Table of Contents:
HERITAGE TOURISM STAKEHOLDERS IN SELECTED LITERATURE
There have been many attempts to identify the social groups, institutions, and other parties that already do or potentially can participate in the sustainable development of cultural and heritage tourism. However, the perception of the role of various groups in this respect has markedly fluctuated since the 1980s (Richards, 2018). It has evolved from a traditional, top-down approach, that assumed the decisive role of experts and government agencies, to the cunent understanding that the key factor of successful and sustainable cultural tourism development are thriving local communities (Pollock, 2018).
The traditional, authoritative approach to heritage management, also encompassing heritage tourism and its stakeholders still linger in the practice of UNESCO, which, according to Lucas Lixinski, Vice-President of the Association of Cultural Heritage Stirdies, “falls short of bringing communities into the implementation of its cultural mandate” (Dore, 2018). A similar mindset dominates many intergovernmental and governmental agencies involved in heritage protection and management, and those active in the making and delivery of historical and educational policy, or in the organization and development of tourism (Harrison, 2013; Silverman et al., 2017; Waterton and Watson, 2011). It is marked by what Laurajane Smith famously called the Authorized Heritage Discourse (Smith, 2006), that is, a widespread belief that heritage resources can only be properly interpreted and evaluated by experts, especially at the international level. The concept has been widely discussed within the discipline of Heritage Studies (Ashworth and Howard, 1999; Fredheim and Klialaf, 2016; Silverman et al., 2017; Smith and Campbell, 2015; Throsby, 2001). Many authors point to the limitations of the approach, which has created an authoritative cultur al canon of items, sites, and traditions that are protected and preserved at the expense of others, and often not for but against their potential use by various communities (Dore, 2018). Also, it seems to contradict the general trend toward democratization and broadening of the concept of culture itself, and in consequence also of cultural tourism, which has expanded away from traditional elite pursuits to embrace a mass market orientation (Richards, 2018).
Along with the critique of the Authorized Heritage Discourse and an improving understanding of the complex relationship between tourism and heritage, recently it has also been noted that the way various communities engage with cultural and heritage resources has changed over the years (Chabiera et al., 2017; Harrison, 2013; Ripp et al., 2017; Smith et al., 2012). Tourists are no longer seen as impartial, disaffected consumers, and host communities as complacent suppliers of tourism services, hr fact, it has been noted that the essence of cultural tourism lies not in the fact of visiting cultural destinations, but in the experience to be had in the process (Smith et al., 2012).
The dominating busmess perspective in Tourism Studies means that there is scarce literature that would recognize the potential that lies in the encounter between tourists and local communities. In fact, the notion of such an encounter—and its consequences—is primarily an anthropological concept that lies outside the scope of expertise of most economics scholars (Nogues-Pedregal, 2019). Meanwhile, the failure to fully address the dynamics between hosts and visitors, the insiders and outsiders, affects curability to understand and exploit the phenomenon of cultur e itself—and to maximize the potential of cultural and heritage tourism.
Thus far, most mainstream contributions on the subject of cultural tourism highlight its inherent dualism, visitors and locals, technology and tradition, protection and use, and profit and significance. The forces that shape the socio-economic processes of tourism seem to be in a continued and mutually competitive strive and the need—andpossibility—to find the balance between them has only been uttered very recently (De Wilde, 2018).
As a matter of fact, both tourists and local conununities seem to have grown weary of this traditional divide. The tourists’ quest of authenticity has evolved from looking for exceptional experiences to the now prevailing search for “the everyday” (Richards, 2018). It is expressed in a growing number of offers to eat or live “like the locals,” as well as in the recent rise of community-based or cooperative tourism business models. If not entirely successfill, for example, due to deep cultural differences, the trend has at least resulted in the creation of “in-between” experiences in cultural tourism; encompassing elements that do not belong either in the local or in the tourist sphere (Richards, 2018).
At the same time, conununities have been increasingly outspoken in their opposition to mass tourism, but the majority of destinations seem to have been unable to provide a comprehensive, scalable alternative. The recent insistence by New Zealand and Hawaii on attracting “better tourists,” who would be willing to make real connections with locals—and generate more value to the economy—seem desperate and elitist at the core (Mathews, 2019). What seems to drive the tourist-local divide is a particular misunderstanding surrounding, at the street level, of the value of “the everyday.” The antagonism is also often exacerbated by the relations of dependence created by international tourism (Nogues-Pedregal, 2019). At this point, it is worth noting that the transformative power of tourism extends also to places—towns, territories, and landscapes—thus, expanding the list of possible heritage tourism stakeholders to those, who are also direct and indirect users of those places.
In the face of necessity to move beyond the dichotomy of locals and visitors, it is herein proposed that heritage tourism stakeholders are seen as a spectrum, a network, ranging from insiders to orrtsiders and from the closest heritage conununities to those that have the least attachment or involvement with it. Such view corresponds closely with a concept put forth by Ripp (2018), a Regional Coordinator at the Organization of World Heritage Cities, who suggested to approach cultural heritage as a system that principally belongs to local communities. Ripp distinguishes direct heritage users, indirect users, and influential parties—a classification that bypasses questions of power and emphasizes the aspect of heritage use (see Table 6.1). In this perspective local conununities—the most immediate heritage users—are an essential element of the heritage system, a key stakeholder; tourists and trades have been classed as secondary users, and the remaining affected or interested institutions are mentioned as a tertiary, but influential, element of the system. Thus, by overturning the cunent system of power and directing attention toward the use value of heritage, which, at least from an economic point of view, has been the least troublesome of all the possible heritage values discussed in the literature, emerges a new categorization of heritage stakeholders, fitting for a study focused on the practical issue of capacity building.
Indeed, putting people at the center of the concept of heritage was also the core intention of the 2005 Faro Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Council of Europe, 2005). By emphasizing the changing and diverse needs of various heritage stakeholders, and empowering the original heritage users—the local people—the Faro Convention was a major step away from the rigid, linear, and authoritative heritage management approaches of the earlier era. It also emphasized that a sustainable approach demands that heritage continues to play a contemporary role—to be used—for the benefit of its various communities.
Table 6.1 shows the complexity of the heritage system seen this way. It has also been cross-referenced with the classification of heritage stakeholders according to the 2011 UNESCO recommendation on the historic urban landscape, which distinguishes three groups: conununities, decision-makers, and professionals (UNESCO, 2011).
The approach of conservation and preservation of historical landscape as conservation and preservation of local memories through the symbolic elements of existing heritage is an important instrument for planners to avoid degradation or destruction of the local heritage. The geneses of perennial values are made during a long scale of time, including several successive stages of recognition and selection, projected on a time scale.
In this sense, it is significant to signalize the noteworthy heritage in a territory as a context of living societies in a certain place, and it is essential to create a methodology that can help to identify those important elements needing to be protected. It is imperative in any reflection about landscape and its constructions, to keep the line of thinking of the existent link created between natural and cultural elements.
TABLE 6.1 Heritage Tourism Stakeholders.
DU - Direct Users IU - Indirect Users INF - Influential
Source: Author’s own compilation.
Every day the action of man shapes the landscape and the heritage resources which are testimonies of the passage of time in result of the human needs and “uses.” The local history is changing at the mm of years and centuries and the historical landscape is in constant transformation due to the contemporaneity of human actions. In this context of historical evolution, the relation of man with the surrounding space that implies its transformation is very visible, a fact that could bring degradation or deterioration of the historical resources.
As an important economic resource, heritage must be valued and protected. It is not easy to decide or find alternatives to safeguard heritage, knowing that these cultural resources of the territory acquire enormous value and ample significance because they are active exporters of messages from the past. As elements of the territory that have persisted in the present time, they are living witnesses of the passing of several generations and bearers of a collective memory that we all have as a duty to protect for the future, as the UNESCO (1964) notes from an early date.
Various risks and challenges are constantly facing heritage, including natural disasters, economic development, tourism, pollution, inappropriate management, plunder, and war. It is important to emphasize the issue of economic development which exerts strong pressure on the cultural and natural resources.
At this moment, we are interested in addressing the decisions regarding the deliberation of actors involved in the processes of safeguarding the historical landscape, in particular changes arising from property impacts. It is necessary for the local managers to take into account the risks and pressures of their assets in order to act in accordance with international regulations and safeguard the traces of the past for future generations. In order to do so, it is necessary for local governments and managers to value and communicate this value so that it is known and preserved in the future, according to what it refers to. This is a way of building or developing capacities. Some of the risks bring about an irreversible transformation, both in nature and in the cultural landscape where elements of durability in time produced and produce the identity of cultures and societies.
The importance of heritage and the importance of historical and cultural landscapes to be preserved is not only because of their role as an important evidence to previous times and the source of a spirit of place, but because heritage and culture are important factors of territorial and economic development.
heritage tourism sustainable development landscape conservation
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