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Heritage Tourism Destinations: Preservation, Communication and Development

Heritage Tourism Destinations: Preservation, Communication and Development

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Heritage Tourism Destinations: Preservation, Communication and Development

533 pages
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May 27, 2016


Heritage tourism is tied to myth making and stories; creative content that can be shared, stored, combined and manipulated, but that depends on a unique cultural or natural history. A significant section of the wider phenomenon that is cultural tourism, heritage tourism is a demand-driven industry that continues to be a subject of heated debate in academic circles.

Beginning with an overview of the subject, this book considers the conservation and revitalization of heritage destinations, as well as the role local communities have in supporting an attraction. It then discusses product development and communication around the world, using new techniques such as social media and examples from food tourism and sporting events, before a final section reviews the planning and institutionalisation of heritage spaces. A timely conclusion subsequently considers the implications of developments such as globalisation, technological improvement and climate change upon these unique destinations. A valuable addition to the literature, this book is the first to bridge the gap between theory and practice, including the latest research and international case studies for researchers and practitioners in tourism and destination management.
May 27, 2016

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Heritage Tourism Destinations - CAB International



Maria D. Alvarez, ¹


Frank M. Go ² and Atila Yüksel ³

¹Boğaziçi University, Turkey; ²Erasmus University, Netherlands; ³Adnan Menderes University, Turkey

* Corresponding author: alvarezm@boun.edu.tr

History is the study of the past. Why should researchers, policy makers, companies and tourism practitioners be intrigued by activities, events, places and actors that occurred in the past? Geoffrey Wall (2003: 78) offers the following explanation:

The world is not a tabula rasa and possible futures are very much constrained by decisions which have been made in the past. An understanding of past patterns of recreation and the evolution of recreational and tourism activities and areas can also lead to the development of interpretative material to cater to the considerable interest in heritage.

In that sense the coupling of cultural heritage and urban tourism has been a fundamental dimension of the history of tourism. The perspectives contributed by Ashworth and Tunbridge (1990) and Orbasli (2000) provide discussion and illustrations of the practices and challenges that surround the visitation of tourists in historic towns. Also, on how history became a product that can be marketed. Prentice’s (1993) Tourism and Heritage Attractions offers insights that advance our knowledge on why, for example, millions of tourists visit heritage sites like museums and castles, what benefits tourists seek when visiting heritage attractions and how this affects the management of destination organizations.

In sum, this volume presents a wide range of case studies that, due to the variation in their conceptual approaches, contribute to a better understanding of different perspectives on the processes of change. Based on their fields of interest, the authors share their views on a wide number of factors that took shape earlier in order to understand the phenomenon of accelerated change in society. Within both a complex and multidisciplinary field of research this book uses a more integrative analytical approach, which is more historical and dynamic and focuses on the process of evolution itself. In contrast, a comparative analytical approach is relatively static and ahistoric and focuses attention on absolute growth with the aid of, for example, ‘benchmarking’. So, the contributors’ perspectives in this volume should be seen as attempts to find a way to underscore an imperative, which is increasingly overlooked in our high-speed society. The past causes the present, and therefore has significant implications for the future of both supply and demand.

Heritage as applied to tourism has generated a rather large literature, and to a lesser extent in the hospitality domain. ‘Heritage’ was a North American term, which ‘fitted well with the behaviour of North Americans trying to find their roots in Europe, and more recently in Africa’ (Prentice, 2003: 164). This North American perspective takes a consumptive approach to defining heritage tourism as ‘traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present’ (National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2015).

Prentice defined heritage tourism demand in terms of behaviour, noting marked differences by social class (1993: 12). Boniface and Fowler (1993) and Timothy (1997), however, suggest that understanding behaviour must include understanding the relationship between individuals and the artefact or space. Poria et al. (2003: 249) concluded, based on Boniface and Fowler’s (1993) and Timothy’s (1997) work, that ‘heritage tourism stems from the relationship between the supply and the demand. It is not so much the attributes themselves, but the perception of them which is critical’. Since ‘heritage tourism offers opportunities to portray the past in the present’ (Nuryanti, 1996: 250) as an experience, companies draw on historical resources as a popular marketing tool to make an impact in a competitive world. This aspect of heritage tourism is described in some studies as ‘an experience which is produced by the interaction of the visitor with the resource’ (Moscardo, 2001: 5). This vision of heritage tourism centres on the perceptions of the tourist (Apostolakis, 2003), such that interpretation and the interaction of the tourist with the heritage resource becomes most important. The search for unique experiences and the growing interest in historical narratives has led many heritage sites to implement experiential marketing. But in their haste to improve their competitiveness many providers have implemented experiential marketing without integrating heritage tourism (Apostolakis, 2003) within the overall destination policy.

Heritage resources are increasingly being seen as important attractions for tourists and other visitors, since they enhance the perceived attractiveness of the destination through its cultural offering (Kaminski et al., 2014). From a supply perspective the term heritage has been defined in many different ways following varied contexts, including a great number of phenomena such as physical elements, intangible aspects, natural components and cultural landscapes (Fonseca and Ramos, 2012). In a broad sense, heritage tourism comprises ‘tangible assets, such as natural and cultural environments, encompassing . . . landscapes, historic places, sites and built environments as well as intangible assets such as collections, past and continuing cultural practices, knowledge and living experiences’ (McKercher et al., 2005: 541). However, in the more recent literature, these tangible and intangible resources are not just considered in terms of their ability to preserve the past, but in relation to their capacity to transmit and create today new meaning from history (Kaminski et al., 2014). Thus a commonly used definition describes heritage as ‘the present-day use of the past’ (Timothy and Boyd, 2006: 2).

Due to the growing popularity of heritage tourism in the last two decades the issues that face the convergence between heritage and tourism have given rise to an extensive literature, following two dominant research perspectives, supply and demand (Apostolakis, 2003; Fonseca and Ramos, 2012). The majority of research and articles are based on the supply viewpoint, concerned mainly with the management of heritage tourism destinations, including issues of conservation, interpretation and visitor management (Timothy and Boyd, 2006). On the other hand, from a demand perspective, most studies have tried to understand the heritage tourist, examining their motivations and their profiles for segmentation purposes (Prentice et al., 1998; Poria et al., 2003; Timothy and Boyd, 2006). In general, heritage tourists are seen as being better educated and having higher disposable income (Timothy and Boyd, 2006; Kaminski et al., 2014). Comprehensive research continues to be needed ‘to understand better the supply side of heritage tourism, including how resources are marked as heritage sites in different cultures and the unique management challenges and solutions in different heritage settings’ (Timothy and Boyd, 2006: 2).

Debates about consumption and production are likely to continue in the foreseeable future as major avenues of research. At the same time tourism contributes to, and is influenced by, human activity in a globalizing world in terms of flows of people, tourists, capital and information, but increasingly also migrants and refugees, which trigger hot political debates and question values. The increasing vulnerability of tourism and tourists in the face of global change and political violence renders the analysis of differing scenarios and outcomes, based on a global code of ethics, central to comprehending tourism’s mutual understanding and respect among peoples and societies. Article 10 of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Code of Ethics underscores that: ‘The public and private stakeholders in tourism development should cooperate in the implementation of these principles [of the Global Code of Ethics] and monitor their effective application.’ ¹

Moreover, the impact of technology-mediated interactions of global proportions have contributed importantly to the acceleration of change and the need to understand the dynamics in tourism systems more effectively, as well as the role of destinations within this process. The tracking of tourists in the digital age (Shoval and Isaacson, 2007) creates a data-rich environment that heritage sites and destinations can apply to gain a better understanding of heritage tourists and the heritage tourist experience. The recent economic downturn has heightened the concerns about the accountability of building place branding (Govers and Go, 2009), an exercise a heritage destination may choose to engage in. Making every euro count is a managerial imperative for every destination management organization.

Indeed, up until recently, strategies could be distinguished in ‘either/or’ terms. But the twin forces of globalization and technology-mediated interaction demonstrate that all over the world society is undergoing processes of dramatic change with far-reaching effects, including modern transformations in leisure and travel (Rojek, 1993). The emergence of connectedness led to new tourism frontiers and justifies the main theme of this book, which lies in the overlap of the dominant supply and demand research perspectives. This nexus focuses on analyses of critical issues in tourism (Shaw and Williams, 2002), and necessitates that the managers of heritage sites and destinations step beyond a production–consumption dichotomy (Ateljevic, 2000). This applies, amongst other things, to the development of ideas and cultural expression, the development and application of technologies, and changes in cultural identity in relation to heritage tourism (Stebbins, 1997). In this sense, the future global environment consists of multiple uncertainties, market-level trends, trade-offs and choices, which interact to create new opportunities and threats. In this state of unforgiving uncertainty the destination management organization (DMO) – and the managers of heritage sites – must develop ways to anticipate and respond to novel situations. The DMO is a corporate, accountable body in charge of the governance of tourism marketing and branding management at a country, region, city or locality level. Its managers no longer have the option to make decisions based on ‘either/or’ terms, i.e. in an almost mutually exclusive manner. A ‘both/and’ logic is taking over instead. This requires a rethinking by managers and policy makers as to how they might increase the competitiveness of their organization in a sustainable way. Uncertainty is on the increase. Therefore, the three main actors of society – the private sector, government and higher educational institutions – should leverage the potential to join forces in partnership to overcome complex constraints.

The ‘tagline’ of the Heritage, Tourism and Hospitality International Conference (HTHIC) from which this book derived is ‘Preservation, Presentation, Promotion and Profit’. No doubt this will mean different things to different stakeholders, because heritage tourism fulfils diverse needs both within organizations and in the marketplace. Organizations differ in perspective: heritage sites such as museums are primarily concerned with the ‘preservation and presentation’ function. In contrast, hospitality and tourism businesses pursue the function of ‘promotion’ aimed at achieving a ‘profit’. The currency for the world of higher education is recognition of scientific accomplishments by peers. This split is further reinforced by various disciplinary perspectives and practitioners who may have different skills, and results in barriers to establishing a common research agenda from a heritage tourism perspective.

The intention here is not to elaborate on the multitude of concepts, theories, illustrations and approaches, but to highlight how heritage tourism can serve as a platform for smart specialization to explore the benefits that can be expected from connecting and working together for sustainable regional development. An integrative approach is both justified and relevant to shape a common research agenda to improve the competitiveness of heritage destinations. In turn, this should enable actors to become economically sustainable in a world in transition by building the capacity to implement the guidelines of UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics.

This book volume utilizes a three-part structure. Part I examines key issues of heritage tourism. The analyses remind us that there are essential forces alive in every destination that cannot be ignored. Conservation policy to heritage planning must take into account the needs and interests of both tourists and inhabitants of historic centres, and the potential and limitations of regeneration and commodification, to maintain a balance between competitiveness and the preservation of historic assets and local cultural identity. Part II discusses the development of heritage tourism destinations as tourism products, and the communication process involving the endogenous characteristics and distinct traits pertaining to these places through non-conventional marketing pathways. Part III introduces both theoretical perspectives on governance and stakeholder collaboration within the contexts of museums, archaeological sites and historical destinations with a focus on planning, governance models and institutional perspectives. These themes are briefly examined below.

Conservation and Interpretation

Conservation and preservation is a key issue for heritage destinations, since their tourism activities are based on the attraction of historical and cultural resources that are non-renewable and may not be replaced if damaged (Kaminski et al., 2014). Some of the key challenges faced by heritage tourism destinations include avoiding physical wear and tear of the site due to high tourist visitation, collecting the necessary funds to ensure protection and adequate visitor management systems, and preserving the historical integrity of the destination (Timothy and Boyd, 2006). Obtaining sufficient financial resources for conservation is especially difficult for developing countries (Timothy and Boyd, 2006), so that the pressure to prioritize commercial goals over conservation objectives may be felt more acutely in these destinations.

Other than preservation of heritage resources, their interpretation becomes essential (Nuryanti, 1996). Research has determined that tourists desire authentic tourism experiences (Moscardo and Pearce, 1986), although they are very often unable to distinguish between what is authentic and what is not (Timothy and Boyd, 2006). In fact, authenticity is subjective, changing from person to person, and it cannot be generalized (Timothy and Boyd, 2006).

Heritage tourism may give rise to competition between traditional values and modern lifestyles. This is also one of the issues often raised in urban regeneration processes that are becoming increasingly a must for modern cities in a competitive globalized environment. As regeneration implies a trade-off between tradition and change, so the need to decide what to preserve and what to alter arises. In this situation, the cultural context of the city may serve as a reference to guide the regeneration process (Della Lucia et al., Chapter 1, this volume) and to resolve the inherent conflict between the preservation of the past and the opening to the future.

However, there may also be political sensitivities at play, which determine whether or not to preserve particular historical resources and how to interpret a given heritage site (Nuryanti, 1996). An important challenge of heritage tourism is the ability to reconstruct a certain past in the present, using interpretation (Nuryanti, 1996). Politics may also play a role in this process, since different views concerning historical facts may exist and some heritage may be contested by certain groups (Timothy and Boyd, 2006). In addition, heritage tourism may also be used to create or confirm national identities or to present certain political ideas (Timothy and Boyd, 2006). Thus, many urban regeneration projects may be contested as they are often imposed from a top-down perspective, leading to gentrification and supporting a certain political perspective challenged by some of the residents. This is the case in the Tophane neighbourhood of Istanbul, where there is a mismatch between the narratives of the local inhabitants and those imposed by the authorities, who seek to increase tourism activities and investments in the area (Schuitema, Chapter 2, this volume). In this context, the local community and the need to engage them is recognized as essential in order to ensure the sustainability and long-term preservation of heritage sites (Ricci and Yilmaz, Chapter 3, this volume).

As previously mentioned, heritage tourism destinations are bound to be packaged and developed as specific products for tourism consumption. This appears to be an inevitable consequence of the convergence between heritage and tourism in an increasingly globalized world where resources, including heritage, have an intrinsic monetary worth. The key appears to be in the trade-off between preservation of the resources and their use to create economic value. Within the development of heritage tourism destinations as products, the question of the interpretation of the heritage also becomes an important aspect of product development, branding and communication strategies. Thus the creation of a heritage tourism destination includes the need to recognize, identify, support and select specific resources, while identifying the purpose and target of the destination marketing strategies (Ennen and van Maanen, 2014).

In summary, tourism destinations that draw on historical resources to satisfy modern market demands encounter multiple challenges in developing a long-term strategy, including heritage conservation. They struggle, particularly, with the task of integrating the essential link between market-oriented communications and the voices of residents living in every urban area. DMOs that plan to expand tourism must find delivery mechanisms to allay the concerns of inner-city residents, who fear the negative impact of tourism on their quality of life. Taking an ostrich-like approach to those concerns, as the next section attests, is unlikely to contribute to problem solving.

Product Development and Communication

A destination’s conservation strategy is typically implemented through marketing tactics involving product development and communication. It is therefore imperative that DMOs understand the role of heritage tourism as a mechanism with the potential to consider the needs and interests of both tourists and residents of historic centres. DMOs must promote heritage tourism in ways that are seen to add value to the tourist experience and simultaneously raise awareness among businesses of the importance of conserving historic cityscapes. Therefore, it is also imperative to engage businesses in the activities of preservation and presentation of historic assets early on in the process of development. In this respect, hospitality partnerships offer a delivery mechanism which simultaneously contributes to strengthening competitiveness and the local cultural identity. If the strategy is not to be corrupted, the implementation of market tactics must be coordinated and monitored. It is hard to delineate strategy from tactics. Therefore interconnections between practitioners and destination strategists are essential. This should be done with a view to base joint actions on a common agenda designed to achieve competitiveness in a sustainable way.

The 3rd Global Summit on City Tourism organized by UNWTO entitled ‘New Paradigms in City Tourism Development’, ² promoted tourism as a key component of local economies and the social life of urban communities. This perspective is consistent with MacCannell’s (1976: 41) semiotic approach which seeks to configure communicative interactions ‘between a tourist, a sight and a marker (a piece of information and a sight)’. It requires a cultural turn which frames a tourism destination as ‘a social network, with a group of interacting stakeholders, jointly producing the … contextual data to be transmitted and opinions to be shared and discussed’ (Breukel and Go, 2009: 188). Technology-mediated interactions of global proportions imply a rethinking of tourism knowledge infrastructures beyond ‘vicious circles’ which presently treat public sector and business functions often in isolation (Orbasli, 2000: 99).

The central issues encountered by attraction sites, due to tensions and conflicts between actors, originate in social systems theory explained by Maturana and Varela (1987/1998) and Luhmann (1990). Connecting historical resources with the market mechanism requires observation of relevant phenomena and attempting conjectures to explain best practices. DMOs must have the capability to blend them together in engaged hospitality partnerships to achieve competitiveness. Such an integrative analytical perspective treats the interaction between various styles and models. A critical task of DMOs is managing its relationships in networks, subsequently leveraging its position in the tourism system to bring about a shift in power of practitioners engaged in the joint creation of value-adding tourist experiences. These newer institutional developments are fostering ‘virtuous circles’, collaborative efforts to implement new product and communication strategies effectively. They are incorporating a storytelling approach for raising awareness, in a manner that helps actors to deal with complexity and uncertainty inherent in at least five separate but related heritage tourism issues. These are: the meaning of identity, relationships and vision, the heterogeneity of heritage demand, market structure, and market dynamics and societal change. These are briefly discussed below.

The meaning of identity

Local heritage plays a dual role since ‘it is the central focus of the tourist activity whilst at the same time being a fundamental element in the construction of community identity’ (Ballesteros and Ramirez, 2007: 677). However, this duality presents DMOs with a mechanism to develop the capabilities on the one hand to absorb variety (i.e. market diversity) and on the other to create distinctiveness through a destination’s brand identity (i.e. a tool to foster distinctiveness), which appeals to tourists in search of a sense of meaning. DMOs can leverage heritage sites to position themselves on a continuum, based on the tourist’s motivation to seek a sense of ‘reality’ or ‘illusion’ in an experience – either ‘authentic’ (MacCannell, 1976), ‘pseudo-event’ (Boorstin, 1971), or ‘fake’ (Eco, 1986). A sight, that is to say the distinctiveness of place, defined in MacCannell’s semiotic perspective.

The memories and associations of unique local heritage allow DMOs and their membership to jointly create an experiential context that can guide their present and future actions. Making memories more explicit and therefore shareable requires participation in collective action, articulating symbolic meaning to the visitor in codified format, including art, storytelling, routes that have meaning to particular groups of people (e.g. the Silk Road; Karolinger-Route) and websites. Memories in the form of stored knowledge creates a persistent record of choices in constructing community identity; a way for a community to express its values, which reminds us that the sustenance of tourism developments, no matter where they fall on the ‘authentic–unauthentic’ scale, require community support (Lew, 1988).Within the value-system continuum framework the activities must be effectively coordinated in a way that enables the destination ‘coordinators to tell their side of the story’ (Lemmetyinen and Go, 2009: 39). The key capabilities needed for managing tourism business networks are, first, the ‘ability to develop and implement informational, interpersonal and/or decisional roles’, second, the capability of ‘orchestrating a visioning of the network in a way that strengthens the actors’ commitment to the [place] brand ideology’, and third, the ‘ability to create joint knowledge and absorptive capacity’ (Lemmetyinen and Go, 2009: 39).

Relationships and vision

Tourism is an agent of change which affects relationships between insiders (inhabitants) and outsiders (tourists/investors) and can lead to tensions and contests that require political and legal intervention. While the tourism literature has contributed to advance our understanding of the significant impact of the salient acceleration in the velocity and ‘connectedness’ of marketing processes, it has failed to critically debate the deep contradictions in technology-driven society. For instance, under what conditions can product development and communication processes contribute to shaping a destination’s environment characterized by trust of others, and underpin people’s ability to maintain a sense of psychological well-being or ‘ontological security’ (Giddens, 1990)? When considering hosting practices, DMOs often fail to reflect a strategic vision of hospitality care for both the self and collective. A decentralized network approach as applied, for example, by http://www.couchsurfing.org is a vision that deserves investigation for building sustainable communities of interest on a large scale. Such a perspective is also critical in order to establish a critical mass, needed for the formation of democratic institutions, in which identification with a group expands individual identity and fuses it with collective action.

Heterogeneity of heritage demand

Tourism is a satisfier mechanism designed to respond to motivation, i.e. the translation of felt need into goal-oriented consumer behaviour. Besides searching/avoidance of ‘sensation’ are searching/avoidance of ‘variation’ between familiar and new elements, which represent an important motivational dimension to satisfy demands, many associated with leisure and tourism. In combination, these factors result in a 2 × 2 motivational matrix of ‘arousal seeking’ and ‘arousal avoiding’ (Goossens, 2000). Within this matrix (Table I.1) heritage tourists can demonstrate preference for one of four leisure forms: ‘familiar sensation’ (e.g. visiting fairy tale theme parks, excluding rides that characterize amusement park, with the family); ‘familiar relaxation’ (e.g. participating in walks through designated ‘treasured landscapes’, including national parks); ‘novelty sensation’ (e.g. engaging in ‘hands-on’ science centre attractions); and ‘novelty relaxation’ (e.g. immersion in seaside resorts and seascapes). The proposed typology serves as a basis for the emergent research agenda into the opportunities for managing product development and communication processes in different heritage tourism contexts.

Table I.1. Motivational matrix. From Goossens, 2000.

Market structure

According to Leiper (2008), tourism as a generic expression misrepresents reality. In particular, the plural variation of ‘tourism industries’ and the diverse tourist motivations suggest the necessity to recognize the heritage product’s heterogeneity as described, amongst others, by Prentice (1993: 39–40). From an institutional perspective, markets comprise exchange relationships between market participants in complex networks involving consumers, urban and rural authorities, advertising agencies, banks, and many other business partners.

It is not wise to reduce the dimension of market structure solely to the ‘scale of the heritage site in relation to potential markets’ (Nuryanti, 1996: 254). However, the relative bargaining power of buyers and sellers of tourism services remains a formidable competitive threat in the perception of both entrepreneurs and urban authorities. Therefore, they are likely to influence the collective decision-making process.

Market dynamics and societal change

The impact of social media institutions on the heritage tourist destination’s imagination has been significant. In particular, TripAdvisor’s comments on Istanbul are the target of the study by Kladou and Mavgrani (Chapter 6, this volume). Their analysis shows how open-ended virtual worlds immerse ‘electronic eyes’ in a large universe of dynamic market options, while they also order information, no longer top-down, but bottom-up, in diverse and dynamic ways (Fouts, 2010). The shift in power from hierarchical approaches to bottom-up networks of producers and consumers who jointly create value propositions (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004) manifests in the ‘sharing economy’ and may mask the real motives of certain networks. For example, while ‘social networks’ such as Airbnb and Uber operate in a dispersed manner, they are, in fact, driven by centrally organized standards set by their respective corporate boardrooms.

An untold number of consumers are looking for answers in the meaning of ‘home’, and being ‘away’. They dream of experiencing a place through, for example, the eyes of a much celebrated author; seeing the connections between the powerful elite and the representations of former slaves in dominant narratives (Buzinde and Santos, 2008). They wish to escape modern society, which creates an alleged sense of alienation, and this is reinforced by the media images of seemingly endless lines of displaced people. The emergence of a globalized culture is characterized by continuous flows of ideas, information and values mediated through tourists, refugees and electronic simulations. They enable the construction of new ‘imagined communities’ (Anderson, 1983). They also put the epistemology of tourism under ever more radical scrutiny (Tribe and Xiao, 2011). Franklin (2008) views tourism ‘less like an industry and more like a rhyzomic assemblage of technologies, governmentalities, texts and travel objects on multiple lines of flight’ (Franklin, 2008: 32). And Coles et al. (2009: 23) conceptualized tourism as a post-disciplinary area of study.

How can DMOs handle the challenges stemming from the dynamic tourism environment, convey the aesthetic appeal of their ‘products’ and distinguish their heritage assets from rivals through appealing communications? The variety-distinctiveness dilemma poses questions on how tourists consume heritage, and why they do so, potentially in combination with other products. For example, many would perceive ancient history and cultural heritage central to Greece. However, van Rekom and Verlegh (2011) uncovered an important caveat: namely that tourists like Greece most for the sun and sea, more than for its cultural heritage. This implies that Greece’s destination brand ‘should be positioned with stories about and reminders of its heritage and culture, but always against a visible background of a bright sun and deep blue sea’ (van Rekom and Verlegh, 2011: 164).

To overcome the challenge of complexity, DMOs can use various rational, social, emotional and aesthetic strategies, in response to variety, to build a multiplex of identities; in other words identities with many facets that engage stakeholders in different ways cognitively, emotionally and aesthetically (Rindova, 2007: 169). Here, integrated communications (IC) (as opposed to integrated marketing communications, IMC) may enable DMOs to bridge the public–private divide and subsequently ‘pull’ together its social, cultural and natural historic special qualities within the relevant criteria to underpin its strategic organizational communications: consistency, continuity, commitment, coordination and content (Hakala, 2015: 229).

To resolve the variety-distinctiveness dilemma, DMOs must break free of the ‘containerized’ notion of ‘creativity industries’ which includes ‘the tourism industry, cultural heritage activities, and the experience economy’ (Lazzeretti and Capone, 2015: 4). Among other things, the distinctiveness of heritage sites is expressed in innovative product development and creative communications that reflect identity markers, catching the tourists’ attention and giving affordance to engaging the ‘voices’ of local community members in promoting selected heritage narratives to tourists, ‘reaping the benefits from the development of their locale as a tourist destination’ (van Rekom and Go, 2006: 778). In meeting variety manifest in major societal challenges, DMOs must recognize that their ‘internal logic’ presents limitations of their knowledge and understanding of the complex world.

Hence, to compete successfully, DMOs depend increasingly on strategies which foster corporate and community collaborative relationships aimed at knowledge transfer; their creative translation into innovative products and integrated communications. Astute DMOs portray their distinction in many ways, inspiring people to visit, and contributing to competitive advantage traceable to the skilful augmentation of their local heritage in relation to the symbolic power of the universal value of heritage for mankind.


¹ http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/principles.html

² UNWTO 3rd Global Summit on City Tourism, http://cf.cdn.unwto.org/sites/all/files/pdf/final_programme_3rd_global_summit_on_city_tourism.pdf


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1 Does the Culture of Context Matter in Urban Regeneration Processes?

Maria Della Lucia, ¹


Mariapina Trunfio ² and Frank M. Go ³

¹University of Trento, Italy; ²University of Naples ‘Parthenope’, Italy; ³Erasmus University, Netherlands

*Corresponding author maria.dellalucia@unitn.it

1.1 Introduction

The progressive shift from tangible to intangible competitive advantage in post-industrial societies has made culture a major engine of development, renewal and regeneration in cities (Castells, 2004; Hall, 2004; Hutton, 2009;

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