Unit 19 Heritage and Cultural Tourism Management

Tourism, surpassing all industries except Food and Beverage (F&B), plays a pivotal role globally in terms of employment, revenue, and participant numbers. This sector is arguably the most extensive human endeavor since our evolution. Travel, a constant in human history, has served various purposes: seasonal migration, foraging, settling in favorable areas, conquest, employment, migration, and specific quests. Yet, only journeys for leisure and pleasure or to acquire new experiences fall under the category of tourism. Presently, tourism is specifically regarded as travel for business, recreation, leisure, pleasure, exploration, or health for a set period. Leisure and recreational travel, in particular, includes diverse aspects such as recreation methods, entertainment factors, and experience locales. Within this context, Culture and Heritage Tourism emerge as distinct categories, entailing visits to and experiences of unique places, historical monuments, and heritage sites. Tourists engage in these travels to absorb the culture, way of life, and history of these areas (Haulot, 1981).

Task 2

2.1 Assess the purpose of heritage and cultural attractions in meeting the needs of different customers?

Heritage and cultural tourism, as previously discussed, addresses various facets of overall tourism, including allowing customers to experience the historical significance of monuments and sites, understand the cultural elements such as the lifestyle of the locals, engage with the experiential heritage of the attraction (e.g., literature), and immerse in modern cultural aspects like cuisine, music, arts, and theater. The Department of Culture, Media, and Sports under the Ministry of Tourism in the UK exemplifies this approach, promoting these elements as foundational to cultural and heritage tourism (Apostolakis, 2003). A comprehensive analysis of the ways in which heritage and cultural attractions meet the diverse needs of different customers is outlined below:

  1. Experiencing Local History: This involves understanding the history linked to a heritage tourist destination. Visitors typically seek knowledge about the site’s historical significance, artifacts associated with it, the local community’s lifestyle, historical living conditions, and practical applications of the site’s information.
  2. Experiencing the Culture: This aspect includes engaging with the culture of a particular tourist destination, such as its historical background, notable personalities, literature, and significant cultural features. It involves exploring information about the past and its relevance in the contemporary context.
  3. Reliving the Culture: This pertains to the current lifestyle of residents in significant tourist areas. Tourists often explore the local architecture, living conditions, daily activities, culinary practices, music, art, and current theatrical activities, tracing their evolution from the past, as seen in cities like London, UK.
  4. Educational Purposes: This refers to tours undertaken by students and academicians as part of their educational curriculum. They seek to practically experience and understand theoretical concepts by visiting sites of cultural and historical importance, like Bath Spa in the UK, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of local culture and history (Chang, 1997).
  5. Research Purposes: Students, academicians, researchers, historians, architects, and archaeologists engage in these tours to gain first-hand experiences that complement theoretical knowledge. They also seek to uncover new information about specific tourist attractions that might have been obscure in the past, contributing to the understanding of historical and cultural significance, as seen in locations like the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.
  6. Leisure Activities: These involve the basic tourist objective of enjoyment, relaxation, and entertainment at any destination. Combining leisure with visits to sites of cultural and historical significance allows tourists to experience new realms of exposure against the backdrop of modern amenities. Examples include cities like Bath Spa, Paris, London, and Rome (Nasser, 2003).

Task 3

3.1 Assessing the Impact of Diverse Ownership Types on Heritage and Cultural Site Management

As previously established, the stewardship of cultural and heritage sites falls to local, regional, or national government entities. UNESCO plays a pivotal role in the upkeep and conservation of historically significant sites such as India’s Taj Mahal, the Abbey Bath in Bath Spa city, and the Tower of London, granting them World Heritage status. Historically, numerous heritage sites with extensive pasts have undergone multiple ownership changes. This often results from the longevity of these sites, where original builders pass away or are usurped by rivals, leading to frequent ownership transfers. This pattern is evident in the history of Great Castles in the UK and Europe, as well as in Cathedrals, Churches, ports, and other urban structures like Windsor Castle. In contemporary times, when legal ownership of a monument is unclear, unoccupied, or unused, governments intervene, taking control for preservation and public access, thereby aiding in maintenance, conservation, and tourism development. Multiple issues arise in managing heritage and cultural sites for tourism and conservation (Du Cros, 2001). Ownership changes often entail the following challenges:

  • Ownership Changes Altering Original Structures: Almost every heritage site experiences structural modifications after initial ownership transfer. Reasons include the death of original owners, warfare, migration, destruction, or abandonment. Each new owner typically adjusts the structure to suit their needs, as seen in Windsor Castle’s millennium-long history, undergoing numerous modifications under different ownerships. These changes can obscure the site’s original purpose and design.
  • Original Structure Degradation: Each ownership transition and subsequent alteration can degrade the original architectural integrity. Factors like natural disasters also contribute to the permanent alteration and damage of these structures.
  • Ownership Change Impeding Restoration: In cases like Windsor Castle, new ownership often disrupts or alters ongoing restoration efforts, leading to further damage. Government intervention, like with Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa, can stabilize and preserve such monuments, preventing further decline.
  • Developing Heritage Sites as Tourist Attractions: This is challenging when sites are still privately owned or in use. Government efforts to restore such sites for tourism can face resistance from current owners, complicating the process of balancing heritage preservation with current use (Aas, 2005).

3.2 Analyzing the Roles and Responsibilities of Organizations in the Heritage and Cultural Industry

The management of heritage and cultural tourist destinations falls under various organizations governed by a central authority. In the UK, this authority is the Ministry of Tourism, which oversees departments and agencies responsible for the heritage and cultural tourism sector. The roles and responsibilities of these organizations include:

  • Central Government of the UK: Recognizes tourism’s economic significance, creating strategies and policies for industry regulation and heritage site maintenance, enhancing the UK’s attractiveness as a tourist destination.
  • Ministry of Tourism: Implements government policies and strategies for the tourism sector, with a focus on cultural and heritage tourism.
  • Department of Culture, Media and Sports: Manages cultural and heritage tourism, including site maintenance, community development, infrastructure for tourism, and cultural promotion.
  • Agencies like “Visit England” and “Visit Britain”: Market the UK as a tourist destination, with specific emphasis on cultural and heritage attractions, aiming to increase revenue and job creation in the sector.
  • Local Government: Implements national policies and infrastructure decisions at the grassroots level, managing local heritage sites and infrastructure.
  • Local Community: Integral stakeholders in cultural and heritage tourism, their alignment with tourism goals is crucial for smooth interactions between tourists and locals.
  • Allied Agencies: These include transportation, industry, health, safety, and finance departments, supporting the overall vision of a premier tourist destination. Their collaboration with cultural and heritage tourism agencies is key to a country’s tourism success, as demonstrated by the UK (Jamal, 2009).


Heritage and cultural tourism stand out as integral components within the broader tourism industry. The United Kingdom is renowned for its cultural and heritage tourist destinations, holding the position of the world’s largest market in this sector. The country’s allure is attributed to its historic buildings, monuments, cultural values, and contemporary cultural offerings such as cuisine, music, art, and theatre. Recognizing the significance of this industry and its role in contributing to the economy, the British government has undertaken strategic initiatives.

With a deep understanding of the importance of heritage and cultural tourism, the UK has developed a world-class infrastructure, aligning seamlessly with existing frameworks through a multi-faceted agency approach. What sets Britain apart in this industry, in addition to its historical assets and vibrant modern culture, is the integration of world-class interpretation techniques. These techniques ensure an unforgettable experience for tourists, making the UK a compelling destination that encourages repeat visits.


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