Management and Presentation of Chinese Sites for UNESCO World Heritage List (UWHL)
11 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 22, 2011
The paper is based on a field research in 2008/9 on the Chinese sites on Unesco World Heritage List (UWHL). The cases under study offer some insight into the complexity of the management of Chinese cultural organizations, as well as the problem of the presentation of China’s heritage in a new global context. While much details of the research will be provided in a late stage, some interesting findings and patterns are emerging.
In order to position the research within a wider framework, a description of the main general trends involving the field of heritage is given in the first part of the paper. Building on the evidences of several case studies, a preliminary evaluation of the costs, the benefits and the negative outcomes of the listing process is presented in the second section. In a nutshell, the process appears to be increasingly expensive for local government and, despite the expectations for successful inscription onto the UWHL, results in terms of increase tourism income are not always guaranteed. On the one hand, being listed raises the awareness of heritage protection among general public but, on the other, there are also risks connected to tourism over-exploitation.
From a methodological point of view the study points out the scarce quality of basic data regarding visitors and financial issues among Chinese world heritage sites. This is particularly critical for sustainable development if we consider that a world heritage site should be accountable to the international audience. In the final section of the paper some open questions concerning sites’ management models are presented.
Keywords: Heritage Management, Unesco Sites, China
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