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ISSUE 6 – CONTENTS The Editors

Coralie Acheson – Editorial

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

Anna Titova - Implications of World Heritage Site Status for tourism development

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

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

Rawan K Osman - Tourism without borders: Towards World Heritage Sites for all

Francesca Casey - World Heritage and Tourism: Urban Exploration, Phenomenology and Accommodating Fringe Groups

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

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ISSN2057-519X (Online) 1


General Editor Coralie Acheson - I am an AHRC CDA PhD candidate at the Ironbridge Institute at the University of Birmingham. My research is exploring the ways in which tourists engage with the values of a World Heritage Site. I’ve worked in commercial archaeology in the UK for a number of years, in both urban and rural contexts, and both as a field archaeologist and in planning consultancy. I have an undergraduate degree in archaeology and an MA in Managing Archaeological Sites. In addition to those encompassed within the PhD my research interests include the ways in which we can creatively expand access to the historic environment, landscape and the ways in which it is negotiated, and the archaeologies of displacement.

Editorial Team furnace is edited by PhD Researchers and MA students from the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham. This issue was edited by: Arooj Al Raee Richard Bigambo Hee Joo Kim Bettina Pahlen Veronica Troy

Proof and Copy Editing Veronica Troy Arooj Al Raee

Online Publishing Arooj Al Raee

Cover Design Coralie Acheson Images Š Coralie Acheson


World Heritage and Tourism Coralie Acheson EDITORIAL This issue of furnace is the final part of a series of four focused on the meanings and values of World Heritage. The themes have been drawn from the areas of research forming part of the AHRC funded research project ‘Communicating World Heritage: Meanings, Values and Practices amongst Communities of Interest’ undertaken by PhD researchers in the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham. The first issue in the series considered Industrial World Heritage, the second World Heritage Education, and the third communities and World Heritage. The final instalment in this series addresses World Heritage and tourism. In this volume we are delighted to present six papers addressing different aspects of this topic and which draw on case studies from Finland, Spain, Greece, Botswana and Japan. Tourists can be characterised by their mobility - they are people who have travelled to someplace beyond their normal environment. While a traditional view of tourism encompasses both travel for leisure and business this issue focuses on the former, moving the focus away from the practicalities of movement, its infrastructure and economics, and onto the performances and performativity of leisure travel. It is in this context that World Heritage and tourism is discussed, with papers considering what it means for the visitor to learn about a place, travel to it, negotiate its meanings and values, and to return home. 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. There is a need to consider how tourists engage with and experience World Heritage in broader terms. In the keynote paper Mike Robinson opens up the issues surrounding not only the challenges of understanding tourism and World Heritage but also the complexity. Tourism and heritage haven been interwoven in many ways over the last century, and even before. World Heritage designation need not fundamentally alter these well-worn modalities. Understanding visitor awareness and perceptions of World Heritage is of particular importance for exploring issues of communication and experience. Anna Titova opens up this issue through her presentation of a case study of how World Heritage status is communicated at Suomenlinna, Finland, using it as a way to examine the concept of ‘World Heritage Literacy’ and the effect that this has on the motivations and experience of visitors to World Heritage Sites. She argues that, while there is growing public awareness of what World Heritage is, something which may affect how people travel, the efficacy of this as a foundation for communication is dependent on subsequent levels of on- and off-site engagement. Ghislaine van der Ploeg presents three contrasting examples of how site management can influence tourist’s experience of space and the consequences for the presentation of Outstanding Universal Value. At the Graeco-Roman theatre sites at Epidaurus (Greece), and Syracuse and Ostia (Italy) modern performances allow visitors to experience something of the spatial aspects of the sites’ historical use, even though the shows themselves may not be from that tradition. Further, subtler 3

measures of site management can have a significant effect on how the performances of tourism itself lead to the selective transferral of particular values. In particular van der Ploeg explores how the funnelling of site traffic at Ostia results in tourists focusing on the theatre, largely rebuilt in the 20th century, rather than the more structurally authentic elements of the city itself. Tshepang Rose Tlatlane also considers the role of staging performances in communicating particular values to tourists. She explores storytelling as a way of portraying intangible cultural values at World Heritage Sites in Botswana. The tourist model for Botswana has been wildlife-focused for many years, and oriented on the Okavango Delta. By broadening the tourist offer to include cultural heritage sites such as the Tsodilo Hills there is potential for growth without necessarily overburdening individual sites. By using traditional storytelling practices to interpret the sites there is the potential both to sustain these practices and create interpretation for tourists which allows them to enter in to some of the more intangible elements of the values of these places. The ethics of performing tourism in places of great religious significance is an element that Tlatlane touches on, and which Rawan K. Osman considers in detail through his exploration of the management of the Córdoba Mosque-Cathedral in Spain. Recognising that visitors bring with them a multiplicity of religious and cultural knowledge, Osman explores how management best practice should allow room for tourists to demonstrate their own values. In contrast to Osman’s presentation of how site based management can affect the experience of sites for people of different religious backgrounds, Francesca Casey examines what can be learnt about heritage management from the alternative engagements with place demonstrated by Urban Explorers. Using lessons learnt from the Urban Exploring community, Casey argues for an alteration of high level conceptualisations of value and conservation. This is demonstrated through a case study of Hashima Island in Japan, where conservation discourse comes into conflict with the value of entropic decay. These papers demonstrate the importance of pursuing research into tourism at World Heritage Sites with a broader purview than just looking at management issues. Tourists are not all the same, they are motivated by a huge range of factors and their experiences of World Heritage are inevitably also incredibly varied. By examining their motivations, practices and spatial performances, as well as putting that in the context of broader management strategies and philosophies, it is possible to formulate new understandings and new questions.


World Heritage and Tourism: The Challenges of Complexity and Change Mike Robinson Introduction The trajectories of national and international travel and tourism and increased concern for both cultural and natural heritage have long run in a kind of uncomfortable parallel catalysed by the technologies of print and physical and virtual mobilities. In denoting a building or monument as ‘heritage’ we are explicitly highlighting its value to a wider constituency and providing it with status and visibility. Not surprisingly, human curiosity is raised and the propensity to visit is increased when it is marked out as ‘heritage’ – the transformation of a site to a ‘sight’. Add to this another layer of symbolism that speaks of an ‘extra-specialness’- a global significance, a heightened importance, possessing a rarity value and being a product of a process of expert examination etc. – and then a heritage site or ‘world’ heritage site, would appear to increase its potential to attract tourists. With growth in the number of World Heritage Sites and continuing growth in international tourism the relationships between would at first appear to ever more entangled and in some cases, ever more strained. It is of course the case that some World Heritage Sites and their communities are placed under intense environmental and social pressures both from the sheer volume of tourists and just as importantly, from the development of infrastructure associated with the tourism sector. Attention is easily drawn to the likes of Venice which indeed suffers under an excess of visitor pressure. But of course there is no simple cause and effect relationship at work in Venice or anywhere else. Venice was experiencing significant visitor numbers before its inscription as World Heritage, existing as a popular destination for several centuries. While there may well a case for arguing that for some tourists and some tour operators, the attraction of the place is its UNESCO appellation, for the majority it is just Venice – a place, with its attendant beauties and myths that have long circulated in the global imagination. To put it another way, if we can conceive of removing the status of World Heritage it is highly likely that this would do little to dissuade its tourists; a majority that dearly love the place. Relationships between World Heritage Sites and tourism/tourists are complex, dynamic and nuanced. Some parts of some World Heritage Sites are more attractive or have greater meaning than other parts. Actual patterns of visitation reveal visitor ‘hot-spots’ – accentuated by tourism promotional literature and media visibility – but also ‘cold-spots’, at the margins or away from the more spectacular sites. Even in a place like Venice at the height of the tourist season, there remain quieter areas. Of course, guides and guide-books rely on the well-trodden narratives of a site, predicated as they are on its ‘must-see’ components. With open and largely free access, it is indeed difficult to avoid visiting a site that is defined by and valued for, its superlatives. Community discontent in the face of the negative social and environmental impacts is also more complicated as is sometimes portrayed in the literature. In the first instance communities within or adjacent to World Heritage are seldom static, homogenous entities. Some have learned to tolerate tourists, others in various measure, are hostile, while others still maybe quite unconcerned and far from being engaged with the very concept of World Heritage. Emotions and reactions ebb and flow as pressures and tensions rise and fall with the tourist season and over the years. At the same time and even with a dislike of tourists, many communities are dependent upon them and are invested in economies that are not easily dismantled. And of course, many sites and communities actively seek World Heritage status as a lever for tourism development as a sort of automatic gain that rarely follows without substantive resourcing and strategic planning. In essence, the complicated relations 5

shared between World Heritage and tourism demand that we fully contextualise locales and interrogate the wider history and sociology of a site so that we are not solely led by the power of the UNESCO inscription. The UNESCO World Heritage label retains its core function to protect sites. Designation does not promise or deliver resources outside of the state party, nor does it promise economic gain, nor necessarily, community cohesion. Nevertheless, it does possess striking symbolic power and political currency. How these attributes are utilised are largely in the hands of respective owners/managers of a site, which frequently is the State. This comes across in Anna Titova’s article and the case she draws upon of the Suomenlinna Fortress in Finland. Embedded in the wider strategies of marketing, communications and interpretation, are the responsibilities to communicate the significance of World Heritage Sites as well as the leverage that designation brings as a ‘brand’ to deliver sustainable forms of tourism that balances the experience of visitors, benefits to the local community and the protection of the heritage. There is an on-going shift in the dialectical relationships between how heritage is being ‘produced’ and ‘consumed’. The idea of an ‘authorised heritage discourse’ remains powerful and persuasive and despite significant changes in UNESCO’s strategy over recent years, is very much embodied in the World Heritage system. But what can certainly be observed is that tourists are very much engaged in a sort of co-production of sites through their acts of consumption. Official narratives of World Heritage, rooted in whatever notion of historical fact, are capable of being re-interpreted. Through tourist practice and performance, new scripts and new meanings of heritage are layered upon old. As Rawan Osman discusses in relation the Cordoba World Heritage Site, tourists are re-making meaning at sites where there are multiple and often contested narratives at work. Tourists do not encounter heritage sites as empty vessels but with their own values, expectations and plans. They absorb and deal with the intangible aspects of heritage as well as the tangible. This raises searching questions for many World Heritage Sites that have focused on standard narratives and interpretation of the material culture whilst by-passing the immaterial. The theme of World Heritage being re-cast and re-imagined by tourists is increasingly pervasive. The inevitability of tourism and tourists along with their increasingly diverse motivations and behaviours is something that all heritage sites have to deal with and manage, hopefully in sustainable ways. While recognising that the core Outstanding Universal Value of sites must be protected, finding new modalities to work with tourists and the tourism sector is not only a way of managing sites but also opens up new much needed income streams and opportunities to engage in the meaning of sites at a much deeper level. Ghislaine-van-der-Ploeg, in looking at the World Heritage Sites of Epidaurus in Greece, Syracuse in Sicily but also the deferred Site of Ostia in Italy, brings out the importance of using contemporary performances (plays and musical concerts) to draw attention to the importance of these ancient Roman-Greek theatres and to re-shape the use of space. New performances in old spaces are a way of engaging with new publics but in this case we can witness the active interpretation of the spaces in line with their original use. Heritage provides an important fabric for social life and tourism is very much a part of such social life. In the urban context the built environment surrounds all and through the processes of ‘heritagemaking’ some sites are accorded greater value than others. Of course urban heritage is important for marking identity and ‘sense of place’ at the community, local, regional and national levels. It is important for economic development (tourism) and in various formats of adaptive re-use finds itself absorbed within urban life. The initial premise of touristic encounters with heritage is visual and implicitly and explicitly aesthetics play their part in shaping tourist reactions toward buildings and 6

monuments. With the additional embellishment of World Heritage status, urban heritage, while gaining protection can result in a distancing effect with tourists and the community. Sites are reduced to the ‘look but don’t touch’ status that was and still is the marker of museum presentation. Fran Casey draws our attention to the embodied experience of heritage/World Heritage, that for some introduces worries about protection and for others opens up new possibilities for touristic/public engagement. In her articulation of ‘urban explorers’ she touches upon some important and largely under-researched questions relating to the extent to which some heritage is not preserved/conserved but can be allowed to decay, the ways in which we can still gain meaning from and accord value to such decaying sites and the accommodation of / access to embodied exploration of sites. Her case study of the ruins of Hashima in Japan as a potential playground for a group of urban explorers with a genuine desire to understand and access its value raises fascinating questions that can be examined further in the World Heritage context. Wherever there is heritage there is tourism and all debates and discussions are amplified when dealing with the category of World Heritage. For the researcher, it is important to stretch the canvas of debate so as to move away from the more pedestrian studies that just see tourism/tourist activity as having impact. This involves deeper interrogation that deals with World Heritage not as isolated and objectified sites and landscapes but rather as integrated into more complex, continuous and dynamic socio-cultural patterns, histories, geographies and economies.

Author Professor Mike Robinson is the Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham, a major inter-disciplinary research and graduate Institute working with the World Heritage Site and associated museums of Ironbridge


Implications of World Heritage Site Status for tourism development Anna Titova Introduction With an increasing number of people traveling domestically or abroad, tourism management represents an integral part of most World Heritage Sites. If used proactively, tourism can contribute to the local economic development and deliver numerous socio-cultural benefits, such as building pride resulting in enhanced appreciation of these precious resources. Within a competitive industry such as tourism, many believe that a powerful designation - such as UNESCO’s World Heritage – can be a trigger for many positive impacts on the site’s image and visitation. A World Heritage Site’s acknowledged significance can resonate with people which may result in a competitive advantage for the site. Research has shown designation to be much more complex than thought. Among worldwide recognition and additional funding for conservation, tourism represents a signification motivation for the nomination. Some consider that achieving a World Heritage designation results in growth in visitor numbers, while in reality existing factors such as site’s nature, pre-WHS tourist profile, governance, infrastructure and most importantly, an incentive of local populations to proactively use the status to contribute to socio-economic objectives are the real drivers (RC and TBR, 2009). Several researchers believe that increasing number of World Heritage sites has produced a growing ‘World Heritage Literacy’ or awareness among the general public; this awareness can be used for tourism development purposes. Several research questions will be analysed, such as: what are the implications of World Heritage Status for tourism development, what role does ‘World Heritage Literacy’ play in this regard, and why is it essential to communicate World Heritage values in order to enhance tourist experience of the site and raise awareness of heritage preservation importance. This paper might help site managers to better develop their tourism strategies by relying on the UNESCO designation to obtain a variety of opportunities for the site and local communities. In order to answer the research questions stated above, a thorough literature review was conducted, as well as a field research at Suomenlinna, Finland to analyse how the WH status is communicated onsite and outside of it. Results of the research show that ‘World Heritage literate’ visitors exist; however, without an efficient site communication scheme, any significant long-term benefits for the site’s tourism will hardly be achieved. World Heritage and Tourism According to international research conducted by Rebanks Consulting and Trend Business, World Heritage is underutilized for socio-economic purposes, however, if skilfully used the designation can result in significant socio-economic benefits (RC and TBR, 2009). There are also data proving that a higher understanding and appreciation of World Heritage values might stimulate visitors to look for UNESCO-designated sites while planning a trip. Some tour operators offer packaged tours combining several World Heritage sites and argue that such an itinerary is an extremely attractive holiday. There is a common confidence that after the inscription on the World Heritage List along with public attention, the visitation on the site will rise dramatically; however, a newly-designated site might expect a negligible impact on visitation numbers which equals to 0-3% (PricewaterhouseCoopers LL, 2007). It is also believed that the World Heritage brand is well-known and might immediately stimulate a decision to visit a site. It appears this is far from truth. As mentioned above, the impact 8

of the WHS status is strongly affected by the pre-WHS socio-economic profile of the property, including the existing tourism brand profile and other factors, such as motives of State Parties for listing and, most importantly, post-inscription management and actions. After contact with several site managers and a literature review, it can be concluded that it was not completely accurate to quantify the effect of the designation to certain numbers since better infrastructure establishment or events taking place at the site might also have a significant effect on the visitation. In that sense, the regression analysis undertaken by VanBlarcom and Kayahan (2011) isolates the effect of WHS designation from other factors that could affect visitation using the Canadian Old Town of Lunenburg, in Nova Scotia, as a supporting case study. According to the researchers, the Old Town of Lunenburg achieved 6.2% growth per annum in visitation rates (which is obviously higher than estimated 0-3%) as a consequence of two factors – 1) it was the first site nominated in the province of Nova Scotia, and 2) it had a low global profile before being inscribed but high economic motivation towards tourism reinforcement (Van der Aa, 2005). Another example proving the argument is the Town of Bamberg, Germany, that Rebanks Consulting and Trends Business Research referred to several times as a successful practice in terms of achieving positive results for its tourism after the inscription. However, according to Patricia Alberth, the Head of Zentrum Welterbe Bamberg (email comm, 19.08.2015), with some strategic effort, WHS status can contribute to increased visitation leading to higher consumption, museum visits etc. and the Town of Bamberg did experience arrivals raise since its inscription. The site’s success was highly reinforced by the construction of a new highway and a better train connection, as well as the State Garden Show, which took place in 2012 and attracted thousands of guests to the city. Apart from improved accessibility or introduction of new services and attractions, general tourism trends play a role in higher numbers of visitors. Undoubtedly, WHS designation can be a great asset depending on the goals and motivations of specific site managers. Identified below are some ways to use the UNESCO designation to develop tourism:

Fig 1: Potential effect of WHS status on tourism (after PwC, 2007; RC and TBR, 2009; Leask, Fyall, 2006; King, Halpenny, 2014; with additions compiled through communication with site managers and fieldwork) 9

As previously mentioned, some tour operators actively offer tours only to World Heritage Sites or simply the ones including several of them. They perceive the designation as a unique selling point for their businesses and highlight the designation as an outstanding quality experience. In 2004, Ralf Buckley undertook an analysis on WH tourism, and his research provided some helpful results. He agrees that the WHS designation might be used by the tour operators in their advertising and can affect the tourist numbers. However, there is a lack of data proving or disproving that argument. He also notices that ‘World Heritage designation is not intended as a tourism marketing device, but it may work that way’ (Buckley, 2004). Another study conducted among tourism businesses operating near WHS at the Tongariro National Park in New Zealand demonstrated that 48.4% of the respondents believed that the WHS status was crucial in attracting visitors (Hall and Piggin, 2003). Moreover, WHS designation may reinforce a sense of pride for local communities which respect and value their heritage, and at the same time might be a catalyst for visitor profile change focusing on higher spending cultural tourists. Additionally, the status may provide an opportunity for a new image establishment. As pointed out by Arthur Pedersen (2002) ‘developing a site’s ‘tourism identity’ is an essential element of a promotional strategy’ and this identity strongly associates with the site. The designation embedded in the site’s identity in turn might serve as an additional value indicator and consequently provide a destination with a competitive edge in the market. Finally, designated sites can use their World Heritage status for a range of associated branded products. It does not mean though that there is a possibility to create a ‘World Heritage Coca-Cola’ since it is not allowed to make use of World Heritage Emblem for commercial purposes as it stated in the Operational Guidelines. Still, WH-branded products that can be beneficially used for the place promotion without contradiction to the UNESCO’s requirements are cultural heritage routes (established by sites’ stakeholders and by third parties only with the permission), craft products of the local community and printed and internet promotional materials. Finally, there are a number of tour operators that use WHS status as a unique selling point for their offers. Several examples are World Heritage Tours based in the US and organizing trips around WHS of all continents, Cosmos Tours (part of the UK based Globus family) with the World Heritage itineraries in Europe and Jet Tours operator that not only offers packages including WHS, but also was involved in a joint project with World Heritage Centre in 2006-2007 in order to promote preservation and awareness with the help of responsible tourism (UNESCO, 2006). However, it also needs to be mentioned that the tourists who pursue holidays with itineraries around World Heritage Sites are the ones who recognize and value the UNESCO brand, and thus the tour packages in turn demonstrates a very niche offer. Therefore, raising the WH brand awareness by organizing different initiatives like GoUnesco travel challenges along with efforts from site managers to communicate the brand and its value represent greater potential for the market in the future. ‘World Heritage Literacy’ The Rebanks Consulting and Trend Business Research work proved a valuable resource for research; it presents the first international research analyzing the use of WH designation for socio-economic purposes at all the World Heritage Sites inscribed by 2009 - it also introduced an interesting concept known as ‘World Heritage Literacy’. As defined by RC and TBR, it appears when ‘the designation starts to be part of the way that people think about places in their home region, and perhaps more importantly when they visit other places’, and is produced by increasing the number of World


Heritage Sites around the globe and results in higher awareness among the general public (RC and TBR, 2009). Cleere (2011) questions the necessity to include tens of properties per year on the World Heritage List since it can make the whole concept of World Heritage less exceptional and in the future there might be a need to minimize the amount of sites to pre-1990s level in order to allocate expertise and resources more thoroughly. However, RC and TBR still see a positive side of the annual addition of new sites since it affects World Heritage brand recognition even though they agree with Cleere that ‘the perception of devaluing the exclusiveness of the WHS brand over time through inscription of too many sites might still be expected’ (RC and TBR, 2009). Another interesting aspect was mentioned in a study of Maria-Gavaris Barbas and Sebastien Jacquot, later referred to by the RC and TBR –‘there is a fairly good correlation between the number of tourists by country and the number of (WHS) sites classified by country; there are more sites in a country, then there are more visitors from that country’ (ibid.). However, this idea should be critically elaborated, since there is no range of data available proving or disproving the argument. One of the recent examples that can disprove that people coming from countries with a high influx of World Heritage Sites understand the WH brand value is Alamo, USA where 100 people organized a protest when they found out about a plan of inscribing Alamo on the World Heritage List as they were concerned that by nominating a property the UN would direct the site and completely influence its management (Fechter, 2015). Before applying this concept to actual sites and basing their tourism strategies on it, the majority of sites should implement a profound communication and interpretation programme allowing visitors to understand what it means for a site to be designated and why this particular one is of Outstanding Universal Value. The World Heritage Information Kit (2008) states that ‘the overarching benefit of ratifying the World Heritage Convention is that of belonging to an international community of appreciation and concern for universally significant properties’, where the State Parties are the ones who ‘protect and cherish the world's natural and cultural heritage’ (UNESCO, 2015) and ‘ensure that World Heritage status is adequately marked and promoted on-site’ (UNESCO, 2016). In other words, by ratifying the 1972 Convention, State Parties take responsibility to properly communicate the World Heritage status both on the site and outside of it. Furthermore, the interpretation and communication framework narrated with the use of themes and messages, some of which highlight the designation, is a powerful tool not only to deliver an authentic experience for the visitor but also to establish an emotional connection between the visitor and the site, the community and the site, and the visitor and the community. The Fortress of Suomenlinna, a Finnish World Heritage Site does an excellent job of communicating World Heritage values, and, as a result, of reinforcing ‘World Heritage Literacy’.


Case Study: The Fortress of Suomenlinna, Finland Suomenlinna (Swedish name – Sveaborg) is a sea fortress located on islands close to the Finnish capital of Helsinki. A Swedish lieutenant colonel designed this low-profile bastion-type fortress with multifunctional buildings in 1748 (The Governing Body of Suomenlinna, 2012). The fortress’ identity was formed throughout several significant historical stages – Swedish, Russian and Finnish eras. This is one of the reasons why in 1991 the Fortress of Suomenlinna was inscribed on the World Heritage List under criterion (iv) as ‘an outstanding example of general fortification principles of the 17th and 18th centuries, notably the bastion system” that “also showcases individual characteristics’ (UNESCO, 2017).

From the middle of the 18th century to 1917 the fortress was involved in various ‘games of powers’ between Swedish and Russian forces, and only in 1918 when Finland gained independence from the Russian Empire did the fortress officially belong to the Finnish nation and receive its Finnish name Suomenlinna. It was also at this time when the fortress established its nationally symbolic profile. Today is it one of Finland’s most popular attractions with around one million annual visitors.

Fig. 2 Fortress of Suomenlinna (Source: Lentokuva Fig. 3 Ehrensvärd’s Tomb (Source: Vallas Oy ) Suomenlinnaofficial Like most relatively small sites, the Fortress of Suomenlinna did not experience a dramatic leap in visitor numbers immediately after its inscription in 1991. However, its tourism development was reinforced by a special event: the 250th anniversary of the sea fortress, when several new services were introduced. As a result Suomenlinna achieved high media coverage and almost a double growth in visitation (The Governing Body of Suomenlinna, 2015).

Since the idea of ‘World Heritage Literacy’ is grounded in the correlation between the amount of WHS in a given country and the World Heritage brand awareness of its residents, the case of Suomenlinna’s popularity should be measured based on its visitors from countries where ‘World Heritage Literacy’ is already well-established, countries such as Italy, Germany, France, China, or the US. Since there is no entrance fee at Suomenlinna, no precise data of international visitors by country/year could be found. The following figure was developed based on the survey results 12

determined by Erika Lempiäinen and Sanna Ruoho in 2014 in order to demonstrate an approximate ratio of international visitor distribution:



4% Finland




5% 5%

Germany Russia France


UK 11%



Australia Japan


Fig. 4 Distribution of visitors to Suomenlinna in 2014 The Fortress of Suomenlinna is a popular recreational area of Helsinki and a significant destination for the domestic tourism market, therefore the majority of visitors were either from Helsinki or other parts of Finland. The bulk of visitors from countries like the USA, Germany or Russia might be considered ‘World Heritage literate’ and as a result there is a reason to believe some tourists actually visited the fortress due to its UNESCO status and that in turn proves success of Suomenlinna’s tourism communication plan.

Suomenlinna’s Interpretation and Communication Framework It is stressed in the Sustainable Tourism Strategy of the Fortress of Suomenlinna that interpretation and communication programme represents an essential part of the tourism development strategy. The site’s value is transmitted using the following communication messages and objectives determined by Suomenlinna’s stakeholders:




Suomenlinna represents our shared heritage

Suomenlinna is an important part of Finnish history

Suomenlinna is a district of Helsinki that is full of life and a home and place of work to hundreds of people

  

To present Suomenlinna above all as a historic sea fortress and a World Heritage Site To change Suomenlinna’s image from “a nice place for a picnic” to a highly valued historic destination To present Suomenlinna as a year-round destination that is worth visiting in any season To share information on Suomenlinna’s services and events To present the restoration and maintenance of the fortress

Table 1. Suomenlinna’s interpretation messages and objectives (The Governing Body of Suomenlinna, 2015)

It can be noticed that there is direct reference to the most important elements: heritage, history, preservation and community. At Suomenlinna and outside these messages are communicated with the use of different tools and channels. On-site communication is supported not simply by the presence of WH logo but also by explaining the role of UNESCO and reasons for inscription on the World Heritage List. In this way visitors who were not even aware of the World Heritage Status of the Fortress of Suomenlinna or simply of UNESCO itself before coming to the site will at least obtain a general understanding of the site’s significance and the role of UNESCO in preserving its heritage.

Fig 5. World Heritage Emblem displayed at Fig. 6 Reason for inscription and role of UNESCO in 3 languages – Swedish, Danish and English Suomenlinna (Source: Anna Titova) (Source: Anna Titova)


An essential role in the communication process is given to tour guides at the site - not only do they introduce Suomenlinna in a memorable and interactive way supported by the use of a mascot, but they also explain why the fortress was inscribed on the World Heritage List, the idea behind the list, how irreplaceable local communities for Suomelinna are, and finally, encourage positive visitor behavior. Tour guides at Suomenlinna are seen as essential mediators of the visitor experience.

Fig. 7 Guide at Suomenlinna is holding the site’s mascot – a gnome – that is also displayed on Suomenlinna’s social media platforms (Source:

Since the Internet and social media platforms play a significant role in people’s lives, it is essential for a site to be have an online presence, and to have a user-friendly and informative web-site. Suomenlinna’s web-site delivers the most important information for the visitors; the homepage mentions the WHS status and the website even has a specific section dedicated to World Heritage Convention, the List, as well as offers an opportunity to download site’s Management Plan and Sustainable Tourism Strategy. Through the social media channels the site managers engage with visitors as well as share information about events at the site and volunteering opportunities to preserve the natural landscape of Suomenlinna.

Fig.8. Suomenlinna’s official web-site, available in 9 languages, and the site’s Facebook page


Through other media mechanisms the Governing Body of Suomenlinna provides detailed information about the site emphasizing its UNESCO status (e.g. brochures), guides visitors towards experiences and mitigates impacts by restricting access to certain areas (signage on site) and communicates all its key messages onsite and in the museum. According to Tripadvisor, the Fortress of Suomenlinna is the number one attraction to visit in Helsinki with many reviews referring to the site’s World Heritage status, interesting history throughout three historic eras, and outstanding military architecture. Moreover, Suomenlinna’s Tourism Consultants reply to most of the comments, which creates a positive experience for tourists and impacts their decision to come again, or to recommend a visit to their friends and family.

Fig.9 Tripadvisor reviews

All methods mentioned in this section reinforce the connection between the site and visitors, helping to make their experience memorable. Even if they visit the fortress without knowing anything about its UNESCO status, the efficient on- and off-site communication helps to make visitors better informed about the fortress. Conclusion In summary, ‘WHS status is what you make of it’ (RC and TBR 2009) and it does not automatically guarantee any significant economic impact. Precisely speaking, it does not directly affect tourism development without requiring any additional effort. Many research works state that the World Heritage status can be an incentive for more effective development in numerous areas, however its impact on tourism is limited and might be achieved only with considerable effort involved – success very much depends on the actions conducted at the local level. Furthermore, taking into account the highly competitive nature of the tourism industry along with changing expectations of its customers (visitors), it can be a challenge for destinations alone to attract visitors. If skillfully used, a destination supported by the significance of its World Heritage status resonating in minds of people World Heritage brand would be “resistant” to possible competiveness primary attraction.


Organizations working in the tourism industry strive for certifications and awards highlighting their efforts towards sustainability. In some cases, this distinction might include a World Heritage designation - which presents a mechanism to advance more sustainable forms of tourism (King and Halpenny, 2014). As already mentioned, WH brand awareness is still constantly questioned as well as the ways to use the status for tourism development purposes. A communication framework plays a crucial role in transmitting the meaning and significance of the World Heritage designation and further elaboration of the so-called ‘World Heritage Literacy’ concept that is not a stand-alone factor. Additionally, the last visitor survey at Suomenlinna (2014) had the biggest group of respondents from Finland, USA, Germany, Russia, Italy and UK and 66% of all respondents were aware of the stie’s World Heritage status. This supports the argument that some degree of ‘World Heritage Literacy’ exists, and demonstrates successful communication and interpretation of the Fortress of Suomenlinna.

Bibliography Buckley, R. The Effects of World Heritage Listing on Tourism to Australian National Parks. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 12:1, 2004. DOI: 10.1080/09669580408667225, pp. 70-84. Cleere, H. The impact of World Heritage listing. In: Heritage. Driver of Development. ICOMOS: Paris. 2011, p. 521. Fechter, J. More than 100 slated to protest World Heritage site designation at Alamo, led by GOP candidate. 2015 (online) Available at: (Accessed 27.12.2016). Hall, C.M., Piggin, R. World Heritage Sites: Managing the Brand. 2003.In: Fyall, A., Garrod, B., Leask, A. (eds.) Managing Visitor Attractions: New Directions. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 203219. King, Lisa M., Halpenny, Elizabeth A. (2014) Communicating the World Heritage brand: visitor awareness of UNESCO's World Heritage symbol and the implications for sites, stakeholders and sustainable management, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22:5, 768-786, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2013.864660 Leask, A., Fyall, A. Managing World Heritage Sites. Oxford: Elsevier Linacre House, 2006 Lempiäinen, E., Ruoho, S. Suomenlinna visitor survey 2014. Thesis. Degree Programme in Hospitality, Tourism and Experience Management, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. (online) Available at: (Accessed 01.11.15) (only available in Finnish). Pedersen, A. Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites: A Practical Manual for World Heritage Site Managers. In: World Heritage Manuals No. 1, 2002, Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre, p. 79. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The Costs and Benefits of World Heritage Site Status in the UK. PwC, 2007, p. 74. Rebanks Consulting Ltd and Trends Business Research Ltd. THE ECONOMIC GAIN: Research and Analysis of the Socio Economic Impact Potential of UNESCO World Heritage Site Status. Lake District World Heritage Project, 2009., p. 2 17

The Governing Body of Suomenlinna. AT FORT Self-Analysis Report Suomenlinna. 2012 [pdf] Available at: (Accessed 21.12.16). The Governing Body of Suomenlinna. A sustainable tourism strategy for Suomenlinna. 2015, p. 9. UNESCO. Jet Tours and World Heritage Centre Implement Safeguarding Project. 2006 (online) Available at: (Accessed 20.12.16). UNESCO. Fortress of Suomenlinna. 2015. (online) Available at: (Accessed 17.03.17). UNESCO World Heritage Centre. World Heritage Information Kit. Paris: UNESCO. 2008. p. 9. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. UNESCO: Paris. 2016 Van der Aa, B. Preserving the Heritage of Humanity?: Obtaining World Heritage Status and the Impacts of Listing. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 6:2, 2005, DOI: 10.1080/1743873X.2011.561858, p. 143-164.

Author Anna Titova has graduated from the World Heritage Studies Master Programme at the Brandenburg University of Technology and has participated in pro-bono tourism consulting projects in Finland and China. Anna currently works at Travindy – sustainable tourism insight. Elements of this paper were previously published in her Master Thesis: ‘”World Heritage Literacy” and its potential for the tourism development in the Baltic Sea Region, Case study: Suomenlinna, Finland’, which was submitted to the Brandenburg University of Technology in February, 2016.


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

Space is dynamic; it is lived in and is constantly changing and is also experienced differently by each individual. One of the factors by which space can be altered is through tourism, where a space can be created, abandoned or reimagined (Shaw and Williams, 2004: 242). One of the causes for this is increased mobility as people travel further and faster than before (Urry, 2007: 3-4). Tourism interacts with the characteristics of a space, shaping this while at the same time being formed by it (Shaw and Williams, 2004: 186). Each site has a unique identity and character which is formed both by local and tourist interaction with a place (Shaw and Williams, 2004: 186). There are numerous factors such as age, cultural background as well the frequency with which a site has been visited which can affect the movement of a tourist to and in a site (Dejbakhsh, Arrowsmith and Jackson, 2011: 93). However, while tourism can bring many benefits to a site, for example, increased publicity and revenues, it can also have a negative effect on the surroundings as well as on the site itself (see Popp, 2012). The aim of this article is to examine the effect of tourism on the ancient Graeco-Roman theatres of Epidaurus (UNESCO, n.d.a) in Greece, and Syracuse (UNESCO, n.d. b) and Ostia (UNESCO, n.d. c) in Italy. The first two sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List but the city of Ostia has received a deferred nomination. A recommendation was given to the site of Ostia that the appointment should be postponed until ‘the Italian authorities have formally adopted the safeguarding measures which the development of the archaeological park entails’ (UNESCO, 1987). While the theatres at Epidaurus and Syracuse are predominantly original, the theatre at Ostia was rebuilt in 1927 by order of the fascist leader Benito Mussolini (Ostia Antica, n.d.). Little of the ancient structure was extant and the modern theatre was almost completely reconstructed, bearing little resemblance to the ancient theatre (Fig. 1). It will be examined here how the performance of plays in these theatres can affect tourist flows to a site and how these places are protected against damage.

Fig. 1. The Theatre at Ostia (Source: Ghislaine van der Ploeg)


The theatre in Ostia is advertised as one of the main attractions of the site. It is located on the Decumanus Maximus, the main street of the city, both in antiquity and nowadays. After a tourist has bought an entrance ticket they are forced upon a route along the Decumanus until they walk past the theatre. The movement of visitors is guided and controlled to walk along this road, to the theatre, and from there to the restaurant, gift shop, and museum. While the tourist has come to visit the city of Ostia, they are guided towards the theatre. The other sites discussed here also place a great emphasis on their theatres yet the location of these sites has a different effect on tourist rhythms (Edensor, 2010). For the theatre at Syracuse, located apart from other archaeological sites, the tourist has to make a conscious decision to visit this place. The theatre at Epidaurus (Fig. 2) is located the sanctuary of Asclepius which is located some kilometres outside of the ancient city of Epidaurus. The theatre at Ostia is, then, remarkable in this study as it is located within the heart of the city. This has a great effect on the movement of tourists within the site. It has been argued how analysing the activities of tourists plays an important part in understanding the behaviour of people visiting a site (McKercher and Lau, 2008: 355). Analysing the effect that performances have on tourist movements to and within these sites is important for an understanding of how these places are experienced and also how they can be used to increase visitor numbers.

Fig. 2. The Theatre at Epidaurus (Source:, CC-BY-SA-3.0migrated ) These theatres are all marketed at the tourists as the main attractions of these sites. While the Ostian theatre is a modern reimagining of the ancient theatre, the one at Epidaurus has been singled out by UNESCO: The Theatre of Epidaurus is an architectural masterpiece designed by the architect from Argos, Polykleitos the Younger, and represents a unique artistic achievement through its admirable integration into the site as well as the perfection of its proportions and acoustics. The Theatre has been revived thanks to an annual festival held there since 1955 (UNESCO, n.d.a).


The theatre is privileged because of its excellent state of conservation and its architectural nature but also a festival is held here which attracts tourists and draws attention to the sanctuary of Asclepius at Epidaurus which it might not have garnered otherwise. The theatre is actively used to introduce visitors to the ancient context in which it was constructed which is significant due to the obligation for the values of World Heritage Sites to be communicated. The visitor can increase their knowledge of antiquity via another medium, namely the ancient Greek plays which are performed here and which serve to situate the theatre in the ancient Greek world in which it was constructed. This festival is connected with other performances, though of a more modern nature, which are held in Athens, creating an overarching national resonance and connecting these cities in modernity as well as in antiquity. While perhaps not directly obvious to the visitor, the theatrical performances here are used to demonstrate ascribed criteria as given in the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV). They also serve to draw people to this remote site and bring awareness to visitors of the other important aspects of the site, for example its pre-eminence among the healing sanctuaries of antiquity. The integrity of the theatre is also protected as a special management committee is appointed in order to ensure the good running of these events. This includes providing clear guidelines for the visitors which are aimed at both the enjoyment of the performance and the protection of the structure:

Please note that discarded food and drink - and especially chewing gum can damage this historical monument irreparably. As you leave, therefore, be sure to put all litter and rubbish in the waste baskets provided (Greek Festival, 2017).

Great care is taken to preserve the monument but also to emphasise that:

The long-term goal is to offer to the public a legible and understandable monumental complex that will reveal the operation of the Sanctuary during ancient times. Through constant care and gradual enhancement of all its monuments, the site will provide a natural, cultural and archaeological park with high level visitor services (UNESCO, 2015).

People are drawn to the site via the theatre, at which point their presence in and movement through the site is used to increase awareness as to how the site functioned in antiquity and why it was such an important sanctuary. Tourism here serves both to amuse and educate the people, while indirectly presenting the aspects of the site which contribute to its Outstanding Universal Value, as inscribed on the World Heritage List. Additionally the UNESCO conservation ideology is communicated to tourists as a moral issue.


Fig. 3. The Theatre at Syracuse (Source: Ghislaine van der Ploeg)

The performances at the theatre at Syracuse (Fig. 3) are utilised in a similar way. The UNESCO SOUV states that the site of the theatre and the necropolis at Pantalica offer an important testimony as to ancient Mediterranean culture and that ancient Syracuse ‘was directly linked to events, ideas and literary works of outstanding universal significance’ (UNESCO, n.d. b Here an annual festival has also been held since 1914 which runs from mid-May to the end of June. Three plays are performed at this time, which are chosen from the extant corpus of ancient Greek plays, and are directed and performed by specialists. (The Thinking Traveller, n.d. During the 2015 season the Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico, which organises the festival, put on plays from both Greek and Roman worlds, namely Aeschylus’ The Supplicants, Seneca’s Medea, and Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris. In 2016 Sophocles’ Electra, Euripides’ Alcestes, and Seneca’s Phaedra were performed, again showing a great diversity in place of origin as well as the time period in which they were written (INDA, 2015 For the modern tourist, Sicily is a part of Italy. However, in antiquity the name given by the Romans to Sicily and the coastal regions of Southern Italy, which included modern Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, and Campania, was Magna Graecia. This name was given to this region as a result of the large number of Greeks who had settled here. Thus, there was already a considerable overlap between Greek and Roman cultures in Sicily in antiquity, something which is also reflected in the temple architecture of the region. As such, the performance of both Greek and Roman plays at the theatre at Syracuse actually adds to the tourist’s understanding of the historical resonance and reality of this site. Indirectly, again, this echoes the second element of the SOUV in which the site is said to be ‘an exceptional testimony to the development of civilization over some three millennia’ (UNESCO, n.d.b). The theatre is used to perform ancient Graeco-Roman plays, and in doing so, is used to broaden people’s knowledge and understanding of antiquity. Tourists visit the site as it is one of the most impressive theatres from antiquity. They then seek to enhance their experience by also enjoying a play while visiting this place. For many people it will be the visual experience of the performance rather than the spoken word which is the more important as the plays are performed in Italian, without sub- or supra titles, making the language impenetrable for many viewers from 22

outside of Italy who have to rely on the visual language of the performance to guide their understanding of events. However, the use of smartphones and tablets allows for viewers to provide their own guide to the events performed as many outlines and texts of these plays are available online. At Syracuse the already present movement and flow of tourists is used to enlighten them on further aspects of the ancient world via these performances. At both Epidaurus and Syracuse great effort is taken to inform viewers about the rest of the site, more so than just the theatre, and also situate the theatre within the wider ancient Graeco-Roman world, via these plays and also promotional material which uses imagery from the rest of the sites. In Ostia, tourist movement is centred on the area around the Decumanus Maximus, leading to the theatre. A festival is also held here yet while the performances at Epidaurus and Syracuse are marketed at an international audience, the performances at Ostia only draw a local Italian crowd due to marketing issues. In fact, as tourism is highly connected with globalisation this would allow for a world-wide distribution of images and events (Shaw and Williams, 2004: 6). The marketing imagery from Ostia focuses almost exclusively on the theatre itself and not on the wider site. There is little connection with antiquity as the majority of these festival performances have a contemporary resonance rather than an ancient one. As the theatre itself is a reconstruction and the shows performed here have little classical resonance, the historical value and reality of the site will be hard to understand for the tourist. There are connections with the theatre at Syracuse though as Seneca’s Phaedra was performed in Ostia, this had first been performed in Syracuse and then moved to Ostia for a special performance during their festival. Ugo Ughi, an Italian violinist, was invited to perform, a newly choreographed ballet by an Italian-African choreographer Mvula Sungani was shown, and the Carmina Burana was staged. A remarkable performance was from ‘Pink Floyd Legend’ a Pink Floyd tribute band. Their presence here directly recalls Pink Floyd’s film ‘Live at Pompeii’, shot in 1971, where the band performed a set in the amphitheatre in Pompeii without any audience. This tribute band shows the global interconnectedness of these places in the modern mind as does the movement of the performance of Phaedra between theatres (Shaw and Williams, 2004: 5). Pink Floyd interspersed imagery of themselves performing with other images of the site in this film including buildings, roads, statues, and mosaics. They also connect the ancient with the modern and continuously refer to the volcanic eruption in AD 79 which enveloped the city via images of molten lava as well as hot springs and ashen rocks. This death imagery is especially visible during the song ‘Careful with that Axe Eugene’ where shots of flowing magma are connected to mosaics depicting skulls and also tragic theatre masks which have the appearance of shock and horror. Pompeii itself is also a World Heritage Site, though, unsurprisingly, this is not advertised in the Pink Floyd film as this was not their aim in creating this film. However, the work could provide an excellent paradigm of how Ostia could increase awareness of the site. The ancient harbour city was a remarkable fusion of cultures with people coming, working, and settling here from all across the Roman Empire (Meiggs, 1971: 214). As an ancient melting pot of cultures it would be appropriate to utilise a fusion of modern and ancient cultures in order to increase awareness of the site and also attract more visitors. ‘Live at Pompeii’ serves as a good example as to how this can be achieved. Modern bands and other performers could use the theatre at Ostia and perform shows which resonate with the site and increase historical awareness of Ostia. The presence of Pink Floyd Legend at the festival at Ostia recalls this important Pink Floyd film and not so much the actual city of Ostia. Tourist flows in Ostia are not increased by the presence of such an event as they are not marketed at outsiders. This is an issue with the site in general where too many tourists remain unaware of its existence and prefer to travel a far greater distance to Pompeii rather than to Ostia. The site of Ostia is far larger in size than Pompeii and offers many of the same amenities. However, for tourists 23

without any great knowledge of antiquity, Pompeii is the more familiar place and the one they choose to visit. Events such as this festival could do more to attract tourists and also affect their flows of movement through the city by highlighting remarkable aspects of Ostia, such as the many houses and blocks of flats which are present on site as well religious sites such as temples to the god Mithras; the focus in Ostia is on this theatre, built in 1927. While there are no conservation issues with this structure, the rest of Ostia itself needs better preservation and the rhythms of tourists in Ostia should be better studied, analysed, and altered in order for them to move through more of the city and increase their understanding (Edensor, 2010: 4). The promotional material seems to treat the theatre as if it were separate from the rest of the site whereas with Epidaurus and Syracuse these sites manage to combine PR, tourist movements, and the ancient site in order to promote the site as well as its historical context and increase the number of visitors as well as augmenting tourist movement around the site. The UNESCO values are, thereby, indirectly showcased to the tourist and affect their experience of these places. Being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List matters greatly for these sites, something which is reflected in the remarks of Giovanni Zannola, a Democratic Party candidate, who believes that Ostia should be included (Roma Today, 2016). While politically motivated, his statement clearly shows that there is a perceived increase in status for sites which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Conservation issues are cited and it is perhaps curious that the focus of so much promotional material related to Ostia is focused on the theatre. Other important theatre sites have been analysed here in order to show how they use modern festivals and performances to attract visitors, affect tourist movement on site, and draw attention to these monuments while not allowing these events to affect the conservation of the site. Ostia has taken the first steps in order to increase awareness of the site but a more national and international focus, as well as a wider appreciation for the rest of the site would improve visitor experiences. The festival could be used for to alter tourist movements in order to get people to move beyond the immediate area of the Decumaus Maximus and the theatre.

Bibliography Dejbakhsh, S., C. Arrowsmith and M. Jackson (2011). ‘Cultural Influence on Spatial Behaviour’ Tourism Geographies. 13.1, 91-111. Edensor, T. (2010). ‘Introduction: Thinking about Rhythm and Space’ in T. Edensor (ed.) Geographies of Rhythm: Nature, Place, Mobilities and Bodies. London: Routledge. 1-18. Greek Festival (2017). Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. [online] Available [Accessed 2 May 2017]


INDA (2015). Stagione 2016 Elettra di Sofocle, Alcesti di Euripide, Fedra di Seneca [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. McKercher, B. and G. Lau (2008). ‘Movement Patterns of Tourists within a Destination’ Tourism Geographies. 10.3, 355-374. Meiggs, R. (1973). Roman Ostia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Ostia Antica (no date). Il teatro romano. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. 24

Popp, M. (2012). ‘Positive and Negative Urban Tourist Crowding: Florence, Italy’ Tourism Geographies. 14.1, 50-72. Roma Today (2016). “Ostia Antica va insertia tra i beni UNESCO” [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. Shaw, G. and A. Williams (2004). Tourism and Tourist Space. London: Sage Publishing. The Thinking Traveller (no date) The Greek Theatre Festival in Siracusa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. UNESCO (1987). Eleventh Session of the World Heritage Committee, SC-87/CONF.005/4. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. UNESCO (2015). Thirty-Ninth Session of the World Heritage Committee, WHC-15/39.COM/8E.REV. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. UNESCO (no date, a). Sanctuary of Asklepios at [Accessed 2 May 2017].





UNESCO (no date, b). Nominations of Cultural Properties to the World Heritage List (Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica). [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 May 2017]. UNESCO (no date, c). Deferred Nominations. [Accessed 2 May 2017].




Urry, J. (2007). Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Author Ghislaine van der Ploeg is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cologne examining centreperiphery interactions and the diffusions of ancient religious cults in Eastern Europe. Previously she has worked at the University of Tampere in Finland researching the epigraphy of Ostia. She completed her PhD at the University of Warwick in 2016.


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

Communities across the world have gradually transformed tourism from time at the beach, sun and sand (Adams 2006), to spending time at World Heritage sites learning about their preservation. There is strong evidence from research that local guides and traditional leaders play a fundamental role in educating tourists about local cultures. Mass tourism regrettably causes a lot of environmental challenges; Ghulam Rabbany et al (2013) confirm the direct impacts of tourism on the environment which include things such as alteration of natural habits, noise and air pollution, loss of biological diversity, and littering. In Botswana, littering is considered one of the eye sore at the famous Okavango Delta. Littering has significantly impacted tourism development in the Okavango Delta and the entire industry in Botswana (Mbaiwa 2004). As tourism is heavily dependent on the quality of the environment, it is crucial for all stakeholders to protect the environment for it to continue being a sustainable economic resource. One of the major issues is the role of mass tourism in environmental protection and sustainable tourism. Is destruction in mass tourism avoidable? A possible answer is Smith’s (1956) market segmentation strategy of grouping tourists in a way that is of most manageable value. Market segmentation results in niche tourism as tourists are divided into smaller groups, according to their needs, behaviours and expectations (Adams 2006). Heritage tourism has observed a significant growth in recognition as a niche in Botswana. Thus, there are numerous efforts to protect World Heritage sites to ensure that the people of Botswana and tourists understand their value; that they are preserved so they do not lose their unique characteristics due to vandalism.

Moswete and Dube (2011) concur with above assertions that, even though Botswana is well known for the Okavango Delta, nature and wildlife, cultural heritage has experienced a rapid increase and development over the past years. This growth and development is defined by the increased local and international visitors to local cultural events such as Dithubaruba, Domboshoba, Khawa, Son of the Soil and Orange Letlhafula cultural festivals (Botswana Tourism Organisation 2012). The paradigm shift to diversify nature based tourism through cultural tourism is an initiative influenced by Botswana’s Tourism Mater Plan of 2000. The Master Plan listed cultural heritage as product development alternative for tourism product diversification. Previous research in Botswana has


indicated that cultural tourism is indeed a tool for diversification of livelihoods and tourism product. Research by Mbaiwa and Sakuze (2009) provide Gwihaba Caves and Xaixai community at the Okavango Delta as specific examples for cultural heritage tourism. Still in Botswana, research by Moswete and Dube (2011) authenticates the practice of cultural heritage tourism at The Tsodilo Hills which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The aim of this paper is to look at how the values of the heritage sites are conveyed to tourists and local people. Firstly, this paper will explain and contextualize key terms. Secondly, it will explore the ways in which the values of Botswana’s heritage sites are presented to tourists and how the people of Botswana are involved.

Heritage Tourism McNulty and Koff (2014) identified some tourism niches resulting from the shift from mass tourism, and include adventure tourism, religious tourism, ecotourism, sustainable tourism, and educational tourism among others. In general research, and in Botswana, cultural heritage tourism is one of the growing specialty markets in the industry today. Botswana Tourism Organisation (2012) describes the growth of cultural heritage, not only in terms of increasing cultural heritage events in Botswana but also with increased audience from within and outside the country. They give an example of the Domboshoba Cultural Festival which experiences increased audience especially from Botswana and Zimbabwe. Moswete and Dube (2011) also confirm the practice of cultural heritage tourism at Botswana’s Tsodilo Hills. Tsodilo Hill is a home to over 4500 rock art paintings, displaying the life of the old inhabitants of the area, and is respected for its religious significance as the residents use them for religious and ritual purposes (World Heritage Committee 2003). Other national cultural heritage sites in Botswana include Lekhubu Island Manyana rock paintings, the David Livingstone Memorial site, and Lepokole Hills.

Outstanding Universal Value Heritage sites demonstrate the common heritage of humanity, contributing to the conservation of globally important cultural and natural areas. The sites are extremely diverse and showcase universally outstanding biomes, ecosystems, as well as geological and evolutionary processes (Borges et al 2011). Being designated a World Heritage Site, these properties stand out from others, are different in their own right, and are unique in a special way. ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ is a term that was introduced by UNESCO when it laid down the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention in 1977 (UNESCO 2005). The Convention defined Outstanding Universal Value as cultural and/or natural significance, which is as exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations 27

of all humanity. From the standpoint of a resident of Botswana, heritage sites are cultural and religious places to perform rituals, traditional healing and ancestral worship, as well as places the community can freely benefit from, for example, the hunting and grazing land in the Okavango. Given the identification of Outstanding Universal Value by UNESCO, the question is, are these values universal? Do the people of Botswana hold the same view as UNESCO? In addition, are these values contextually and culturally relevant to Botswana? Heritage site values identified by UNESCO can be shown to somehow be linked to community values. For example, one of the outstanding qualities of the Tsodilo Hills is that it witnessed visits and settlement by successive human communities for many millennia (World Heritage Committee 2003) and the local community refers to these old inhabitants as ancestors, hence there is common ground. However, the challenge with a property being listed as a World Heritage site is that while UNESCO’s mandate is to protect and conserve these sites, the communities on the other hand are rather concerned with reaping financial benefits than conservation.

Tourist As indicated earlier, tourists are compelled by different needs to visit a destination. Obviously, defining a property as of Outstanding Universal Value puts it in a spotlight and gives tourists an impression that it is worth visiting. Adams (2006) suggests that a tourist is a person travelling outside their usual environment for more than a day and less than a year for leisure, business and other purposes other than remuneration. Additionally, heritage tourists travel for different reasons such as to get a feel of for foreign cultures; for learning and to gather experiences. Tourists come to Botswana for its wildlife and wilderness but end up consuming cultural products (Moswete and Monare 2015). On that note Lenao (2014) observed that tourism and heritage management have an awkward relationship because of their conflicting objectives. The author argues that while heritage management is premised on preservation of the heritage resources to bear pristine and unspoiled status for posterity, tourism, on the other hand, is concerned with producing financial benefits. However, even with the conflicting objectives, it is possible to harmonize the two through sustainable heritage tourism (Mbaiwa 2004). Botswana has established programmes, such as Community-Based Natural Resource Management, through which community-based cultural activities are carried out (Mbaiwa and Sakuze 2009). The programme ensures that the people of Botswana economically benefit from the environment while at the same time entertaining tourists and protecting the environment.


The significance of World Heritage to residents and tourists All heritage sites have a history linked to them; they stand out and are associated with unique tales. This history and folklore influences how locals interact with the sites, and how tourists recognize them. In general, and in Botswana from a resident’s point of view, cultural heritage does not only conserve the cultural values but also connects people to collective memories and induces them to appreciate where they come from. Heritage in that sense, bridges the gap between the current generation and their ancestors. With more than ten ethnic groups in Botswana, each have their culture linked to the heritage sites in their respective areas. For example, on the west of the Kalahari Desert, sites such as Tsodilo Hills is known to be a magical place, filled with history for uplifting and tranquil souls. It is a great attraction for tourists mainly because of its rock art, but for many people living around the area, the hills offer a place of healing and serene spirit (Campbell and Robbins 2010). Heritage sites also give a community a sense of identity. They are linked to a certain history, such as how and why the inhabitants occupied the given area of land, and in Botswana, some have common significance. For example, Lekhubu Island and Domboshaba Hills are national heritage monuments believed to have medicinal plants, spiritual importance, and are sites where rainmaking ceremonies are performed (Motswete and Dube 2011). People entering these places are warned to show respect and warned that failure to do so may attract bad luck (i.e., punishment from the ancestors). This explains not only the value of heritage sites but also how important it is that residents are made part of the heritage management process. In the traditions of the people of Botswana, it is believed that the ancestors only communicate with people with whom they have a connection. Therefore, residents understand the signs and warnings given to them by ancestors and can then interpret them to visitors to avoid punishment and danger.

Most importantly, locals know about the tales and history of heritage sites in their areas and can educate visitors. In Botswana, local people guide at heritage sites and operate in cultural villages. The aim is for heritage values to be passed on to visitors and for the residents to know even better about their own heritage. This is crucial in developing tourists’ and residents’ tolerance of World Heritage sites. The strategy used in Botswana to engage local residents as guides fosters the communities’ tolerance for heritage tourism which is influenced by a feeling of sense of ownership – feeling like they are part of the heritage. Secondly, they create visitors’ tolerance and acceptance of local cultures which is developed from knowledge and understanding. Tolerance from both sides is essential to developing sustainability at these heritage sites and for creating good memories for tourists. For example; Tourists learn and get a feel of Tswana culture by buying crafts and engaging


in cultural dances and village tours which is an economic benefit to the people of Botswana while at the same time preserving their culture (Mbaiwa and Sakuze 2009).

Although heritage tourism includes sites that have cultural significance to local communities, these may not be of interest to the typical tourist. Since World Heritage status accords heritage sites publicity and exposure, World Heritage sites attract international visitors for learning purposes. Sadiki (2012) notes that the success of a heritage site as a tourist destination can be attributed to the tourist drive to visit the site. Chen and Chen (2009) assert that this growth of tourists and tourism activities causes major concerns for practitioners and academics in heritage management because they must come up with sustainable heritage management approaches. Two important reasons why visitors were attracted to sites are education and recreation (Sadiki 2012). Mainly, visitors come to Botswana for its well-known wildlife and natural scenic beauty, especially the Okavango Delta but often end up engaging in cultural tourism, for example; through cultural village visits and tours. Tourists are also looking for authentic cultural experiences. This is consistent with assertions with Moswete and Monare (2015) who note that visitors generally want to experience things that are real. They agree that the people of Botswana educate tourists through dancing, craft production, food, and drinking which portray their past which often make tourists visit longer and worthwhile.

Communication practices for presentation of World Heritage values Government Policies and Strategies Across Sub-Saharan Africa and in Botswana, the government’s role in directing tourism policy is to ensure that tourism is a vehicle for transformation of the economy and the society of contemporary Africa, (Christie et al. 2013). A policy is a position, strategy, action or product adopted by government and arising from contests between different ideas, values and interests (Lawrence and Dredge 2007 in (Nyakunu and Rogerson 2014). Furthermore, Nyakunu and Rogerson (2014) concur that in most of sub-Saharan Africa, national tourism polices have emphasized the need for tourism to be a catalyst for earning foreign exchange and for community development, particularly through the activities of the private sector. In regard to Botswana, Moswete and Monare (2015) assert that the government has supported communities’ Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and community based projects through Community-Based Natural Resource Management programmer (CBNRM).

The importance of supporting local businesses is not only in deriving economic opportunities for people of Botswana. It is also crucial also in developing a good attitude towards tourism. Economic advantages from the environment give communities a sense of responsibility towards tourism areas 30

and therefore protect and preserve it. In addition, when the local community is engaged in cultural heritage tourism, it presents an opportunity for preserving traditional culture by educating and entertaining tourists. However, undesired impacts may arise when the local people tune their performances to tourists’ expectations leading to staged performances and eventually a loss of culture. Another issue that may arise is locals learning and copying cultures and practicing them at the expense of their own. Otherwise, SMEs that sell the cultural product are a good idea to entertain and educate tourists, to make their stay memorable and perhaps encourage them to stay longer. It also instills a sense of cultural pride in the people of Botswana. Clearly, this is a confirmation that players in the heritage circle working together can be a tool for balanced needs.

Although the Government of Botswana is interested in ensuring the local economically gains from the World Heritage sites and national monuments in their environment, there are times when it moved in directions opposite to what many local communities expected, through policies such as a high pricing strategy and national commercial hunting ban. Botswana’s tourism product is generally expensive because of the high cost, low volume policy which is aimed at sustainable tourism by controlling visitor numbers to heritage destinations. The policy adopted a high price for its heritage tourism products to attract only few visitors that are able to pay the amount necessary to sustain the business of heritage conservation. Nyakunu and Rogerson (2014) confirm that pricing a resource serves to underline the value and importance of the resource. Clearly then, the high set prices for Botswana’s tourism products communicate how treasured Botswana’s resources are and prompt visitors to contribute to its conservation. It is actually a marketing tool more so that tourists of today want to be associated with destinations that are concerned with their impact on the environment (Adams 2006). In comparison to Nepal and Bhutan, Botswana’s high price stratagem has been successfully implemented. Alamaniotis (2016) gives Nepal and Bhutan as classic examples of a failed tourism model. Nepal attracts low-budget tourists and backpackers who only patronize them because they cannot afford the high prices set by Bhutan (except for Indian tourists) for a similar tourism product. Inbound tourism in Bhutan has then uncontrollably increased therefore reflecting adversely on the environment and local cultures. Even though the actual services are normally high, for example; high-end camps and scenic flights over the Okavango Delta, locals in Botswana are expected to pay lower park fees compared to international travellers. This price variation ensures that while the country encourages domestic travel, it also limits numbers for conservation and preservation purposes. Another condemned example of a policy is the hunting ban that was criticised locally and internationally. This decision seeks to protect Botswana’s natural heritage, because nature 31

conservation is not just a challenge for today but challenge for generations to come. It also attracts sophisticated visitors who want to be associated with well-preserved environments. However, arguments against the hunting ban are that communities depend on hunting as a livelihood, especially the indigenous communities; this therefore jeopardizes their way of living. This is a threat to living heritage as argued by Sobrevila (2008) that dispossessing the indigenous their land or restricting their access to natural resources leads to loss of identity and threats to their cultural survival. Sobrevila (2008) believes that ancestral knowledge and traditional management systems accumulated through interaction with the environment for many years enables the indigenous people to interact well with the environment and conserve it which they have done for many years ago.

Storytelling It is crucial to use different approaches, including storytelling, to teach different communities about heritage values and the general significance of heritage sites for tourism and beyond. Consistent with many other African countries, including Botswana, storytelling still plays a pivotal role as an educational tool. Even today, storytelling is used for communicating the value of heritage sites to visitors in Africa and Botswana. Storytelling is the socio-cultural activity of interactive art using words and actions, for entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling values (Smith et al 2011). It is practiced in daily routines to pass family values, traditions and morals to the young ones. In ancient times, storytelling was mostly done verbally or through physical interaction. In the current millennium, storytelling also takes place in cyber space, which is referred to as digital storytelling. Digital storytelling allows preservation and storage of the valuable information independent of the existence of the original storyteller. For example, in case tellers are no longer living or have forgotten the stories. Botswana has adopted mostly the traditional form of storytelling at the local community level. Storytellers are hired to be local guides at these heritage sites and it is more than just narrating and describing the place. To give visitors a more valuable experience; activities which are linked to history; some dancing, crafting, poetry and are performed to tourists and these visitors are normally engaged so they can have the feel of it. The passion and zeal shown by residents augments the story telling activity and similarly demonstrates the respect and reverence these locals have on for their heritage sites. Even better, local communities are the ones that know about their values, their environment and cultures as they are passed from generation to generation (Sobrevila 2008). While it is good to have human interaction between locals and tourists at heritage destinations, the disadvantage to verbal storytelling is that the very same information cannot be revisited later. It is 32

therefore advantageous to document and record heritage stories for preservation purposes (Smith et al 2011) and this is a challenge for Botswana. Smith et al (2011) further argue that oral storytelling which is primary mechanism used in Africa may lead to loss of information when the chain of narration stops for some reason, thus there is an undying need for storing, documenting and recording this information. Botswana has not yet fully taken advantage of the digitalization of heritage. Kalusopa and Zulu (2009) pinpoint that the challenges that bear evidence to that include lack of awareness of the potential of digital preservation by national heritage institutions and lack of common standards on digital heritage preservation in Botswana. They further note that Botswana has a weak policy on digitization at the organizational and national level. In agreement, Mnjama (2010) noted that Botswana’s law is ‘silent’ on digital preservation and that results in a feeling of indifference when it comes to the responsibility of institutions to deposit their records to the Botswana National Archives and Records and Services.

Conclusion Botswana’s tourism is wildlife-based and the primary tourist attraction is the Okavango Delta which inscribed on the World Heritage List. Even with differing reasons for travel, today’s tourists are concerned with sustainability and want to visit destinations that are concerned with their impact on the environment. Botswana’s tourism policy caters for such travellers. The country is developing cultural heritage as a tourism diversification strategy, not just for new travelers but also for nature travelers to have something else to do while in Botswana. Heritage and tourism have conflicting objectives as one is about undisturbed authenticity while the other requires some level of creativity and comodification for money. Botswana has come up with policies that take into account the interests of both. The high-yield, low-volume tourism policy accounts for the fact that tourism is not entirely the cause of the destruction and deterioration at World Heritage Sites which, if used sustainably, can be a driver for conservation. Storytelling, which is the common African way of communicating values, has also played a significant role in teaching visitors about local cultures. It is in that regard that this paper suggests that storytelling is tailored in a way that interests’ visitors according to their preferences but at the same time defend the original significance of the heritage destination. Botswana invests time and energy on technology use in order to meet the international standards for preservation of heritage. This is not only beneficial for communicating heritage values to the world, but also an opportunity for preserving information that may not be accessible once lost.


Bibliography Adams, D. (2006). Management Accounting for the Hospitality and Leisure Industries: A strategic approach. 2nd edn. London: Thomson Learning. Alamaniotis, S. 2016. Impacts of controlled tourism policy: The Bhutan Case. Available at: (Accessed: 15 February 2017). Borges, A. N., Carbone, G., Bushell, R. and Jaeger,T. (2011) Sustainable tourism and natural world heritage. Available at: (Accessed: 10 October 2016). Botswana Tourism Organisation (2012) Botswana Tourism Organisation Annual Report For the Year Ended 31 March 2012. Available at: (Accessed: 10 March 2017). Campbell, A. And Robbins, L. (2010) Tsodilo Hill, Botswana. Available at: (Accessed: 23 October 2016). Chen, C and Chen, P. (2010) Resident Attitudes toward Heritage Tourism Development. Tourism Geographies. 12 (4), 525–545. Christie, I., Fernandes, E., Messerli, H., & Twining-Ward, L. (2013). Tourism in Africa: Harnessing Tourism for Growth and Improved Livelihoods. The World Bank, Washington DC. GhulamRabbany et al (2013) Environmental effects on tourism. American Journal of Environment, Energy and Power Research. 1 (7), 117 – 130. Kalikawe, M. (2001) Botswana: Integrating Biodiversity into the Tourism Sector. Available at: (Accessed: 15 February 2017). Kalusopa, T and Zulu, S. (2009) Digital heritage material preservation in Botswana: Problems and Prospects. Available at: (Accessed: 31

October 2016). Lenao, M. (2014) Bringing Heritage Management and Tourism in Botswana under the Spot Light: Notes from Lekhubu Island. Botswana Journal of Business. 7 (9), 30 – 42. Mbaiwa, J. (2004) The socio-cultural impacts of tourism development in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Available at: quence=1&isAllowed=y. (Accessed: 10 February 2017). 34

Mbaiwa, J. E. and Sakuze, L. K. (2009) Cultural Tourism and Livelihoods Diversification: The Case of Gcwiihaba Caves and Xaixai Village in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 7(1), 61–75. McNulty,















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Botswana. (Accessed 10 October 2016). Moswete, N. and Monare, M. Perspectives on Cultural Tourism: A Case Study of Bahurutshe Cultural Village for Tourism in Botswana. Nordic Journal of African Studies. 24(3&4), 279–300. Mnjama, N. (2010) Preservation and Management of Audiovisual Archives in Botswana. 20 (2), 139148. Nyakunu, E and Rogerson, C. M. (2014) Tourism Policy Analysis: the case of post independence Namibia. African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure. 3 (1), 1 – 1 3. Sadiki, F. A. (2012) Sustainable Tourism Marketing Strategies at UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2016). Smith et al (2011) Towards Preserving Indigenous Oral Stories Using Tangible Objects. Available at: (Accessed: 28 February 2017). Sobrevilla, C. (2008). The Role of Indigenous Peoples in Biodiversity Conservation: The Natural but Often Forgotten Partners. The World Bank, Washington, DC. UNESCO (2005). Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Available at: (Accessed: 31 October 2016). World Heritage Committee (2003) Properties Inscribed on the World Heritage List. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2016).


Author Tshepang Rose Tlatlane is a Rates Administrator at Safari Destinations. A Tourism Degree holder, she joined Safari Destinations as a receptionist immediately after her studies and quickly rode the ladder up to her current role. She was part of the African Youth Heritage Forum in 2016 and got her first article on World Heritage Education published by Furnace Journal the very same year. Over and above her role at Safari Destinations, Tshepang writes for company’s newsletter. Her current academic interests lie on environment sustainability, heritage and tourism. Miss Tshepang sits on the orphan care committee at her church. She counts her mother, brother and academic and professional mentor as her pillars of strength.


Tourism without borders: Towards World Heritage Sites for all Rawan K. Osman Introduction Tourism activities and economic benefits are often the reason why national governments claim heritage and seek to earn international legitimacy through inscribing historic sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It has been asserted that nationalist agenda is complete with the existence of World Heritage sites (Pyburn, 2007). In this context, the World Heritage Convention is used by particular groups to legitimize their ownership of historic sites allowing the dictation of policies regarding access to and utilization of the site (Monteiro, 2011). This restricts the meanings and values attached to World Heritage Sites to a specific geographic location or a specific group, simultaneously allowing biased interpretations of heritage. Moreover, it contradicts the universality of the World Heritage Convention stating that ’World Heritage Sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located’ (UNESCO, n.d.). Evidence from the past, whether tangible or intangible, geography and tourism, and the relationships formed between them, forms the focus of this study. The integration of heritage studies, cultural and economic geography allow us to comprehend that space is connected with how the past is remembered and represented in different forms, and allow us to investigate the implications which these have for the present for and the idea of ownership (Graham, Ashworth and Tunbridge, 2000). This relationship leads us to think of historic sites as more than objects of attraction, but as responsive bodies to the daily dialogues and conversations between tourists and spaces. Considering the possible impact of biased heritage interpretation on contested sites and tourists, this paper attempts to answer several questions. How can tourism, as an act of exploration, contribute to redefining contested sites? What is the role of tourism in communicating intangible cultural values at historic sites? This is carried out through reviewing relevant texts and investigating the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba as a case study. When discussing the relationship between tourism and historic sites the main focus should not be on the economic value of historic sites. However, the role of tourism in World Heritage Sites must be further investigated. The connection between World Heritage Sites and tourists can be understood through revealing the relationship between the past and existing intangible values in historic sites such as religious values, language and self-representation. Tourism and World Heritage Sites The importance of utilizing culture and tourism was addressed in 2015 by Taled Rifai, the SecretaryGeneral to the UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Cambodia. He discussed that beyond creating employment opportunities and growth, the utilization of tourism and 37

culture can lead to the development of local communities by exposing people to different backgrounds, religions and lifestyles (World Tourism Organization, 2016a). The positive impact of heritage on tourism is no less significant than that of tourists on heritage, each revive the other. This relationship is highlighted in the Report on the International Conference on Cultural Tourism in Cambodia, from December 2000, arguing that: ‘Culture and tourism have a symbiotic relationship. Arts and crafts, dances, rituals, and legends which are at risk of being forgotten by the younger generation may be revitalized when tourists show a keen interest in them. Monuments and cultural relics may be preserved by using funds generated by tourism. In fact, those monuments and relics which have been abandoned suffer decay from lack of visits’ (World Tourism Organization, 2001: p.25). World Heritage Sites encourage people to travel, discover, and reconstruct their identity and imagination. World Heritage plays a significant role in creating the notion of tourism and supporting tourism activities (Arezki, Cherif and Piotrowski, 2009).Tourism plays a significant role in communicating historic values, changing how a site is perceived, and how intangible cultural values are represented in World Heritage Sites. When investigating heritage, geography, and tourism, and what is considered transferrable of heritage, it is essential to comprehend the relationship between the past and present, and changes to geographic boundaries through time. Tangible heritage is the physical representation of the past. It represents all significant events in the past, and contributes to the development of community identity and the cultural character of the present). Experts such as archaeologists and conservation specialists, who are promoters of the past, should transparently transfer the past to the local community and tourists to limit the struggle between disciplines. Di Giovine describes the process of ‘touristic production’ as being based on a set of relationships that order a diverse group (e.g. tourism service providers, site managers, local communities, religious institutions, etc.), often with conflicting interests and motives, to define and utilize a particular site or object of significance (Di Giovine, 2013). Heritage organizations and managers must understand the ways in which the interpretation of the past can influence present conservation techniques and the understanding of a historic site by tourists. In the same sense, the transmission and communication of both heritage and history must be considered. Heritage performs within constraints, while history, which is considered the recovery of the past outside of any constrains of audience or time, and its recording, takes a path in which its importance is determined by ‘its internal coherence and research quality guaranteed by peer assessment’ (Dann and Seaton, 2001). It is evident that both heritage and history are associated with a geographic location; a historic site, object, or a building has a geographic boundary that can be mapped, surveyed, and recorded (Smith, 2009). However, the history and narratives of a site can be considered flexible and can be 38

transferred by tourists across geographic boundaries. As a result, tangible heritage can be described as immovable, but intangible elements of it are transferable. Sites with contested identities, or with multiple associated religious values, are suitable for tackling tourism and identity issues. One of the aims of this paper is to create a link between tourists and World Heritage Sites, which requires investigating the definition of tourism and touristic activities in relation to World Heritage, intangible and cultural values. The individual is engaged in historic sites and spaces are felt with all senses. Tourists’ identity is often influenced in World Heritage Sites. Olsen defines travel as ‘an identity-building exercise’ (2012: p.359); this can imply acquiring a new identity and vision or modifying and altering existing values. According to Crouch, tourism is performed through a multidimensional, embodied encounter involving tourists, people and space, people as socialized subjects, and desire. The tourist site promotion and the tourist’s encounter with a place can cause identity (re)figuration (Crouch, 2005). In the same manner, the identity building or reconstruction exercise allows a new way of conceptualizing intangible cultural heritage, historic rituals and values in World Heritage Sites. For contested sites this can be regarded as an opportunity to consolidate historic and religious values which calls for the endeavors of decision makers. The managerial focus at similar sites should be on maintaining and enhancing the religious identity of tourists through fulfilling their religious, instrumental, or normative needs (Morinis, 1992). Religious intolerance at World Heritage Sites, specifically contested sites and sites with multiple religious identities, poses a threat to intangible cultural values and religious tourism. The Mezquita-Catedral (Mosque-Cathedral) of Córdoba, which is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984 (UNESCO World Heritage Centre). As one of the largest physical testaments to Islamic heritage, the mosque was constructed during the rule of Abd al-Rahman I. Under the rule of the Visigoths, both Christians and Muslims shared the site of the Basilica of San Vicente and later, after Muslims bought part of the site, a Mosque was built. In the 8 th century, Abd al-Rahman I acquired the entire site, demolished the basilica, and built the Mosque (Dodds, 1992). The site witnessed consecutive enlargements over three centuries, and in 1236, the Christian Cathedral was built (UNESCO World Heritage Centre). According to the site’s Outstanding Universal Values, the historic mosque of Córdoba has influenced Western Muslim art from the 8th century onwards. UNESCO describes the site as an ‘outstanding example of the religious architecture of Islam’ (ibid). Although the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba welcomes visitors from any religious background, only Christians are allowed to use the monument for worship (Hedgecoe, 2014). Efforts have been made to register the ownership of the structure under the local archbishopric, which has been suggested is a way to suppress the Islamic identity of the space. In 2010, the archbishop of Córdoba called for the word ‘mosque’ to be removed from tourist guides and references in order to avoid confusing 39

tourists (ibid). Effective means that hinder the present from affecting the past and heritage should be explored. In religious historic sites, pilgrimage and tourism can reflect the same meanings. Touristic activities such as voyages to religious sites, prayers, and contemplation symbolize pilgrimage. In this case pilgrimage is understood as ‘a subset of tourism’ (Di Giovine, 2013). Performing religious rituals or invoking intangible values in a historic site contributes to consolidating religious identity and group solidarity. Therefore, tourists’ activities should be encouraged in order to disseminate the message of universality of World Heritage Sites. In 2010 a group of Muslim tourists were fascinated by the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, and its intangible values. This group positioned themselves toward the mihrab (prayer niche, fig.1) of the mosque and started to perform Islamic prayers. They were immediately obstructed by the security guards, and they were forcibly removed by the police from the site (Monteiro, 2011). The different connections that occur between tourists and historic sites should be respected in order to safeguard the intangible values of a place and to allow the transmission of these values by tourists. Maintaining an atmosphere of worship for tourists who desire to connect with the divine through the intangible aspects of historic structures should be a focus of heritage managers (Shackley, 2001). I argue that in order to build a strong relationship between tourists and historic sites, visitors or pilgrims should be granted the right to choose the values they prefer to extract from historic sites.

Fig. 1: The Mihrab (prayer niche) of the Grand Mosque of Córdoba (image credit: Ingo Mehling [CC BY-SA 4.0] (Source:], via Wikimedia Commons) 40

An individual who is performing tourism is not only operating in a specific context made by others, but is also communicating, producing and participating in this context. A tourist reconfigures, existing context and meanings, ‘makes space in a process of space-ing’, and sometimes transforms historic landscapes materially (Crouch, 2005: p.28). For instance, transformation and reproduction occur when a visitor attempts to read and communicate an engraved script in a historic site to another individual or a group sharing the same background through translating it into a different language. Whether the engraving is directly translated or not, this act has an impact on the intangible heritage values of the space. Tourists’ self-representation also affects the historic and religious values of World Heritage Sites. These values and rituals are enhanced, for instance, in religious sites when tourists choose to follow a specific dress tradition that is associated with the devotional value of a place, or when religious rituals are performed by tourists. This active experience and authentic lifestyle is strongly connected with what is known as Creative Tourism (World Tourism Organization, 2005). It involves developing a set of creative skills through direct contact with the local community and its culture. Moreover, creative tourism implies ‘an emphasis on ‘living’ or ‘intangible’ culture rather than tangible cultural heritage’ (ibid: p.22). Conclusion To conclude, it is evident that through the performance of tourism, heritage values are rendered tangible, transferable and communicable. Tourists have the ability to communicate intangible cultural values through two methods: directly by getting vividly involved in the historic fabric through performing, producing, interpreting and translating cultural and religious intangible values in World Heritage Sites. This method impacts historic spaces and intangible cultural values directly. Hence, tourists communicate their own existing intangible values, religious rituals and needs in relevant World Heritage Sites. The second method of communication is through the mere existence of tourists in a World Heritage Sites (traditional tourism). Performing tourism traditions such as taking photographs, posting on social networks, communicating with local people, telling stories, and wandering around a historic site communicate intangible cultural values. Understanding tourism as an interactive activity and process is crucial to comprehending its impact on historic sites. This activity should not be restricted by boundaries, religious beliefs or people. When the definition of tourism is linked to the activities of tourists in historic spaces, an idea of how heritage values, both tangible and intangible, are explored, understood, and transmitted is developed. The connections between tourists and World Heritage Sites contribute to redefining contested sites. Allowing tourists to perform tourism without external interventions, for example in the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, is significant to the historic fabric and intangible values of the site. Historic site managers and relevant authorities are advised to encourage different tourist related exchange practices such 41

as creative tourism. As tourism is performed without territorial, religious, or cultural restrictions, it can be utilized as a tool for unity and tolerance at contested historic sites, and between countries where World Heritage Sites are situated.

Bibliography Arezki R., Cherif R., Piotrowski J. (2009), ‘Tourism specialization and economic development: Evidence from the UNESCO World Heritage List’, IMF working papers, IMF, Washington, DC. Ashworth, G. and Larkham, P. (1994). Building a New Heritage: Tourism, Culture and Identity in the New Europe. 1st ed. London: Routledge. Bond, N., Packer, J. and Ballantyne, R. (2014). Exploring Visitor Experiences, Activities and Benefits at Three Religious Tourism Sites. International Journal of Tourism Research, 17(5), pp.471-481. Crouch, D. (2005). Flirting with space: tourism geographies as sensuous/expressive practice. In: C. Cartier and A. A.Lew, ed., Seduction of Place: Geographical perspective on globalization and touristed landscapes, 1st ed. New York: Routledge. Dann, G. and Seaton, A. (2001). Slavery, Contested Heritage and Thanatourism. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 2(3-4), pp.1-29. Di Giovine, M. (2013). Apologia Pro Turismo: Breaking Inter and Intra-Disciplinary Boundaries in the Anthropological Study of Tourism and Pilgrimage. Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 63-94. Dodds, J. (1992). al-Andalus. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Graham, B., Ashworth, G. and Tunbridge, J. (2000). A geography of heritage: Power, Culture and Economy. 1st ed. London: Arnold. Harrison, D. (2004). Introduction: Contested Narratives in the Domain of World Heritage. Current Issues in Tourism, 7(4-5), pp.281-290. Hauser-Schäublin, B. (2011). World Heritage Angkor and Beyond: Circumstances and Implications of UNESCO Listings in Cambodia. Göttingen Studies in Cultural Property, 2. Hedgecoe, G. (2014). Córdoba mosque the subject of bitter dispute over its ownership. [online] The Irish Times. Available at: [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017]. Herrero Romero, S. (2015). Félix Hernández y la Restauración de la Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba. Archivo Español de Arte, 88(349), pp.1-18. Levi, D. and Kocher, S. (2012). Perception of Sacredness at Heritage Religious Sites. Environment and Behavior, 45(7), pp.912-930. Monteiro, L. (2010). The Mezquita of Córdoba is Made of More than Bricks: Towards a Broader Definition of the “Heritage” Protected at UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Archaeologies, 7(2), pp.312328. Morinis, E. (1992). Sacred journeys. 1st ed. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.


Olsen, D. (2012). Negotiating identity at religious sites: a management perspective. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 7(4), pp.359-366. Pedersen, A. (2002). Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites: a Practical Manual for World Heritage Site Managers. 1st ed. UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Pyburn, K. (2007). Archaeology as Activism. In: H. Silverman and D. Ruggles, ed., Cultural Heritage and Human Rights, 1st ed. New York: Springer. Rasoolimanesh, S., Jaafar, M., Ahmad, A. and Barghi, R. (2016). Community participation in World Heritage Site conservation and tourism development. Tourism Management, 58, pp.142–153. Shackley, M. (2001). Managing sacred sites. 1st ed. London: Continuum. Silverman, H. and Ruggles, D. (2007). Cultural heritage and human rights. 1st ed. New York: Springer. Smith, L. 2009, Uses of heritage, Routledge, New York; London;. Stovel, H., Stanley-Price, N. and Killick, R. (2005). Conservation of living religious heritage. 1st ed. Rome: ICCROM. UNESCO (n.d.). About World Heritage. [online] Available at:, retrieved Dec. 16, 2016 [Accessed 16 Dec. 2016]. UNESCO (2017). Historic Centre of Cordoba. [online] Available at: [Accessed 02 Mar. 2017]. World Tourism Organization (2001). Cultural heritage and tourism development. A Report on the International Conference on Cultural Tourism, Siem Reap, Cambodia 11–13 December 2000, UNWTO, Madrid. World Tourism Organization (2005). Making Tourism More Sustainable, A guide for Policy Makers, UNWTO, Madrid. World Tourism Organization, (2016a). Tourism and Culture Partnership in Peru: Models for Collaboration between Tourism, Culture and Community. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). World Tourism Organization, (2016b). UNWTO Tourism Highlights. 1st ed.

Author Rawan K.Osman is a conservation architect in Ireland, and an independent researcher in the field of culture, urban and building conservation. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Building Conservation from University College Dublin, and is registered in the US Green Building Council as a LEED Green Associate. She is interested in researching historic buildings, urban settings, intangible and cultural values, and heritage.


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

Introduction The focus of this issue of furnace is World Heritage and Tourism. A ‘tourist’ has been defined as ‘a temporarily leisured person who voluntarily visits a place away from home for the purpose of experiencing a change’ (V. L. Smith, 1989: 1). This paper will adhere to this broad definition in some respects but will seek to problematize it by applying it to a peripheral and unconventional community of interest - Urban Explorers. In doing so, this paper will make an original contribution to World Heritage scholarship by reflecting on World Heritage discourse through the lens of alternative and fringe visitation approaches to ‘top level’ heritage. For the purposes of this discussion, Urban Explorers will be examined as a specific sub-group of ‘tourists’ who forge powerful unauthorised, embodied, and subcultural engagements with the World Heritage Sites they visit. One such case study explored in this paper is Hashima Island, in Japan. Often cited by the Urban Exploring community as a ‘holy grail’ destination, this site has witnessed powerful performative staging of urban explorer subcultural identity. The site’s future management as a World Heritage Site raises both potential opportunities and challenges in accommodating divergent interest groups at sites of international heritage importance.

Urban Exploring, Heritage and Tourism The term ‘Urban Exploration’ (also ‘UE’ or ‘urbex’) was coined in the 1990s. My own definition would be ‘the recreational practice of gaining entry into various abandoned or out-of-bounds areas/structures’, or ‘the infiltration of mostly urban ‘no-go’ areas as performed by individuals or small groups’. In practice this means everything from the infiltration of sewers or tunnels, to scaling the highest of skyscrapers, and every level in between - it has been stressed that practitioners are ‘exploring the neglected vertical dimensions of the city’ via its hidden access or ‘vanishing points’ (Barkham, 2012). Although termed ‘urban’, and indeed predominantly taking place in cities, ‘explores’ can also occur in isolated or rural settlements. The explorer Troy Paiva offers his own interpretation of UE as ‘the exploration of TOADS (Temporary, Obsolete, Abandoned, and Derelict Spaces)’ (Paiva et al., 2008: 9), and many academics have celebrated UE as an opportunity to observe ‘the phenomenology of urban flow’ (Macfarlane, 2013). In a striking heritage parallel, the pursuit of perceived authenticity is also paramount (Prescott, 2011). Although it may seem strange to label such practices ‘tourism’, Emma Fraser has described UE as ‘adventure tourism’, noting that ‘in their ambiguity as not-what-they-were, but not-yet-gone, ruins not only symbolise and signify, they offer an experience to the visitor which is seldom found elsewhere’ (2012: 149). Explorers often document what they find via blogs and photographs, disseminating these on usergenerated community websites such as Urban Explorer Resource and Crucially, true urban explorers are not vandals, they ‘venerate the places they visit…decry tagging (or any other form of graffiti), theft, or damage to property’ and sometimes display ‘an angry nostalgia- a near militant preservationism’ (Bennett, 2011: 426, 432). One celebrated explorer stated ‘ethics don’t disappear on the far side of the “do not enter” sign - if anything, they become more important’ (Ninjalicious, 2005: 21), whilst Deyo and Leibowitz characterise UE as ‘satisfying curiosity in a non44

malevolent way’ (2003: 141). Nonetheless, moral issues do surround the practice for many reasons: there is a ‘particular ethical murkiness’ (Garrett, 2013: 7) sometimes needed to gain site entry, alongside issues concerning (non)inclusivity as participants must necessarily be able-bodied, are often white as they are less likely to be profiled by authorities, and are sometimes described as exhibiting a male gaze. UE photographers also face accusations of fetishizing poverty and decline for their own gain, a process sometimes known as ‘Detroitism’/ ‘Detroitsploitation’, after the postindustrial city of Detroit in the USA, a city whose name has, regrettably, become a byword for decline (Leary, 2011). Scholars of UE, in a heritage context, acknowledge similarities with archaeological modes of enquiry and yet despair of ways to reconcile the practices. Sørensen has noted UE’s resonances with archaeology in its ‘inherent trespassing’ and ‘investigation into the remains of the past’ (2007: 89). Rowsdower laments how ‘UE is a legitimate, practical engagement with the past - that said, it would be unlikely for public archaeology to subsume UE without obliterating the practice’ (2011: 2). Sørensen celebrates the mockery that UE makes of heritage listing: UE ‘challenges both the normative, bourgeois attitude to what architecture represents, culture-historical notions of how ruins of the past are supposed to be organized and experienced, as well as canonized definitions and lists of cultural heritage sites’ (2007: 90). This stalemate between equally passionate yet diametrically opposed modes of heritage appreciation carries a strong application potential to Laurajane Smith’s Authorised Heritage Discourse theoretical framework (L. Smith, 2006). If heritage lists ‘are entirely self-referential and tend to recruit and recreate themselves in their own image’ (Smith and Waterton, 2012: 161), then ways of visiting these same sites seem also to be limited and replicated in the same image of ‘authorised’ visitation.

Embodiment, Phenomenology and Performativity In the context of World Heritage, some commentators understand the very prospect of a list of ‘sites’ as ‘an isotropic homogeneity, rather than a heterogeneous plenitude’ (Trigg, 2009: 96). I argue that one way to address this loss of specificity is by advocating for a renewed embodied focus on this ‘top-rung’ heritage at site-level. I contend that this can be inspired by examination of embodied, subcultural and often unauthorised practices. One explorer, on climbing an ‘eight-foot statue of Lenin at an abandoned Soviet base’, realised that he ‘desired an embodied exchange with a Cold War history’ and that ‘the desire to inscribe yourself into the place becomes unbearable’ (Garrett, 2014: 61 & 51). Others also stress the embodied nature of the practice: UE ‘represents a remarkable hands-on approach to what may be termed a quasi-academic study of a primary phenomenological field of enquiry, namely the bodily encounter with the material world’ (Sørensen, 2007: 90). Other examples of unauthorised embodied subcultural engagements with heritage space include skateboarding, geocaching and parkour. Explorations often take place at the local level and participants frequently display a performative delight in embodying space. As Ninjalicious states, ‘exploring abandoned sites provide[s] the best and most interactive museum of industrial archaeology and local history you’ll ever find’ (2005: 88). Participants scout, enter, traverse, mount, photograph, document, disseminate, and discuss the legacy they encounter, in a manner at once different and the same as conventional heritage visitation/tourism. Garrett and Hawkins discuss a process of ‘edgework’, whereby 45

‘phenomenological experiences of high risk activities… [enact] a bodily doing that sees individuals and collectives approaching various (material and immaterial) edges and boundaries…the adrenaline rushes, the pumping endorphins, and the sore, cut and bleeding bodies…bring to the fore…energy and matter in a constant state of composition’ (2013: 7-8). Hawley believes that rather than condemn these activities for having the capacity to ‘violate and to transcend moral constraint’, we should note that deviance ‘may be a reaching for exquisite possibilities and can certainly represent something transcendent’ (2010: 233). UE has often been discussed as the heir of Psychogeography, particularly Guy Debord’s 20th century practice of exploratory ‘dérive’ or urban ‘drifts’/walks, as practiced by the flâneur/ ‘saunterer’ figure and members of the Situationist International, who ‘argue[d] that society consists largely of passive spectators and consumers of packaged experiences, and suggest that individuals shake up this state of affairs by engaging in creative play’ (Ninjalicious, 2005). For Situationists, the classification of ‘World Heritage’ visitation would almost certainly appear as a ‘packaged experience’. Certainly, for an undertaking ultimately concerned with bounded sites, World Heritage as identified in the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention (and as subsequently studied) pays surprisingly little attention to how these sites are physically or phenomenologically (Merleau-Ponty; Heidegger) experienced. Admittedly, UE constitutes an extreme example, as the practice is so embodied as to physically endanger the human form. Significantly, the UE motto is oft cited as ‘take only photos, leave only footprints’- the same maxim as the environmental organisation, the Sierra Club (Garrett, 2014). Yet to date there has been relatively little attention paid to these engagements and interactions with established UNESCO World Heritage Sites ‘from below’ (Robertson, 2012), perhaps because they often take deviant but not necessarily destructive forms (Hawley, 2010). These subcultural pursuits are currently viewed with suspicion at best, and often with prohibition and even prosecution. I wish to posit that they frequently exhibit a profound alternative engagement with heritage, and an admirable embodied/phenomenological approach to sites. This interactive approach too often tends to become overpowered elsewhere by international bureaucracy and in the act of high-level listing, which often results in an unfortunate ‘to be seen and not touched’ tone.

Urban Explorer Texts I feel it is apt to sample some attitudes of explorers themselves. Remarkably, there exist a handful of texts with elements that bear a striking resemblance to certain aspects of the World Heritage Convention, or even refer to World Heritage Sites or the UN:  ‘A Jinx mission [UE subgroup active in New York in the 1990s] has few rules, but keeping the site pristine is one of them. This is a city, not a nature preserve; it is nevertheless a living city and subject to erosion. Future explorers deserve to discover this place and perceive the unbroken links to its origin. What we miss, they might find’ (Deyo & Leibowitz, 2003: 22).  ‘We live in an unexpected golden age for dereliction… [I delight in] exploring those archaeologies so particular to our own point in history’ (Paiva & Manaugh, 2008: 7).  ‘The Forth Rail Bridge stretches 2500 metres across the Firth of Forth. It’s not a great distance to walk, but it is a great distance to traverse across steel beams while trespassing


on National Rail property, not to mention a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The plan was mental and everybody loved it’ (Garrett, 2014: 92).  ‘Although there is a strict Jinx policy against agents writing graffiti during expeditions, we take an archaeologist’s view of the elaborate pieces we hope to see today. The most impressive pieces are a key element of the urban landscape and worthy of our notice and study’ (Deyo & Leibowitz, 2003: 34).  ‘Since I swore no oath to uphold the sacred traditions of the Authorized, I feel no qualms about hereby authorizing all who read this article to access any area which they feel like accessing. Now you’re authorized’ (Ninjalicious, 1996-2005). The invocation here of respect, (un)authorization, living systems, urban heritage cities, future generations, preservation, rules, archaeology, study and (cultural) landscapes uses terminology also very often found in heritage discourse. However, this may be where the similarities end. Elsewhere, direct antagonism towards authority is displayed. Deyo and Leibowitz even mount a sustained attack on the philosophy of the U.N., via an anecdote of how they attempted to hang an unauthorised flag on the New York Headquarters building: The United Nations has amply proved the value of its utopian promise. Today’s peaceful, lawful, progressive world, where violence and poverty exist only in history books, is largely the result of the United Nation’s efforts. How many take the time to let them know how grateful they are? We couldn’t wait to let them know. So today we have come to hang the Jinx flag, right on their goddam front lawn (2003: 108) Although not specifically an attack on UNESCO or World Heritage, this demonstrates a pessimism and cynical scorn for an international ‘utopian promise’. There appears to be a suspicion of metanarratives and international organisations. The text later mounts a defence against perceived attacks on member states: ‘the U.N. seeks to establish international norms…it attempts to assert sovereignty over national governments and create a central authority over the world’ (2003: 118). Interestingly, this mirrors ‘from below’ exactly the same accusations that have been levelled against the U.N. ‘from above’ at the highest official and academic levels (Frey & Steiner, 2011).

Case Study Hashima is a tiny isle of 16 acres lying about 15 kilometres from the city of Nagasaki in southern Japan and forms part of the ‘Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution’ World Heritage Site. The Mitsubishi Company ran the island as a ‘kind of benevolent dictatorship’ in the form of a mine until the coal ran out in 1974, precipitating abandonment (Burke-Gaffney, 2002). The relatively prosperous island once held ‘the highest population density on earth’ with ‘an incredible 1,391 per hectare for the residential district’ (ibid). Hashima was inscribed on the World Heritage List for its remaining industrial mining qualities in 2015, 41 years after its abandonment, and is currently in an extreme state of decay. Tourism to the island in the form of cruise-and-land tours has increased greatly in recent years, partly as a result of a fictionalized version of the island starring in the 2012 Bond film, Skyfall (Hashimoto & Telfer, 2016: 114). However, unofficial illegal urban explorers continue to ‘sn[eak] across the waters on fishing boats to document their own fascination with the 47

place’ (Meredith, 2014). Hashima is a prime example of a site that urban explorers would urge us to ‘accept the loss of… [losing] abandoned places [is] a paradoxical way to preserve their authenticity’ (Arboleda 2016: 378).

Fig. 1: View of Hashima (Source:, Author: ajari CC BY 2.0.) Whether visitors to Hashima arrive officially or unofficially, there exists a fascinating and dangerous gap between the site’s statement of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ as justified to UNESCO, which regards tangible industrial ruins, and the way that the site is perceived more generally, as a transient, romantic, modern ruin. In terms of World Heritage, the island was inscribed solely for its industrial qualities, and yet the below draft of ‘significance’ was crafted mainly to ‘provide the foundation of what information is provided to tourists’ (Hashimoto & Telfer, 2016: 11). The tourists are attracted to the island for reasons mostly acknowledged as being based on ‘decay’: ‘the Value of Hashima Mine: “The Island that passes down the story from the birth of coalmining industry to decay” 1. Coal-mining heritage site where one can see the birth of the mine, closure of the mine and the process of decay. 2. Technology that deepened the under-water mining shafts which produced the best quality coal. 3. The mining island where extremely high population density living space, which has no rival in the world, meets industrial production sites. 4. Accumulation of historical fortified concrete buildings and their decaying conditions, which can contribute to scientific evidence.’ (Hashimoto & Telfer, 2016: 11, emphasis added) 48

I argue here that the World Heritage Site inscription is inappropriate as ‘although only the port and primary mining facilities on the island were inscribed on the World Heritage List, the city of Nagasaki believes the apartment buildings are key to the island’s appeal and plans to preserve them as well’ (Japan Times, 2015). As a result, Nagasaki City will have to emphasise that the concrete apartment buildings ‘have historical value for telling the true story of a lifestyle and environment in the pursuit of coal mining work in a harsh natural environment’ independently of the World Heritage narrative (Nagasaki City, 2015: 1707). Indeed this inattention to the ‘human story’ of World Heritage Sites and the preferential treatment of tangible evidence over lived experience is a strong criticism of the World Heritage Convention more generally. In this mismatch we witness the dangerous potential for stalemate or ‘a critical lapse between the inscription and management of the site’, as at Liverpool World Heritage Site (Rodwell, 2014: 303). When increased tourism (partly resultant from amplified media exposure) almost entirely at odds with the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value is added to the mix, the potential for this ‘critical lapse’ becomes even greater. Commentators note that after the recent introduction of tourism at Hashima ‘there are cases where tourists have ventured off regulated paths and posted videos to the Internet of themselves walking though the ruined landscape…other on-line videos have been made through the use of drones with cameras’ (Hashimoto & Telfer, 2016: 10). This has led ICOMOS to consider that ‘the main potential threats to the property are unregulated visitors…together with the lack of conservation’ (2015: 97). The desire to capture images and videos for dissemination on the web appears to be a main motivator for both official and unofficial visitors, and appears to have more to do with a search for entropic decay than a pursuit of outstanding industrial relics. In undertaking to incorporate Hashima into the UNESCO framework (probably one of the most deteriorated modern monuments it has ever ratified), the Nagasaki Government has committed itself to a difficult task. How can a site which ‘must remain rejected to hold meaning’ be conserved when ‘stabilization would affect [its] symbolism as discard[ed] from modernity’ (Rowsdower, 2011: 10)? How can we square a preservation effort with a site of tourism visitation in which ‘exploration is actually practiced in order to experience that which has already been destroyed or fallen into decay’ (Sørensen, 2007: 89)? I argue here that part of the site’s significance arises from the engagement of the UE community, and that insensitive conservation is likely to destroy this link. A radical compromise would be for the conservation discourse of UNESCO to expand to include the appreciation of entropic decay so valued by the UE community. As explored earlier, this has simultaneous stark similarities and differences with traditional heritage visitation ethics. The explorer Paiva cites wabi-sabi, a Japanese philosophy and aesthetics of transience that perceives beauty as ‘imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete’ (Koren, 2008: 7). It is clearly impractical to suggest that all the hundreds of buildings on Hashima be restored. Future interpretation could — perfectly appropriately — consider the island as a World Heritage level example of wabi-sabi beauty. Admirably, however, management of Hashima has taken into account this stalemate between preservation and entropy. Hashimoto & Telfer discuss the ‘treatment’ of the ruins as World Heritage: The Ministry of Culture has been consulting with Nagasaki City on the separation of zoning on Hashima into (1) preservation areas and (2) “exposure to elements for natural decay” areas. The Ministry has expressed concerns about the potential unexpected conservation challenges on Hashima, which the existing Heritage Protection Law had never previously encountered’ (2016: 10). 49

This acknowledgement of Hashima’s impasse is laudable. By contemplating allowing exposure to decay, the committee makes a pioneering step towards broadening out the styles of conservation pursued under the World Heritage Convention. This is beneficial as it is not merely ‘urban explorers [but also] other scholars who would like to observe the mutations of [heritage] through time’ (Garrett, 2010: 1458). It has also been suggested that ‘to accept the loss of abandoned places’ is ‘a paradoxical way to preserve their authenticity’, especially in the face of ‘touristification’ or commodification (Arboleda, 2016: 378). The unique status of Hashima’s modern ruins offers us an occasion to debate the role of preservation under the World Heritage Convention afresh. The decision to zone Hashima could cynically be read as a cost-saving exercise. However, I believe it is an acknowledgement that the traditional ‘World Heritage Gaze’ theorised as Smith’s Authorised Heritage Discourse is not the only option for a successful and authentic treatment of heritage, even (or especially) at the highest level. The Hashima site is small enough and in such an advanced state of decay that it appears to be one of the most opportune chances to pilot a different conservation/tourism approach that a site within the UNESCO framework will have. It remains until the end of 2017 to be seen whether this innovative approach will be allowed (Japan Times, 2015).

Conclusion This paper has examined the performative and embodied staging of subcultural identities at World Heritage Sites, and advocates for an increased capacity for embodied experience of them. It also warns against the dangerous ‘critical lapses’ first identified by Rodwell (2014) that can occur when tourism at WHSs is at odds with statements of Outstanding Universal Value. By examining the extreme subculture of UE, this paper analyses an embodied touristic practice that, in a striking parallel to the World Heritage system itself, also relies inherently on experience of place, and employs an international outlook and networking systems in order to fulfil a common goal. This paper’s focus was partly in reaction to the fact that much World Heritage visitation analysis focuses on intellectual engagements with sites, especially cultural sites, and appears to neglect consideration of embodied encounters. As Adie and Hall noted as late as 2016, ‘there has been little attention up until this point on those who specifically visit World Heritage Sites’ (2016: 12), let alone how they visit them. Given the fact, however, that World Heritage visitors have overwhelmingly been identified as ‘highly educated’ (ibid), it seems reasonable to assume that managers of World Heritage Sites are striving for purely intellectual engagements with their sites. Whilst this passionate promotion of intellectual stimulation is of course laudable, it could be seen as shutting down other ways of experiencing World Heritage Sites. This paper has attempted to combat this by employing the critical lens of phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty), which involves ‘paying careful attention to people’s actual practices…as part of their ‘being-in-the-world…as well as trying to convey how they feel about it’ (MacDonald 2013: 82). Dylan Trigg is of the opinion that what emerges from ‘a sense of embodiment and spatiality’ is ‘a tremendous faith in the power of place as a source of unity’ (2009: 90). In an increasingly virtual world, this powerful ‘faith in the power of place’ via visitation is surely a brilliant opportunity for tourism at World Heritage Sites to develop.


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Author Francesca Casey graduated in English Literature from the University of York in 2015, and in MA World Heritage Studies from the University of Birmingham in 2016. Her academic interests include 'alternative' engagements with heritage, such as those enacted through Geocaching or Urban Exploration.


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. Nikola Naumov, King’s College London, United Kingdom

UNESCO, Cultural Heritage and Outstanding Universal Value provides an in-depth analysis of the concepts of World Heritage (WH) and Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and, more specifically, the implementation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972) and the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). The book is a revision of Labadi’s PhD thesis and critically examines how these two Conventions have been used as instruments for representation, social cohesion, sustainable development and cultural diversity.

The book is a research monograph and provides an operational perspective of the WH apparatus primarily drawn from the author’s professional involvement with the World Heritage Centre but also from her work in association with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the Getty Conservation Institute. Labadi’s work has three major sections. First, she synthesises the historical evolution of the OUV and its interrelationships with cultural diversity, sustainable development and construction of a nation. Second, she critically analyses 114 nomination dossiers complied by States Parties for inclusion on the World Heritage List. These are classified into European religious sites (46 dossiers in 12 countries), non-European religious sites (30 dossiers in 5 countries) and industrial heritage sites (38 dossiers in 19 countries). The central point of Labadi’s research enquiry is how State Parties understand OUV and how their articulations of OUV inform their obligations to protect heritage sites. Third, she examines the nomination dossiers through the lenses of ‘reiterative universalism’. She argues that the nomination dossiers represent ambivalent and hybrid spaces, maintaining but also transgressing dominant European concepts and representations of heritage.

The book is thematically structured into seven chapters. Chapter 1 provides the theoretical framework of the book. It introduces the concept of ‘reiterative universalism’ as one that facilitates a common understanding of the World Heritage Convention but also leaves room for ample interpretations into different cultures. In a similar vein, the chapter argues that the notion of values 54

is not necessarily extrinsic but subject to multiple influences and interpretations. The chapter also conceptualises the nomination dossiers as ‘contact zones’ explaining that the narratives of OUV can be both copied by the State Parties but also completely transgressed.

Chapter 2 analyses the historical evolution of the concept of OUV. Based on extensive archival work, the chapter demonstrates how the official discourse has changed over time and discusses a number of contradictory decisions and recommendations. Labadi presents some very insightful findings that relate to the notion of intrinsic and extrinsic value. First, she argues that the conceptual definition of OUV is still ambiguous and explains how some texts (e.g Operational Guidelines) tend to focus more on intrinsic values while others refer to its extrinsic dimension. Second, Labadi argues that there is a difference between how the World Heritage Committee and the advisory bodies contextualise the notion of OUV in its broader social context. Both arguments deal with a relatively neglected field of research enquiry and suggest that more research is needed to focus on what values are actually embedded in each nomination.

Chapter 3 focuses on the instrumental role of OUV for nation-building purposes. In her analysis, Labadi stresses how State Parties put an emphasis on representation arguing how traditions, continuity and authenticity are employed as a means to demonstrate the power and stability of the nation. Chapter 4 is devoted to cultural diversity and inclusion and explores the representation of different cultural groups in the context of OUV. The author demonstrates the marginalisation of women and lower classes and argues that OUV is still a ‘male-dominated concept’ (p.78). Labadi argues that despite the recognition of women as a common priority target and the call for their empowerment to have a more important position in contemporary societies, women are still ‘invisible, secondary and forgettable’. In her analysis she justifies this standpoint by showing how many nomination dossiers have only a few references to women’s role in the history of the property while there are long descriptions of how men have played a role in the history and development of the nominated property. Another important argument of the chapter concerns the role of local residents who are often perceived as a potential threat to the conservation of heritage. As Labadi argues, despite the efforts of UNESCO to initiate representation and empowerment of local stakeholders during the nomination process, and later the management of the site, many case studies actually indicate a displacement and lack of involvement.


Chapter 5 is dedicated to the problematic relationship between sustainable tourism and UNESCO’s concept of World Heritage. The subtitle of the chapter, ‘Realistic Outcome or Wishful Thinking’, largely reveals Labadi’s critical standpoint which questions the extent to which sustainability and sustainable tourism practices can be applied within the context of World Heritage. The author argues that sustainability is not a major part of the nomination dossiers and is often ignored in favour of maximising the economic impacts of tourism. Chapter 6 analyses the idea of authenticity and explores how State Parties understand the concept within the context of OUV. Highlighting the critical importance of authenticity as a key criterion for the identification of the OUV, Labadi argues that the definition of authenticity has dramatically changed many times since the Nara Declaration (1994). A critical point in her analysis is the understanding that ‘authenticity is not inherent in objects but is an extrinsic process and concerns the negotiations of values between individuals’ (p.126). Using the case study of New Lanark, a restored industrial village in Scotland, Labadi demonstrates that authenticity is more inherent to wider historical, social and cultural contexts. More specifically, she refers to authenticity as a cultural construct and argues that values and meanings attached to the site are equally important as the tangible characteristics of the site itself such as design, use or function.

Chapter 7 is dedicated to the 2003 UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention. In this chapter, Labadi highlights the importance of this document and claims that it ‘constitutes a shift of focus in the very concept and management of World Heritage’ (p.127). In particular, the author analyses how the Convention addresses some of the most salient issues of the World Heritage Convention such as the overall inclusion of local communities or the Eurocentric and monumental bias that dominates across the World Heritage List. Despite the positive aspect of the Convention, Labadi questions its actual implementation and argues that the involvement of local communities still remains to be seen. Her critique concerns the overall community participation and highlights the fact that the Convention does not yet provide a meaningful framework to promote and encourage such participation. Finally, the Conclusion is a critical reflection based on the changes to the World Heritage Convention over the period of 40 years.

Overall, the book is well organised and well structured. Its key contribution is its theoretical and practical understanding of the World Heritage Convention and the analyses of the nomination dossiers. The book extensively addresses the concept of World Heritage and the practices of heritage management in general. Labadi’s analysis reveals the controversial debate about the 56

concept of World Heritage and more specifically, its interrelationship with wider political, economic and socio-cultural processes.

In conclusion, this is a useful book, which could be of interest to historians, anthropologists, and cultural geographers. I would also highly recommend it to anyone interested in cultural tourism and heritage management. The volume presents perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of the concept of World Heritage and certainly is the only one that adequately covers the operational perspective of World Heritage management.


COMMUNICATING WORLD HERITAGE Conference Saturday 7th October – Tuesday 10th October 2017 Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

The Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham in association with World Heritage UK will hold a special international meeting to discuss research and global policy, focusing on the communication of World Heritage values, from 7-8 October at the World Heritage Site of Ironbridge Gorge. The event will be immediately followed (9-10 October) by the third annual conference of World Heritage UK where practitioners will explore the many ways to communicate World Heritage to different audiences. This joint event will take place within the Ironbridge Gorge which, in 1986, became one of the first UK sites to be awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO. The designation of the Ironbridge Gorge as a World Heritage Site recognised the area’s unique contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the impact of which was felt across the world. The surviving built and natural environment with its museums, monuments and artefacts, serve to remind us of this area’s unique contribution to the history and development of industrialised society. Full programme to be announced. Tickets will go on sale in June. For more information, please visit our website:

furnace Journal Issue 6 (2016)  

World Heritage and Tourism

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