Issue 6: World Heritage Tourism

World Heritage and Tourism

The World Heritage Convention only mentions tourism once, and it does so in the context of threats of a magnitude potentially great enough to warrant putting a site on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger. When tourism is not being discussed as a direct threat to World Heritage Sites, it is typically considered in terms of providing appropriate facilities for visitors or with the potential economic benefits that tourism can bring both to individual sites and their surrounding areas. However, there is a need to consider how tourists engage with and experience World Heritage in broader terms. The Budapest Declaration outlines a number of strategic objectives, of which the fourth is to “increase public awareness, involvement and support for World Heritage through Communication ”  (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2002, emphasis original). This theme is expanded on in the ‘awareness-raising and education’ section of the Operational Guidelines (UNESCO World Heritage Centre, 2015, VI.C). Although there is a clear emphasis on communication of the key themes of World Heritage through education, the general public, including tourists, are also identified as a significant audience.

This issue examines the theme of World Heritage and tourism in relation to the experience of World Heritage sites by tourists, exploring the nature of communication to tourists and the many and varied ways they may interact with the sites they visit. As tourism is characterised by its short term nature, is it possible for individuals to gain anything more than a surface level experience of World Heritage, and is this different to the sort of experience they might have at sites not inscribed on the List.  Broad themes for the issue include:

– The ways in which World Heritage values are represented to tourists and the resulting effects on tourist experience;

– The role of World Heritage status and values in the construction of tourism imaginaries of destinations; and

– How significant is World Heritage in tourist narratives of place?

View the full journal online

Or download and read individual articles (PDF):

Coralie Acheson – Editorial Download

Mike Robinson – Keynote Paper – World Heritage and Tourism: The Challenges of Complexity and Change. Download

Anna Titova – Implications of World Heritage Site Status for tourism development. Download

Ghislaine van der Ploeg – Performance, Tourism, and Movement in the Theatres of Epidaurus, Syracuse, and Ostia. Download

Tshepang Rose Tlatlane – Creating a better tourist experience through the presentation and interpretation of World Heritage Values in Botswana. Download

Rawan K Osman – Tourism without borders: Towards World Heritage Sites for all. Download

Francesca Casey – World Heritage and Tourism: Urban Exploration, Phenomenology and Accommodating Fringe Groups. Download

Nikola Naumov – Book Review – Labadi, S. (2013) UNESCO, Cultural heritage, and Outstanding Universal value: Value-Based Analyses of the World Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage Conventions. Plymouth, UK: Altamira Press. Download