Next Article in Journal
Assessing the Impact of Land Cover Changes on Surface Urban Heat Islands with High-Spatial-Resolution Imagery on a Local Scale: Workflow and Case Study
Previous Article in Journal
Spatial Correlation Network of Format in the Central Districts of a Megacity: The Case of Shanghai
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Stakeholders of Cultural Heritage as Responsible Institutional Tourism Product Management Agents

Héctor Moreno-Mendoza
Agustín Santana-Talavera
2 and
Carmelo J. León
Tides, Instituto de Turismo y Desarrollo Económico Sostenible, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, C.P. 35017 Gran Canaria, Spain
Istur, Instituto de Investigación Social y Turismo, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, C.P. 38200 Tenerife, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5192;
Submission received: 13 August 2019 / Revised: 18 September 2019 / Accepted: 19 September 2019 / Published: 22 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Tourism, Culture, and Heritage)


Increased competition in tourist destinations and the recent economic crisis directly affect various institutions that manage cultural heritage. In the case of museums, we may need to reflect more on the challenges that stem from the new financial and social situation for their management. The long-term analysis of relationships with stakeholders is a more reliable way of achieving stability to counteract the effects of income reduction. This study involved conducting interviews with directors of four museums, one for each existing management model, contrasting with direct observation and unstructured interviews conducted in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (Spain). The data obtained were analyzed with UCINET (a software package for analyzing social network data), to determine relationship indicators. The research suggests that stakeholder networks, as a competitive advantage in cultural institutions, play an important role in creating or improving cultural heritage products, as well as helping to develop responsible tourism.

1. Introduction

Both from a theoretical and practical point of view, there is a lack of strategic thinking within the cultural sector-specifically in museums about the competitive advantage offered by stakeholders [1], even though the sector has had to introduce new “experiences” to compete with other leisure activities [2]. In the case of museums, stakeholders would be participants who create tourism products with long-term value [3]. Goodwin [4] understands that responsible tourism and sustainable tourism are related but do not carry the same meaning since the former has a more “reactive” character and the latter is more “preventive”.
Considering the governance of cultural heritage as an open decision-making process [5,6], stakeholders [7] influence the strategic decisions taken by museums. Despite the links between museums and sustainability, limited research has been carried out into how the involved agents may help come up with or optimize cultural tourism products (in our case, museums) to effectively manage the available resources and benefit the maximum number of actors and in this way execute responsible policies. Wickham and Lehman [8] understand sustainability in museums as a wide range of resources, including sustainable practices in stakeholder groups.
The literature recognizes that museums should focus strategically on the needs, interests, and preconditions of their audience to develop their product [9]. This work points out the specific characteristics of the existing management models in museums and confirms the importance of the relationships between stakeholder networks in shaping the final product. Stylianou-Lambert et al. [10] propose to identify gaps in the cultural sustainability of museums, and design appropriate policies to cover those gaps, this research focuses on that aspect. Likewise, Ziakas and Costa [11] formulate the need to explore the nature, models, and effectiveness of inter-organizational relationships to effectively plan and manage the relationships of stakeholder networks, where appropriate in the organization of events.
This article focuses on the importance of stakeholders to create and manage sustainable cultural tourism products, taking reference museums as cultural management institutions, a case study of each management model. The objectives are: (a) identify the real and potential stakeholders of the studied museums. (b) analyze the existing relationships among the analyzed stakeholders, according to established indicators. (c) determine which actors have or may have the capacity to create or improve the cultural product.
Three working hypotheses have been established:
“The joint decision-making process, taking into account the interests of the stakeholders, improves the development of cultural tourism products”.
“A management based on negotiation, discussion, and cooperation, would allow to diversify and make more competitive the current cultural tourism supply”.
“The stakeholders of the private sector have a higher interest than those of the public sector in improving responsible cultural tourism products.”
This article begins by reviewing the concepts of governance and stakeholders in cultural heritage and tourism, as well as the resulting products. The methodology is then studied in depth to obtain results from the analysis of the stakeholders’ relationships in four case studies. Finally, ideas are confronted to reach conclusions about the challenges that museums face and additional studies are proposed in this matter.

2. State of the Issue

2.1. Governance and Stakeholders in the Cultural Heritage

One of the most interesting definitions of governance is offered by Kooiman [12],
“common elements emphasized are co-operation to enhance legitimacy, the effectiveness of governing societies, new processes and public–private arrangements”.
The term governance denotes conceptual or theoretical ideas about this type of government activities. Wijayadasa [5], understands governance as
“the way in which power is exercised in the management of economic and social resources for the development of a country. Good governance is summarized, among other things, in the development of policies with open information flows”.
The Unesco [13] considers that governance has become the heritage sector’s main concern. The principles of governance, indicated by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), applicable to cultural heritage, following the proposal of Shipley and Kovacs [14]. These principles and their criteria will serve as the basis for developing fundamental standards in governance for the specific sector we are dealing with (cultural heritage). The authors make a proposal of five criteria: (1) legitimacy and voice, (2) strategic direction, (3) performance, (4) responsibility, and (5) justice.
Mercer [15], describes democratic governance or participation as “our non-parity commitment to the complex areas of economic, human and socio-cultural power relations, where we are all partners, stakeholders and actors”. San-Jose and Retolaza [16] affirm that there is a theoretical foundation of stakeholder participation in the company’s corporate governance. This relationship is understood by Catalá [17], as a network management, serving that network to solve collective action problems.

2.2. Stakeholders, Strategies, and Tourism Management

Stakeholder analysis provides a rational systemic basis for understanding cases involved in complex relationships between an organization and its constituents, helping decision makers structure strategic planning sessions and decide how to meet the moral obligations of all stakeholders [18]. This analysis facilitates organizational managers’ strategies to ensure stakeholder interest in maintaining proper functioning and achieving company objectives.
The bibliography lacks debate on identifying interested parties, empirically testing the theory of the interested parties and addressing criticisms that have been previously observed about the stakeholders theory [19]. The theory of stakeholders in the context of tourism, one could say that has received little attention.
Some bibliographical precedents that relate stakeholders with tourism focus on evaluating the interested parties’ participation, using arguments on their behalf to learn opinions about a tourism project, [20], managing expectations [21], and stakeholder inequality [22].
Morales and Hernandez [23] try to specify the various stakeholders involved in tourism activity, defining them as “those people or groups of people from public or private entities that may affect or are affected by tourism activities and that, therefore, they should be considered as an essential element in the strategic planning of the tourism sector in a territory or tourist destination”. In their article, they recognize seventeen types of actors related to the company. Sheehan and Ritchie [24], apply a stakeholder theory analysis to empirically study executive officers of tourism destination management organizations.
The weakness of the literature is that the debate focuses on identifying stakeholders, rather than empirically testing the stakeholder theory. Frequently used to identify key groups within very specific contexts, it has proved very popular in identifying these, especially in the context of tourism’s environmental impact [25,26,27]. Conceptualizing and identifying the large groups of tourism actors operating in the field of cultural tourism is fundamental [28].

2.3. Cultural Heritage and Stakeholders

Martinell Sempere [29] reviews the actors of cultural life as essential subjects for developing cultural policies, considering them as “those actors (individual, collective, institutional, etc.) that concur in a specific context and in a defined time or period. Generally, a group of three large agents are identified that, due to their broad characteristics, can be subdivided into others, and these are: (a) public administration, (b) non-profit institutions or third sector, and (c) private institutions”. Based on this classification, stakeholders with real or potential relationships will be identified in each of the four case studies that we develop in our paper. Likewise, another “activities or related actors” category has been added, which due to their diversity or complexity, cannot be classified in any of the other three categories or that sometimes share two typologies.

2.4. Museums and Stakeholders

In recent years, museums have become increasingly aware of the importance of stakeholders-groups with an active interest in the policies and practices of museums [30]. These have always had different owners (public, private, or non-profit), but these have only recently been recognized as stakeholders, thanks to public policies and communication management practices, especially those related to strategic planning [31], and those of its commercialization. Freeman is recognized for academic conceptualization of stakeholders in the business field. Since there is no specific definition, for the context of museums, the adaptation that Legget [32] proposes for this area has been taken:
“The stakeholders of a museum are individuals or organizations that have an interest or influence in the capacity of a museum to achieve its objectives”.
Future generations could reasonably anticipate equal access to the inherited past enjoyed by the current generation [32]. That is why we understand that stakeholders in museums have the same objectives as those of any other sector, whether private, public, or non-profit, and specifically, the characteristics that define them are similar to stakeholders in tourism and cultural heritage, only differentiating the particular interests that each of them may have.
For his part, Mercer [15], links governance and stakeholders as a “non-parity commitment with the complex areas of economic, human and socio-cultural power relations, where we are all partners, stakeholders and actors”.

2.5. Responsible Cultural Tourism Product

Chias [33] defined cultural tourism product as the proposal of travel outside the place of habitual residence, structured from products, and cultural offerings to which tourism services are incorporated (transport, accommodation, travel guides, etc.). Moreno Delgado [34] considers the cultural tourism product as “the set of tangible and intangible components based on cultural heritage resources, which are accessible to visiting travelers through the harmonization of cultural and tourism management, generating benefits in the form of meaningful experiences for a specific audience”.

3. Methodology and Case Studies

This study was part of a larger project that considers stakeholder relationships in the four proposed case studies. Network analysis was used to measure the relations in the managing each museum. It focused on the formal organizational structures aimed at shaping the cultural tourism product. Therefore, it is about explaining the inter-organizational links that reinforce the capacity of a community to host and take advantage of a portfolio of actors exploring the role they play in the organization. For this reason, the role of informal social networks was not addressed in this analysis.

3.1. Case Studies

Four case studies have been selected (one for each management model): Painted Cave Museum and Archaeological site, Néstor Museum, Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea, and Cenobio de Valerón. [35,36,37]. These models are: (1) organically dependent (Painted Cave Museum and Archaeological site), (2) dependent with management autonomy (Néstor Museum), (3) non-profit organization (Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea), and (4) private entity (Cenobio de Valerón). The four case studies are located on the island of Gran Canaria (Spain).

3.2. Instrumentation

UCINET software measured the relations of stakeholders in the proposed case studies. The first question in the data collection was the extent to which cultural institutions (museums) value stakeholder participation in achieving their objectives. The second question was to determine the real and potential stakeholders of each case, contrasting it with direct observation and informal conversations with museum staff. Figure 1 and Figure 2 show an example of the stakeholders (real and potential, respectively) made with UCINET and all the relationships between them.

3.3. Data Analysis

We used the statistical software specialized for social network analysis UCINET [38] to analyze the data. The data were entered into the UCINET forming four matrices for the respective types of link. Network analysis is useful to evaluate the dynamics of a number of actors. In each study case, twelve indicators were used to analyze the existing relationships or with possibilities of establishing themselves in each case of study. For this study, five indicators have been selected since with them the proposed objectives and hypotheses have been proposed. These indicators, both for the real stakeholders and for the potentials are: Number of relationships, density, distance, centrality, and geodetic distance. These indicators have been selected for this study to establish quantitative measures and differences between case studies, and in turn interpret the diversities between the relationships between stakeholders.

4. Results

4.1. Strategic Management

4.1.1. Strategic Management of the Real and Potential Stakeholders in the Painted Cave

The Cabildo of Gran Canaria (local island government) is the main actor which manages the Cueva Pintada. Furthermore, by law, it must manage all the non-private heritage sites on the island.
The council (Cabildo) decides the strategic lines and cultural policies, with which each of the legislatures will have markedly political tendencies, so the direction must adapt to those lines, to those cultural policies that dominate each legislature, maintaining the missions in that the museums.
The tourist board is another actor that is not involved as more promotion and dialogue is needed. For example, the tourist board’s pamphlet cover on Gáldar depicts the Painted Cave with a photo that is more than ten years old. There is promotional material that the tourist board has, but the museum has not been consulted as to whether that is the most appropriate image or not.
The regional government of the Canary Islands and Cabildo de Gran Canaria, are the actors that present the attributes of power, legitimacy, and urgency, in both cases there are several areas involved, the museum is a clear example of transversality of culture. There are so many elements that go from the patrimonial essence itself with research and conservation, to tourism, education, equality, and identity. The cultural facilities’ transversality is evident. More and more councils are involved, including the councils of equality, social resources, seniors, and youth. Table 1 shows the indicators in the stakeholder relationships.
The total number of stakeholder relationships in the Cueva Pintada has a potential of 6%, while the density of it has the potential to increase by 0.74%. The average distance between the actors would tend to increase by 0.032 points, so this figure is not significant. The mean of the centrality would increase from 5.660 to 6 in terms of real and potential relationships, while the standard deviation would increase from 7.250 to 7.782, both figures indicate that the mentions of actors involved are increasing. The geodetic distance would increase insignificantly (+1.37%), even though being around 57% indicates a certain balance of local-global centrality.

4.1.2. Strategic Management of Real and Potential Stakeholders in the Néstor Museum

The director is the main actor of the museum, because he is the one that mark the rules and who impose a directive. He has the final responsibility, even more than the board. He is the visible head to whom the citizen will ask for responsibilities before the management of this resource which is the museum, and he has to solve the problems that arise.
Museum personnel have to speak, both the director of the pedagogical department and other staff themselves, because they give certain guidelines so that the director sees in certain measures, certain deficiencies to be corrected and the staff must be united in that project, that is, they play a very important role. Any person who comes to the museum to help, propose initiatives, provide knowledge, is taken into consideration.
The president of the Board of the Museum is the one who holds the attributes of power, legitimacy, and urgency, is the one that can provide the greatest economic resources. Legitimacy also depends first of all on the president and secondly on the director. The president is the most visible head of the museum, and the director executes the actions approved by the board. Table 2 shows the differences in the indicators of the stakeholders.
The total number of stakeholder relationships in the Néstor Museum has a potential of 10.6%, while the density of the same has the possibility of increasing by 0.71%. The average distance between the actors would tend to increase by 0.01 points, so this figure is not significant. The mean of the centrality would increase from 2.474 to 2.737 in terms of real and potential relationships, while the standard deviation would increase from 5.175 to 5.766, both figures indicate that there is an increase in the mentions of the actors involved. The geodetic distance would decrease in a non-significant way (−1.72%), but being around 90% indicates a greater global centrality.

4.1.3. Strategic Management of Real and Potential Stakeholders in the Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea

The human group is the main stakeholder of this project, a group of people who have led a lifetime and who have been able to transmit that legacy at all times. There are more than three hundred people involved, sometimes in some popular act have become five hundred. All are real characters and each one has a specific role in the group.
The coordinators responsible for this association have almost become psychologists, as they themselves declare. They have to take diversity into account, they cannot treat all people equally. Within this project there are rivalries or jealousy that must be measured. Many details must be attended to that can be very significant.
Friendships can be established that can be very changeable, in a short time these relationships can be reversed. It is very complicated to manage those relationships. Through the project, these relationships can be managed because they accumulate forty years of experience. In each area there is a person who is the one who knows the most about this matter, and therefore the others let themselves be guided. There are other agents who show their unconditional support, and there are room for more actors that altruistically can improve the project.
The people who make up the project possess the attributes of power, legitimacy, and urgency, all without exception, since without them the project could not be continued. Each of these people represents an important part of a collective project that is the sum of knowledge and individual contributions, both material and immaterial. Table 3 shows the differences in relation indicators.
The total number of stakeholder relationships in P. C. La Aldea has a potential of 37.3%, while the density of the same has the possibility of increasing by 6.28%. The average distance between the actors would tend to increase by 0.153 points, so this figure is not significant. The mean of centrality would increase from 6.385 to 8.769 in terms of real and potential relationships, while the standard deviation would increase from 6.319 to 7.671, both figures indicate that there is an increase in the mentions of the actors involved. The geodetic distance would increase significantly (+37.96%), which reaching a figure close to 80% in potential relationships, indicates a certain global centrality.

4.1.4. Strategic Management of the Real and Potential Stakeholders in the Cenobio de Valerón

The public is the main actor of the Cenobio de Valerón. In this case, they enable the museum to remain open. If there is no public there would be no economic income for the management and expenses of the place and the Cenobio would have to be closed. The Cenobio’s operating strategy is achieved by going to the museum, paying the entrance fee to pay for the maintenance. By expressing their approval, they encourage more people to visit it.
The visitors play a crucial role, when it comes to developing strategies. What you do for a “typical tourist” audience, for example German or English, is not the same as for a school-age children’s audience. Thus, strategies vary from one type of visitor to another. The visit is intended to adapt to each group, to the specific characteristics of each one.
The town assumes power and legitimacy, while the company Arqueocanaria S.L. is entrusted with the urgency attribute. Anything that the company does has to authorize, first the City Council and then the Cabildo, but generally those proposals are made by the company. There are no ultimate decisions to make. The company manages the Cenobio because it went to a public contest and there is a contract to fulfill, where all the conditions to be fulfilled are reflected. Table 4 shows the differences in the indicators of stakeholder relationships.
The total number of stakeholder relationships in the Cenobio de Valerón has a potential of 24.1%, while the density of the same has the possibility of increasing by 2.18%. The average distance between the actors would tend to increase by 0.054 points, so this figure is not significant. The mean of the centrality would increase from 3.525 to 4.375 in terms of real and potential relationships, while the standard deviation would increase from 5.899 to 6.499, both figures indicate that the mentions of the actors involved increase. The geodetic distance would decrease in a non-significant way (−3.29%), even if around 62% indicates a certain balance of local-global centrality.

4.2. Analysis of the Results

4.2.1. Governance and Stakeholders in the Case Studies

It is necessary to establish whether or not the criteria of governance in the management of cultural heritage are met. Going to the UNDP (United Nations Development Program, whose function is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of nations) document entitled Governance for Sustainable Human Development, establishes a series of principles that are: “participation”, “rule of law”, “transparency”, “response capacity”, “consensus”, “effectiveness” and “efficiency”, “accountability”, and “strategic vision”, establishing that it is enough for some of them to be present. In order to analyze the principles and criteria of governance, we have resorted to the data collection system that has been followed in interviews and non-personal questionnaires (email to museums), because some authors or institutions can consider a criterion as a principle, producing sometimes differences in the number of principles. That is why the classification system followed is that proposed by Shipley and Kovacs [14], with the adequacy of the principles made by the same authors, but they must all be present, and that there can be no discrepancy between them [39]. Governance that according to Unesco [13], can “emphasize the importance of an effective system of governance, including a participatory approach that integrates multiple interest groups in policies and their integration”, are those groups of interest those that have been identified for each case as “Real Stakeholders” and “Potential Stakeholders”.
To compare governance and stakeholders in each of the case studies, four data collection techniques will be used to justify their content. On the one hand, with questions eleven (principles and criteria of governance applied to the cultural heritage sector, and specifically the specific museum) and twelve (identification of real and potential stakeholders), questions made in the non-personal questionnaire sent to each case study. On the other hand, with the interviews made to the directors-managers of each of the museums, specifically questions one to six of the second part “governance, stakeholders, and society”, these answers emerged in the questionnaires and interviews are supervised, in as much as possible, with the direct observation made during the researcher’s stay in each of the study spaces. All these considerations were reviewed with the directors-managers in a formal talk with each of them. In each of the case studies, the principles of governance have been investigated, as well as the stakeholders linked to or linked to each museum.
Both the concept of governance, as well as the principles and criteria that make it up, as well as the role of cultural heritage actors, have been reviewed in this investigation, so that the causes or reasons why they are not met will be analyzed below. These criteria will be considered, as well as a reconsideration of the interested parties related to each of the selected museums.

4.2.2. Stakeholders

Attention to the four groups of agents that have been developed, as Table 5 reflects. It can be considered that the greatest potential in terms of increasing relations of agents with the category of “public administration”, are given in nonprofit and private models, staying in the public and autonomous. Regarding the category of “third sector”, the greatest potential for increasing stakeholder relations are found in the public and autonomous models, understanding that the nonprofit sector already has it, and in the private sector, despite existing, it does not interest to incite. In the category of “private organizations”, the greatest increase is found in public and non-profit models, due, on occasion, to the lack of means of museums to search for these external connections.
The greatest potential for expanding relations between “actors and related activities” is found in the private, and especially non-profit, models, understanding that from the latter, there is a need for internal agents with the time and resources necessary to expand the network of this category of involved. Finally, only in the private model, there is the possibility of not involving, even if possible, and this is due to the own interest of the managers, of several stakeholders (museum council, employees of the public sector, friends of the museum, taxpayers, and benefactors or donors), can be understood as a clash of interests with the company or managing agents.
In this research, the real and potential actors have been identified (by various methods, that is, by deductions from the formal talks with each one of the directors-managers of the museums as well as deductions obtained through direct observation), which have or may have linkages in the resource-cultural tourism product. In all cases, proposals have been made to increase the number of actors and relationships, since as it is derived, with the increase of these links, there is a synergy of cooperation, negotiation, and debate, whose common objective is the search for a benefit for all the interested parts. Previously, the actors of each case have been reviewed and accounted for, establishing the categorization of them.
Regardless of the number of actors and total relationships, this research can corroborate the statement of Merinero and Zamora [40], which states that “as the level of tourism development is higher so is the density and the number of central actors of the networks of relationships of actors, and more stable and formal are these relationships”. It would be confirmed in this work in the field of development applied to cultural heritage and specifically to the analyzed museums.
We may affirm the conclusions of Merineno and Zamora [40] that apply this relationship between museums (or other institutions managing cultural heritage) and actors, inferring that it would be convenient to put into operation this network of collaboration among stakeholders. Therefore, this study aims to activate relationships between real and potential stakeholders. In addition to this, Pulido-Fernández and Pulido-Fernandez [39], affirm that “all interested parties must be able to participate in decision-making at all levels”. It is also to point out the enunciation of Ruhanen [41] that “the tourist development of a territory is based on the existence of relationships between a great diversity of agents, so it is essential to achieve governance to achieve the same”. For this reason, with this study, it is possible to confirm the potential relationships between the parties that constitute a value with exploitation feasibility, being positive that there are many relationships between the stakeholders.

5. Discussion

Reviewing the literature of the theory of business organization (museums), trust does not follow the establishment of links, and can be tested or even fluctuate in existing relationships, which has implications for the stability of the network [42,43], so we can refute this assertion, since it is determined that by increasing the links (stakeholder relationships), it would increase the possibility of improving the cultural tourism product, and thereby improve relations between the interested parties, since all of them benefit from it.
After the interviews and direct observation done (including informal conversations), it would be possible to affirm the main characteristics that Martinell Sempere [29] raises about the concerns of the stakeholders in the cultural heritage, and that therefore continue in force: (a) analyze and interpret the reality of their environment and society, (b) enable the participation and incorporation of different actors, (c)create and encourage opinion states, (d) help to build social, cultural, and educational demands, (e) promote self-organization and the assumption of responsibilities, (f) identify new needs or problems of society, (g) be a platform for organizing private and public initiatives, and (h) be actors who dynamize and actively participate.
Adapting to the theory of Lasker et al. [44], to establish the basis of the cooperation of museums with other actors, asked through informal conversations, the rest of the museum staff (not being the directors), to indicate their opinion on the potential to establish relationships with others stakeholders not involved so far, to improve the cultural tourism product. This question sought to evaluate attitudes towards collaboration within the network, based on their experience. And it was determined that, coinciding with Lasker et al. [44], both benefits and disadvantages can be obtained in the expansion of collaboration between actors. It is evident that in recent times the framework of the museum has been altered [45], and therefore it is necessary and coinciding with Johnson et al. [46], the implementation of organizational strategies that include the demands of the different stakeholders. This theory is corroborated in this study. This study confirms that museums are effective in their function of disseminating culture to audiences and contributing to the local development [47].

6. Conclusions

Governance applied to cultural heritage is a dynamic process of interaction, which seeks to establish functions, processes, and responsibilities to achieve the proposed objectives. Stakeholders or actors with diverse interests and responsibilities are the ones in charge of activating a participatory and open dialogue mechanism, where the principles and criteria established by governance serve to achieve an optimization of the heritage asset, as well as being participants in the conservation of good, as with market expectations, generating or not a cultural tourism product, and thereby increasing the possibilities of improve the own benefit of each actor.
Thus, we can review the hypotheses proposed at the beginning of this article:
H1: As we have seen in the results of the interviews carried out with the directors of each of the case studies, this joint decision-making, in which a multitude of interested actors would be able to participate, would make this improvement possible. In view not only of the search for a collective economic and social return, it also highlights the individual benefit that this diversification would generate.
On the other hand, the “main actor” of cultural heritage, which is the visitor, plays an important role. During this investigation, 500 questionnaires have been prepared, where the visitor-client has reflected, with a multitude of answers, the importance of their opinion in shaping the product, highlighting the image or vision they have of each case of study, and contributing the opinion direct that sometimes the manager cannot have, both the physical space that is visited and its management. These questionnaires have been contrasted with the parallel direct observation that has been carried out in each place.
H2: Although the private sector does not share the totality of this statement, the interviews carried out with the directors of the museums corroborate this information. All the parties (although the private sector with limitations), accept that if the ideas of the different agents (public, private, and related) are taken into account, more possibilities of improvement of the cultural offer would be generated. The negotiation (to reach agreements), the discussion (to raise different ideas and make decisions) and the cooperation (joint work to achieve objectives), would allow to diversify the offer, offering greater possibilities, thus increasing its competitiveness considerably. An important role in this sense plays the visitor’s point of view, which is the final recipient of the offer, and often having a wider vision than the rest of stakeholders. Therefore, this hypothesis is confirmed.
H3: Although it is difficult to establish a relationship in a quantitative way, through the interviews conducted, the formal conversations and the direct observation made, it follows that the private sector is more interested in establishing an improvement of responsible tourism products. While the administration and stakeholders of the public sector have as a priority the maintenance and dissemination of cultural heritage (including the optimization of it), it is the private agents who have the potential to achieve it, so that they are the ones who have the feasibility of getting involved. in this task, it is therefore possible to affirm the hypothesis.
During the process of preparing this study, relationships have been established not only with the responsible cultural managers and visitors of each of the case studies, but also with a series of tourism and cultural professionals (tour operators, researchers, politicians, entrepreneurs, collaborators, etc.) and we have seen that normally, and except for some concrete exception, the governance and stakeholders concepts (or actors) are unknown, and the functions that they could develop. More specifically, many managers do not know what the application of governance would bring in their field of work, once the concepts were explained and discussed, the interviewees showed their agreement or not with such a management procedure, but I wonder if the lack of knowledge of these they are due to a political problem, to a management problem, to the fact that this procedure is not useful or if at the moment it has not been proposed for their museum. After the doubts that arose, we discovered that it was useful, only that the process to apply it in its entirety has not been established, that although the principles of governance are met, it has not yet been implemented in a conscious and priority manner in management.
Although it is difficult to satisfy all the actors, a middle point must be sought (where common interests stand out), where the most demanded aspects prevail. The integration of stakeholders in management is not only due to ethical issues, but also to the search for joint strategic planning and the promotion of both social responsibility and corporate responsibility.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the governance of cultural heritage is a strategic tool for managing responsible tourism products. An instrument, although intangible, the governance and the stakeholders of the cultural heritage, that with its activation the first one, and responsibility of follow-up the second ones, look for the efficiency and therefore the improvement of the good or product offered to the visitor. Although four case studies have been selected for this research, it is possible that these management mechanisms are applicable to all agencies or institutions, regardless of their approach and management model, which are in charge of the custody and use of cultural heritage. that must not only endure, but also be improved to transmit it to future generations.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, review & editing, A.S.-T.; Data curation & editing, C.J.L.; Writing—original draft, H.M.-M.


“Tourist Intelligence for responsible marine tourism” (ProdID2017010123) co-funded by Agencia Canaria de Investigación, Innovación y Sociedad de la Información through a funding Research and Development project regarding Strategy for Intelligent Specialization in the Canary Islands and the Operative Program of FEDER Canarias 2014–2020.


To the museums that have researched in this study, and to the staff that has helped the researchers to carry out this research: Painted Cave, Néstor Museum, Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea and Cenobio de Valerón.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Moore, K. Museum Management; Routledge: London, UK, 2004. [Google Scholar]
  2. Soren, B.J. Museums experiences that change visitors. Museum Manag. Curatorship 2009, 24, 233–251. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Cerquetti, M. More is better! Current issues and challenges for museum audience development: A literature review. J. Cult. Manag. Policy 2016, 6, 19. [Google Scholar]
  4. Goodwin, H. Responsible Tourism: Using Tourism for Sustainable Development Goodfellow, 2nd ed.; Goodfellow Publishers: Oxford, UK, 2016. [Google Scholar]
  5. Wijayadasa, K.H.J. Governance, Heritge and Sustainability; Sarasavi Publishers: Nugegoda, Sri Lanka, 2012; pp. 6–7. [Google Scholar]
  6. Chen, N.; Yang, T.C. Democracy, rule of law, and corporate governance—A liquidity perspective. Econ. Gov. 2017, 18, 35–70. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Bourne, L.; Walker, D.H. Visualising and mapping stakeholder influence. Manag. Decis. 2005, 43, 649–660. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Wickham, M.; Lehman, K. Communicating sustainability priorities in the museum sector. J. Sustain. Tour. 2015, 23, 1011–1028. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  9. Reussner, E.M. Strategic Management for Visitor-oriented Museums. Mus. Manag. Mark. 2007, 9, 148. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  10. Stylianou-Lambert, T.; Boukas, N.; Christodoulou-Yerali, M. Museums and cultural sutainability: Stakeholders, forces and cultural policies. Int. J. Cult. Policy 2014, 20, 566–587. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Ziakas, V.; Costa, C.A. Explicating inter-organizational linkages of a host community’s events network. Int. J. Event Festiv. Manag. 2010, 1, 132–147. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  12. Kooiman, J. Societal governance. In Demokratien in Europa; VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften: Wiesbaden, Germany, 2003; pp. 229–250. [Google Scholar]
  13. Unesco. Gestión del Patrimonio Mundial Cultural. Manual de Referencia; Unesco: Paris, France, 2014; Available online: (accessed on 22 September 2019).
  14. Shipley, R.; Kovacs, J. Good governance principles for the cultural heritage sector: Lessons from international experience. Corp. Gov. Int. Rev. 2008, 8, 214–228. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. Mercer, C. From Indicators to Governance to the Mainstream: Tools for Cultural Policy and Citizenship. Accounting for Culture: Examining the Building Blocks of Cultural Citizenship; University of Ottawa Press: Ottawa, Canada, 2005. [Google Scholar]
  16. San-Jose, L.; Retolaza, J.L. Participación de los stakeholders en la gobernanza corporativa: Fundamentación ontológica y propuesta metodológica. Universitas Psychologica 2012, 11, 619–628. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Catalá, J.P. De la Burocracia al Management, del Management a la Gobernanza. Las Transformaciones de las Administraciones Públicas en Nuestro Tiempo; (Estudios Goberna), Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública. Ministerio de Administraciones Públicas: Madrid, Spain, 2005. [Google Scholar]
  18. Weiss, J.W. Ética en los Negocios Un Enfoque de Administración de los Stakeholders y de Casos; Thomson Learning: Madrid, Spain, 2006. [Google Scholar]
  19. Frooman, J. Stakeholder Influence Strategies. PhD Thesis, University of Pittsburg, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 2002. [Google Scholar]
  20. Medeiros De Araujo, L.; Bramwell, B. Stakeholder Assessment and Collaborative Tourism Planning: The Case of Brazil’s Costa Dourada Project. J. Sustain. Tour. 1999, 7, 356–378. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Sautter, E.T.; Leisen, B. Managing Stakeholders A Tourism Planning Model. Ann. Tour. Res. 1999, 26, 312–328. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  22. Andersson, T.; Getz, D. Resource dependency, costs and revenues of a street festival. Tour. Econ. 2007, 13, 143. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  23. Morales Cortijo, G.I.; Hernández Mogollón, J.M. Los stakeholders del turismo. In Proceedings of the International Conference of Tourism & Management Studies, Algarve, Portugal, 14–17 November 2011; Volume 1, pp. 894–903. [Google Scholar]
  24. Sheehan, L.R.; Ritchie, J.B. Destination stakeholders exploring identity and salience. Ann. Tour. Res. 2005, 32, 711–734. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Lewis, A.; Newsome, D. Planning for stingray tourism at Hamelin Bay, Western Australia: The importance of stakeholder perspectives. Int. Int. J. Tour. Res. 2003, 5, 331–346. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  26. Pulido Fernández, J.I. Las partes interesadas en la gestión turística de los parques naturales andaluces. Identificación de interrelaciones e intereses. Revista de Estudios Regionales 2010, 88, 147–175. [Google Scholar]
  27. Matíaz Cruz, G.; Pulido Fernández, J.I. Dinámica relacional interorganizacional para el desarrollo turístico. Los casos de Villa Gesell y Pinamar (Argentina). Revista de Estudios Regionales 2012, 94, 167–194. [Google Scholar]
  28. Pulido Fernández, J.I. Turismo Cultural; Editorial Síntesis: Madrid, Spain, 2013. [Google Scholar]
  29. Martinell Sempere, A. Los Agentes de la Cultura. En Manual Atalaya. Apoyo a la gestión cultural. Universidad de Cádiz (Organizador). Available online: (accessed on 14 June 2017).
  30. Kotler, N.; Kotler, P. Estrategias y Marketing de Museos; Editorial Ariel Patrimonio Histórico: Barcelona, Spain, 2001. [Google Scholar]
  31. Freeman, R.E. Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach; Harper-Collins: Boston, MA, USA, 1984. [Google Scholar]
  32. Legget, J. Mapping what Matters in New Zealand Museums. Stakeholders Perspectives on Museum Performance and Accountability. Thesis in Management and Museums Studies. Ph.D. Thesis, Massey University, Palmersten North, New Zealand, 2006. [Google Scholar]
  33. Chias Suriol, J. Del recurso a la oferta turístico cultural: Catálogo de problemas. In Proceedings of the I Congreso Internacional Del Turismo Cultural, Salamanca, Spain, 5–6 November 2002. [Google Scholar]
  34. Moreno Deldago, N.L. Planificación de Marketing y Adopción de Estrategias Comerciales. El caso del Parque Turístico Río Canímar. Master’s Thesis, Dpto. de Economía, Facultad de Ingeniería Industrial—Economía, Universidad de Matanzas Camilo Cienfuegos, Maatanaz, Cuba, 2011. Available online: (accessed on 10 June 2017).
  35. Lord, B.; Lord, G.D. Manual de Gestión de Museos; Editorial Ariel: Barcelona, Spain, 1998. [Google Scholar]
  36. Ballart Hernández, J.; Juan I Tresserras, J. Gestión del Patrimonio Cultural; Editorial Ariel: Barcelona, Spain, 2005. [Google Scholar]
  37. Querol, M.A. Manual de Gestión del Patrimonio Cultural; Ediciones Akal: Madrid, Spain, 2010. [Google Scholar]
  38. Bogartti, S.P.; Everett, M.G.; Freeeman, L.C. Ucinet for Windows: Software for Social Analysis; Analytic Technologies: Harvard, MA, USA, 2002. [Google Scholar]
  39. Pulido-Fernández, M.C.; Pulido-Fernández, J.I. ¿Existe gobernanza en la actual gestión de los destinos turísticos ? Estudio de casos. PASOS: Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural 2014, 12, 685–705. [Google Scholar]
  40. Merinero Rodríguez, R.; Zamora Acosta, E. La colaboración entre los actores turísticos en ciudades patrimoniales. Reflexiones para el análisis del desarrollo turístico. PASOS: Revista de Turismo y Patrimonio Cultural 2009, 7, 219–238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  41. Ruhanen, L. Local government: Facilitator or inhibitor of sustainable tourism development? J. Sust. Tourism 2012, 21, 80–98. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  42. Gulati, R. Does Familiarity Breed Trust? The Implications of Repeated Ties for Contractual Choices in Alliances. Acad. Manag. J. 1995, 38, 85–112. [Google Scholar]
  43. Uzzi, B: Social Structure and Competition in Interfirm Networks: The Paradox of Embeddedness. Adm. Sci. Quaterly 1997, 42, 35–67. [CrossRef]
  44. Lasker, R.D.; Weiss, E.S.; Miller, R. Partnership Synergy: A Practical Framework for Studying and Strengthening the Collaborative Advantage. Milbank Q. 2001, 79, 179–205. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  45. Lang, C.; Reeve, J.; Woollard, V. The Responsive Museum: Working with Audiences in the Twenty First Century; Ashgate Publishing: Farnham, UK, 2012; pp. 1–276. [Google Scholar]
  46. Johnson, G.; Scholes, K.; Whittington, R. Exploring Corporate Strategy, Text Cases; Organizational Change, Pearson Education: London, UK, 2008; p. 878. [Google Scholar]
  47. Bertacchini, E.E.; Dalle Nogare, C.; Scuderi, R. Ownership, organization structure and public service provision: The case of museums. J. Cult. Econ. 2018, 42, 619–643. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Figure 1. Example of real relationships in a case study (Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea).
Figure 1. Example of real relationships in a case study (Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea).
Sustainability 11 05192 g001
Figure 2. Example of potential relationships in a case study (Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea).
Figure 2. Example of potential relationships in a case study (Cultural Project of Community Development of La Aldea).
Sustainability 11 05192 g002
Table 1. Indicators of stakeholder relations in the Painted Cave.
Table 1. Indicators of stakeholder relations in the Painted Cave.
IndicatorReal RelationshipsPotential Relationships
1 Total relationships266282
2 Density12.3%13.04%
3 Distance1.8381.870
4 Centrality5.666
5 Geodetic distance55.89%57.26%
Table 2. Indicators of stakeholder relations in the Nestor Museum.
Table 2. Indicators of stakeholder relations in the Nestor Museum.
IndicatorReal RelationshipsPotential Relationships
1 Total relationships94104
2 Density6.69%7.4%
3 Distance1.9161.926
4 Centrality2.4742.737
5 Geodetic distance91.51%89.79%
Table 3. Indicators of stakeholder relations in Community Project of La Aldea.
Table 3. Indicators of stakeholder relations in Community Project of La Aldea.
IndicatorReal RelationshipsPotential Relationships
1 Total relationships249342
2 Density16.8%23.08%
3 Distance1.6171.769
4 Centrality6.3857.671
5 Geodetic distance42.84%80.80%
Table 4. Indicators of stakeholder relations in the Cenobio de Valerón.
Table 4. Indicators of stakeholder relations in the Cenobio de Valerón.
IndicatorReal RelationshipsPotential Relationships
1 Total relationships141175
2 Density9.04%11.22%
3 Distance1.8381.892
4 Centrality3.5254.375
5 Geodetic distance65.74%62.45%
Table 5. Real and potential stakeholder relationships in the case studies.
Table 5. Real and potential stakeholder relationships in the case studies.
Category/MuseumPainted CaveNestor MuseumC. P. La AldeaCenobio de Valerón
Real (R)-Potential (P)RPRPRPRP
Public Administration1010885768
Third Sector23137823
Private Organizations1114882699
Actors and related activities1315161811171215
Does not affect6040130105

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Moreno-Mendoza, H.; Santana-Talavera, A.; J. León, C. Stakeholders of Cultural Heritage as Responsible Institutional Tourism Product Management Agents. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5192.

AMA Style

Moreno-Mendoza H, Santana-Talavera A, J. León C. Stakeholders of Cultural Heritage as Responsible Institutional Tourism Product Management Agents. Sustainability. 2019; 11(19):5192.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moreno-Mendoza, Héctor, Agustín Santana-Talavera, and Carmelo J. León. 2019. "Stakeholders of Cultural Heritage as Responsible Institutional Tourism Product Management Agents" Sustainability 11, no. 19: 5192.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop