Mohamed Gamal ABDELMONEM, Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom
With the long-term impact of COVID-19, Climate Change or limited security as a result of political instability, international travel and tourism to African Heritage Sites will prove increasingly difficult over the coming few decades. Remote heritage sites, that form a large part of African Heritage, are the most affected, due to the lack of international tourism, and limited domestic awareness of their cultural and economic values. Considering Climate Change and global agreement on the limitation on Carbon emissions, international travel and tourism are likely to become more difficult to afford, and other solutions are needed. This Paper discusses novel economic modes of heritage tourism where digital technologies and virtual integration of African Heritage sites and Europe-based museum collections can provide a pathway towards more economically viable and sustainable heritage tourism for African sites, such as Hawara Pyramid in Egypt.
Hawara is a well-known site whose artefacts are on display in more than 46 leading world museums. By using state-of-the-art laser scanners and virtual heritage modelling was developed. The artefacts from the site were traced in museum collections around the world and a digital database of objects was created - Virtual Hawara. The use of virtual heritage technologies offers a breakthrough in how we can reach out to such a remote yet substantial heritage site by recomposing its historic narratives, collections and by reconstructing its spatial, physical, and environmental condition in a way that was previously not possible. The development and economic viability of many remote and marginalised heritage sites across Africa may lie in how we utilise, customise, and develop virtual technologies to save vulnerable heritage sites and re-connect them with lost histories and remote collections and thus generate new global touristic connections and routes both physically and virtually.
Mots clés : Tourism Economy|Heritage Regeneration|Virtual museums|European-African Connections