible thing that must be studied independently of the individuals involved in that fact.

Applying the concept of self-efficacy to the innovation process related to cultural heritage, with the intention of achieving maximum success through continuous optimization, demands from the people, to assess their own cultural background, as a first step, and their capability to accomplish complex goals through the collective effort. Low confidence in their own capabilities as a group, and a constant doubt about the self-worth, constantly sabotages any attempt to reach high goals. In other words, we have to love and respect our cultural heritage, those ways in which our people represents artistically their lives through handicrafts, dance, music, religious celebrations, folkloric festivals, etc. Then, we must believe in ourselves, in our own value based on the deep roots of our cultural identity. We must believe in our ability to overcome the inertia of daily life and transform our reality into a better one. We also must believe in our people, in their creative potential, in their workforce and their aptitude to achieve ambitious collective goals, the sustainable tourism goals.

Durkheim, in turn, raises that a social thing is mainly identified by its resistance to change and the coercion exerted on individuals who violate the norm and morality. Precisely, the constituents of the cultural richness exhibit this character. In the moment that we intend to transgress, degrade, or even alter a habit considered valuable to the community to which we belong, coercion occurs. We can then consider the cultural wealth as a social fact, and therefore, a thing that does not allow changes dictated by impatient corporate actions. How then use this social fact to design innovative entertainment systems? Such a question could lead to a thesis: the cultural wealth is an immense river, mighty, and only susceptible to productive use, once it has been studied and it has been responsibly acted in its origin.

Passion for Cultural Heritage

Tamunangue Dance - Venezuela
Tamunangue Dance - Venezuela
AfroAmerican Dance
AfroAmerican Dance
Tamunangue Dance - Venezuela
Tamunangue Dance - Venezuela

South America: A new Universe.

South America has to take advantage of its enormous cultural heritage to perceive a higher rate of the global tourist market. Instead of offering commodities that tourists can find in other latitudes, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brasil, Argentina, and all those countries located in the Southern Cone, should begin to offer a product based on its own cultural roots, in order to attract visitors who want to find something distinctive, exceptional, original. Doing this, the whole word will discover a new planet, a new universe whose attractiveness has no competitors.

South America Cultural Heritage

Machu Picchu - Peru
Machu Picchu - Peru | Source
Basilic of National Vow - Ecuador
Basilic of National Vow - Ecuador | Source
Cristo del Corcovado - Brazil
Cristo del Corcovado - Brazil | Source
 Lake Fishermen Titicaca - Bolivia
Lake Fishermen Titicaca - Bolivia | Source


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