As strange as it may sound, Italy’s cultural heritage is one of the most undervalued in the world. We are not talking, of course, about world-famous museums and artistic masterpieces, but about the many historical, artistic, and natural wonders that are often ignored by tourists precisely because all their attention is focused on the most famous destinations. This phenomenon has become even more evident during the pandemic, making it even more urgent for tour operators and cultural heritage managers to find new ways to engage audiences and gain recognition. A new Italian platform now aims to make cultural heritage management sustainable. Revelia is an innovative and sustainable solution, entirely web-based, that could completely change the way of handling sustainable tourism not only in small towns but on a national scale.
Revelia and sustainable tourism
Revelia offers a new way of promoting Italy’s cultural heritage, from museums to local attractions through an online platform featuring on-demand guided tours. This system makes it possible to cut costs by creating groups of users and encouraging the development of new, original, quality content to help promote lesser-known destinations, all cost-effectively and sustainably. It is also worth noting that, in this context, visitors would not be relegated to the passive role of “spectators” of a virtual guided tour, but would be expected to play an active role, especially in sharing the platform’s content. To ‘unlock’ a new guided tour, a minimum threshold of participants would have to be reached. Those who are interested in visiting a destination virtually, therefore, will have an incentive to share tour options with their friends and family.
Sustainable tourism vs. mass tourism
One of the problems with tourism in Italy is the great concentration of mass flows of tourists on a few large destinations, such as Rome or Venice. The result is great pressure on the affected destinations, while smaller ones are ignored, despite having a lot to offer. One of the keys to achieving sustainable tourism lies in distributing flows more evenly, which would require more effective promotion of the artistic and scenic heritage of small towns. Revelia aims to achieve this by harnessing the “social” element of online communication. If at the moment, guided tours can only be virtual, hopefully, this platform will be able to foster a renaissance of local tourism after the pandemic.
New possibilities for less accessible destinations
Another great advantage of implementing technologies such as virtual reality in tourism management is to allow access to destinations that would otherwise not be open to the public. This is the case for archaeological sites undergoing renovation or particularly fragile art assets that cannot be exposed to large groups of tourists, or naturalistic destinations that are difficult to reach and are inaccessible to the physically untrained or, for example, to families with children. Tools such as Revelia allow anyone to access spaces that would otherwise be out of reach.