In the context of multiple repurposing of rural spaces, tourism represents a path for
development, with the potential to revitalize these areas. The conservation and restoration of heritage,
and its promotion through tourism, can become an opportunity for local development, in which a
range of stakeholders fulfil different roles in the carrying out of the processes involved. The aim of
the study was to analyse the heritagisation processes and their tourist value enhancement and how
it affects local development in Mértola (Baixo Alentejo, Portugal). A series of interviews with the
chief stakeholders in the process were conducted, from which the contexts and conceptualisations
of development were determined. On the basis of secondary data in terms of statistics, an analysis
of the impacts of the process of heritagisation and the development of tourism was undertaken.
The main conclusions drawn by the research are the following: (a) the importance of the process of
heritagisation in Mértola; (b) the viability of the project, given the cost and lack of comprehensive
conservation, in creating a unified whole; (c) the performance of, and power relationships between,
the various stakeholders; (d) the limited participation of locals due to disaffection with the project;
(e) the correlation between heritage, rural tourism, and local development.