Free or paid: the uses of Roses Citadel (Catalonia)

The Roses Citadel is a bastioned fortification that has archaeological remains from the Greek, Roman and medieval periods in its interior. Currently, the area inside the Citadel is used for a wide range of activities; some directly related with the heritage item, others associated with its use as a public space for the town. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the economic interest of charging an entrance fee vs the alternative of free access and offers a framework to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach: The proposal is to consider the marginal cost of increasing the number of users and to carry out a travel cost analysis. It is vital to take into account the results of specifically economic analyses, but the evaluations of social policies should also be considered, and should have a considerable weight in decision making. Findings: It is proposed that free entry would bring about an increase in the number of visitors and users of Roses Citadel. In turn, this increase would lead to a greater social use of this heritage asset, and a chance for the least privileged sectors of society to use the site more. Financial resources for the maintenance of the asset would not be raised through entry fees, but through contributions relating to the increase in the social consideration of the site. Originality/value: In the context of a discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of paying an entry fee for heritage assets, the example of Roses Citadel provides several factors for consideration. It shows that payment of an entry fee affects use of the site by society, and particularly by the local community, whereas free access leads to a wide range of opportunities for use ​
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