Sociocultural impacts of tourism development on heritage sites

Authored by: Orhan Akova , Ozan Atsiz

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Impacts

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138494961
eBook ISBN: 9781351025102
Adobe ISBN:


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As cultural tourism attractions, heritage sites prompt interest in people traveling. Today, tourists would like to see the cultural traces, buildings and artifacts of people who lived in the past which are unique and universal, as well as wanting to see other cultures outside their homes. This makes possible interaction between people from the farthest regions of the world, people with different languages, races, beliefs and political beliefs. Additionally, this situation has mutual effects on tourists and the host community, because tourism affects the environment, which is made up of both human and natural features. As a result of this interaction, a range of both positive or beneficial (revitalization of local arts, crafts and traditional cultural activities; revitalization of social and cultural life of the local people; restoration of local architectural traditions, etc.) and negative or detrimental (demonstration effect, cultural damage, authenticity and specific issues such as increases in drug use, prostitution, crime, etc.) sociocultural impacts of tourism come to exist. The phases of these changes can differ between regions. Depending on the stages of euphoria, whereas some destinations welcome their visitors, others that have a deteriorating reputation may bear hostility towards visitors. Therefore, this chapter will only take into consideration the sociocultural impacts on heritage destinations, and the findings of studies conducted on this issue will be presented clearly. Also, a number of theories which are related to the sociocultural impacts of tourism will be summed up. This chapter is concerned only with the sociocultural impacts of tourism development on heritage sites and the study of the impacts of tourism on residents of tourism destinations, who are usually referred to as hosts, and tourists. A number of theories which have been suggested regarding sociocultural impacts of tourism will also be evaluated. At the end of some explanations, some case studies will be presented for a better understanding.

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