Preservation and Development at the Great Wall World Heritage Sites, China
Su, Ming Ming
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Heritage preservation and tourism development are inevitably intertwined at heritage sites. The relationships between tourism use and the preservation of heritage resources are characterized by both symbioses and tension (Nuryanti, 1999; Tunbridge, 2007). Achieving a balance between tourism and preservation is particularly complicated at World Heritage Sites with the involvement of international, national and local stakeholders with different interests and priorities. It is important to understand how international initiatives interact with local priorities at World Heritage Sites and how the international designation impacts heritage preservation, tourism development and community well-being at the local level. There is also an increasing concern to address this issue in a developing country context, such as China. This study addresses the global-local relationship in tourism and preservation at World Heritage Sites in China through comparative case studies of Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall World Heritage Sites in Beijing. Relationships between World Heritage and tourism, stakeholder collaboration and local participation were explored to achieve the research goal of enhancing understanding of global-local relationships affecting use and preservation at World Heritage Sites. Questionnaire surveys, key informant interviews, and field observation were conducted from September to December 2008 through field studies at Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall sites, complemented by the collection of secondary data, primarily site plans and tourism statistics. The inevitability of tourism at heritage sites, especially World Heritage Sites, is demonstrated. Costs and benefits accruing to different stakeholders, especially those in adjacent communities, are studied in the context of the hierarchical and multi-departmental management structure in China. No direct control from an international organization, such as the United Nations through the World Heritage Convention, was identified at either site. The effectiveness of local participation and the distribution of benefits are evaluated using a two-dimensional framework. The inevitable involvement of multiple stakeholders with diverse and sometimes contradictory interests is demonstrated and the desirability of involving them in World Heritage planning and management are confirmed. In particular, this study reveals the ability and potential of tourism to be used to address both global priorities in heritage preservation and local interests in improving community well-being at World Heritage Sites. This research contributes to practice and to conceptual and empirical understanding of World Heritage planning and management and, hopefully, will inspire more research on World Heritage preservation and tourism development, particularly in developing countries like China.