Tourism in the “Sassi” of Matera: Better to be renewned or preserved?
Inhabited since the Neolithic Era, the town of Matera evokes a particular fashion linked to its peculiarities. Built on the rough faces of a ravine, Matera hides under the rock a tangle of grottoes, churches, crypts, tanks and houses, partially dug and partially built, which shape the very ancient “Sassi” quarters.
The tourist development of the town has a short history and the various operators have usually acted by their own without any shared purpose. The recent designation of Matera as European Capital of Culture for 2019 has fastened the tourist growth, poiting out the lacks of the system: a strategic tourism plan is urgent to favour cooperation among the different actors, to support common purposes and to encourage sustainable and cultural tourism.
After having described Matera and the tourism data, this study analysis the main features of its tourist growth and the weaknesses of the system through the point of view of some experts. Then there are some considerations to improve the tourist organization: actually the town has undergone a phase of renewal which has partially altered the old quarters; a phase of preservation is needed to foster the identity of the Sassi and ensure a sustainable and cultural tourism.