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28 November 2023

The FiturNext Observatory announces the winning initiatives of the 2024 Challenge, focused on the fight against depopulation

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Genalguacil (Pueblo Museo), Recartografías and Camino del Cid are the winners of FITURNext 2024, the awards ceremony for which will take place on January 24 at FITUR.

Genalguacil (Pueblo Museo), Recartografías and Camino del Cid are the winning projects of this edition in the categories of revitalizing tourism services, management of depopulated territories and promotion of territories, respectively.

FiturNext, the FITUR Observatory dedicated to promoting good tourism practices in terms of sustainability, unveils the winning initiatives of the 2024 Challenge, dedicated to how tourism can contribute to the revitalisation of territories. Genalguacil (Pueblo Museo), Recartografías and Camino del Cid are the winners in the three categories promoted by the Observatory: revitalising tourism services, management of depopulated territories and promotion of territories, respectively. The awards ceremony will take place on 24 January at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid (FITUR).

Replicability and impact of initiatives

As every year, the research has focused on measuring, through two barometers developed by the FiturNext Observatory, the replicability and impact of the initiatives. The Replicability Barometer evaluates the possibilities of the initiative being adapted and replicated in different contexts, resources and actors. On the other hand, the Impact Barometer analyses the potential of the initiatives by measuring the degree of participation in the project, the previous work carried out and the impact on the environment where it operates, among other aspects. Finally, for the final solution, the conclusions of the FiturNext Advisory Board have been considered, which has provided an external assessment of an international nature.

Fighting depopulation: the pillar of the initiatives

Tourism can be a tool for the demographic, social and economic revitalisation of rural areas. The three winning initiatives have this premise as a guide to boost the growth of visitors and residents by promoting the destination's tourism offer, as well as employment, connectivity and local values.

On the other hand, Genalguacil (Pueblo Museo), winner of the revitalising tourism services category, is a local project located in the province of Málaga (Spain) which, by fusing art, culture, tradition and nature, has created a village-museum with tourist appeal that has been helping for years to improve and repopulate this municipality. In this way they have turned the village into an open-air museum available all year round, which already has more than 20,500 visitors in just one year.

Specifically, Recartografías, winner of the management of depopulated territories category, is an association from Teruel (Spain) that offers tourism activities, workshops and training talks in different formats and themes with the aim of restoring and revitalising the village using endogenous values. An example of the actions carried out by the project has been the opening of the Farmhouse and Rural Memory Museum in San Agustín (village of 100 inhabitants), which has gone from 0 visitors in 2016 to 1,000 visits per year.

Finally, the consortium Camino del Cid, winner of the category promotion of territories, promotes a cultural tourism route of about 2,000 km that runs through territories of low demographic density, thus promoting their economic and social development. It favours the generation of economic resources and the consequent creation of employment; roots for residents as an attraction for visitors and the promotion of synergies between the different towns and associations. As a result, more than 100,000 travellers and a growing trend, with a repeat visitor rate of 96%.

The finalist projects and their contribution to the revitalisation of the territories

In addition to the winning initiatives, nine finalist projects have been selected for the FiturNext 2024 Challenge that stand out for their contribution to revitalising territories in rural areas.

  • Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO, offers annual awards for villages that are an outstanding example of a rural tourism destination with recognised cultural and natural assets, that preserves and promotes community values, products and lifestyles with a commitment to sustainability.
  • Montañas vacías, promotes a network of bicycle routes to raise awareness of the demographic situation in the mountain areas around Teruel by raising awareness and enhancing the value of endogenous resources.
  • Jachal Tierra Adentro, is a community tourism association made up of small tourism entrepreneurs that seeks to promote the small villages in the area by giving them visibility through tourism.
  • Eurovelo, a network of 17 long-distance cycling routes, with more than 90,000 km of itineraries connecting and linking the entire European continent, many of these routes pass through areas suffering from depopulation, thus benefiting local communities.
  • Escuela de Herreros is a centre for the teaching of traditional forging courses, located in a small village in the province of Toledo, which is attended by students from different countries. During the duration of the course they organise different activities with the local population and to promote the value of endogenous products, so that the students get to know the territory.
  • Mamá Uma viajando con niños Ecuador is an initiative that creates tourism activities with the participation of local indigenous communities based on local culture and ancestral values.
  • Abriendo pueblos (T guío), promotes and carries out guided tours à la carte through very depopulated localities in the Maestrazgo region. With its activity, it contributes to maintaining the cultural heritage of the territory, as it allows the maintenance of different buildings that would otherwise remain closed to the public due to lack of visitors.
  • Centro expositivo Rom, they develop, publicise and safeguard the Monastery of Santa María la Real while at the same time promoting Romanesque art as a tourist resource. They offer traditional guided tours with the use of new technologies, as well as dramatised tours.
  • AlmaNatura, a rural immersion laboratory that promotes innovative, sustainable and significant initiatives. They carry out teleworking rural immersions in an old restored mill in the Sierra de Huelva.

The FiturNext Observatory is already preparing the programme for the 2024 edition

The awards ceremony, which will take place at Fitur on 24 January at 12:30 p.m. (CET), will mark the start of a four-day programme of talks, presentations and round tables on tourism and the revitalisation of territories. FiturNext will also present the report 2024.

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FITUR is one of the world's leading trade fairs for tourism events and a hub par excellence for the Ibero-American market. Organised by IFEMA MADRID, it will hold its 43nd edition from 24 to 28 January 2024 at the Spanish capital's Trade Fair Centre. Added to this is the significant support it receives from institutions, countries and destinations, hotel chains, agencies and tour operators, technology companies, suppliers, means of transport, etc., which make FITUR a great platform of reference for discovering new developments, proposals and future trends in terms of specialisation, technology and sustainability, and the essential event for the entire heat chain of the international tourism industry.