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Sustainable heritage tourism: Towards a community-led approach

Dragouni, Mina; (2017) Sustainable heritage tourism: Towards a community-led approach. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access


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This doctoral thesis explores community participation in heritage tourism planning as a sustainable solution to real-world cultural heritage problems, such as neglect and degradation at economically-deprived areas. In particular, the study examines how the strategic design of heritage tourism can accommodate the active involvement of destination hosts, such as local residents and business owners, and their meaningful collaboration with heritage managers and policymakers. The literature suggests that destination communities are heavily affected by tourism activity and their contribution to tourism planning is vital for achieving commitment to sustainability goals. Although the theoretical grounds of community involvement are well set, heritage tourism management has been slow in applying participatory approaches. Consequently, there is little empirical work on the practical implications of realising a more pluralist governance for heritage tourism and limited evidence to convince current ‘power-holders’ such as state officials to share their power with non-expert stakeholders. This project aspires to fill this void by exploring the process and particularities of instigating community participation at destination level in areas with no previous participatory experience. By adopting the case-study approach, it explores Kastoria, a peripheral emerging destination in Greece, conducting for the first time an ex-ante assessment of the challenges and complexities involved in pursuing community involvement on Arnstein’s (1969) rungs of ‘citizen power’. Following a novel mixed methodological approach, the study generates primary fieldwork data through semi-structured interviews, an attitudinal questionnaire survey and a quasi-field economic experiment applied to the tourism field for the first time. By doing so it provides important empirical evidence and draws useful theoretical and practical conclusions that increase our knowledge of community-inclusive planning in critical issues, such as the drivers of participation and the dynamics of collaborative decision-making.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sustainable heritage tourism: Towards a community-led approach
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025949
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