Due to COVID 19 epidemic, tourism industry has been hit extremely hard as restrictions to international travel have caused a decline of the tourism economy at least between 45 and 70% (OCDE). While this can be seen as unprecedented economic crisis of our era, especially to countries that rely on tourism as a drive for economic development, it also represents an opportunity to shift tendencies and to strength economic resilience.
In Portugal, the São João da Madeira Industrial Tourism Project, working since 2012, offers a set of industrial tourist circuits, with the objective of combining the preservation of the industrial archaeological legacy with the promotion of the industries considered traditional and the new creative and technological industries, through the visitation of different manufacturing units.
This project has been considered a European best practice and has been replicated to other regions. Its objective and expectations are to contribute to the economic and social development of São João da Madeira and to improve the life quality of its inhabitants. This tourism network is the perfect example of how culture heritage can be an opportunity to implement and develop sustainable tourism practices. The challenge now, facing the aversities brought out by COVID 19, is to explore how digitalisation can help overcame the fragilities of both tourism and cultural sectors.
Get to know this project by visiting online Viarco – Fábrica Portuguesa de Lápis:
General information: https://www.viarco.pt/en/industrial-tourism-program/
Online Mini tour: https://www.viarco.pt/en/mini-tour-360/
Industrial Tourism of São João da Madeira: virtual tours to the Hat and Shoe Museum