Museums and Tourism: Inseparable Allies .
Museums and Tourism: Inseparable Allies .
Paradigms have changed and museums have now become an essential stop in tourist experiences of all ages and latitudes.
Museums are conceived as cultural assets, so it is essential to create synergies around them that take advantage of their power of attraction to create new tourist products. Two successful examples in Spain are Bilbao, with the Guggenheim Museum, and Malaga, with the Pompidou Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Carmen Thyssen Museum or the Picasso Museum. Twenty years ago, Bilbao was going through an economic depression that it overcame thanks to a plan of urban regeneration that included the Guggenheim Museum, an architectural jewel that has more than one million annual visitors in a city that has never experienced that number of tourists.
Meanwhile, Malaga is considered a sun and beach destination. Now, it not only keeps its traditional audience in love with its spectacular beaches and sunsets, it is now a city with cutting-edge cultural potential, one of the urban destinations of Spain is growing exponentially. Malaga´s collection of museums offered is the most competitive in Spain, with 37 museums and exhibition centres.
The reinvention of museums is a very important point to maintain the usual crowd, and to create new followers with specific needs and tastes without becoming a centre of attraction. Taking care of the quality, content and exploitation of an art collection is delicate, but at the same time a creative challenge for cultural managers, a possibility for the tourism industry and the creation of products around museums and direct quota. This especially impacts Spanish tourism, a part of the gross domestic product.
Beyond the audio guides, museums have introduced technology in multiple ways from websites not only in the languages of the target audiences, but the distribution and use of WeChat as the Thyssen Bornemisza National Museum did for the Chinese market and has been a case of cultural tourism success and experience.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) in its 2007 definition, museum is defined by its social function, as “any permanent non-profit institution at the service of society and its development, which is accessible to the public and collects, preserves, researches, disseminates and exposes the material and intangible heritage of the people and their environment, so that it is studied, and that it educates and delights the public.
Spain will always be up for a challenge when it comes to innovation in international cultural tourism.
The answer is simple, and the solutions are complex. The cultural traveller is in search of expanding their horizons, knowledge and living new emotions through their senses, and relating them to heritage. It is said that everything is created, seen or invented, but the dynamics of creating new interpretations and possibilities are as endless as the numerical combinations.
Evolution is constant and cultural practices also evolve, according to trends, fashions, globalization, immediacy and new patterns of how leisure is perceived and enjoyed.
Museums are, for many travellers, an important point when deciding where to travel, the duration of the trip and, if they were art lovers, whether they would visit again for temporary exhibitions.
In the case of TV series, they can arouse the interest of audiences who would not normally opt for museums and conservation-related topics. Audiences can keep track of their favourite programs or books without leaving the privacy of their own home, and it would be like visiting the institution itself.
A concrete example would be the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre museum, the main stage for “La Casa de Papel”. This has become a favourite destination for fans of this series and selfie sticks (this theme is another matter in terms of visitor habits). However, the building that was actually used for the series was the Higher Council for Scientific Research, whose access to tourists has recently been limited.
We live on the move and nothing can escape it. Although the readings and forms of consumption can evolve, maintaining the essence and preservation of heritage is paramount in knowing how to adapt to changes.
María José Morr Graterón