Session: #365

Theme & Session Format

Archaeological heritage and museum management: future chances, future risks
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Managing (Mass) Tourism at Heritage Attractions (Sites and Museums): How Do We Bridge the Gap?
Heritage – and its future – has become embedded with (mass) tourism, where it is now granted the importance of public outreach by raising awareness of heritage and generating income to preserve it for present and future generations. Higher numbers of tourists visiting leading sites and museums has highlighted the great stress placed upon those very few sites and museums. Despite these stresses, national, regional and local governments often praise heritage attractions capable of increasing annual numbers of visitors. Consequently, stretching visitor capacities leads to the deterioration of those very sites and museums that official institutions are supposed to preserve. Such practices suggest that visitor numbers serve as a measure of success: the higher the better, but at what cost to heritage?
We are facing a dilemma: heritage needs tourism – well-managed mass tourism – to live on and be preserved as it generates the necessary funding upon which conservation relies. Likewise, it needs to find ways to develop damage control policies against tourism related threats such as site erosion, cultural exploitation, unsupervised commercialisation, heritage trivialisation. Therefore, this session explores evidence of tourism threats at heritage attractions, focusing on policies established to mitigate those threats, strategies to enhance visitor experiences, and generating income to support the institution, museum, or site. Consequently, site management strategies and conservation policies will be addressed, exploring how tourism can be managed in an effective manner, possibly by involving local and national institutions, local communities, academic institutions, and local/regional/national businesses. Contributors will address methodologies employed in various sites to manage tourism at heritage sites as well as present issues caused by tourism and solutions to transform tourism from a threat to the future of heritage to a valuable resource capable of enhancing financial sustainability and enabling preservation for future generations while maintaining exceptionally high standards of visitor experience.
heritage management, mass tourism, financial sustainability, conservation, site networking
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Main organiser:
Edoardo Bedin (Croatia) 1,2
William Balco (United States) 3
Carolina Megale (Italy) 4
Caterina De Vivo (Italy) 5
1. Arheoloskj Muzej u Zagrebu
2. National Trust
3. University of North Georgia
4. Past in Progress
5. Madeculture