Heritage and hospitality links in hotels in Siwa, Egypt: Towards the provision of authentic experiences
Abd Elghani, Maaly
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The link between heritage and hospitality dates back hundreds of years. However, there are no firm rules that manage this old relationship. The research tackles the concept of ‘heritage hospitality’ as a new concept; which represents a managed heritage-hospitality link through the application of traditional heritage and traditional hospitality in hotels. This study addresses the relationship between heritage and hospitality at selected hotels in Siwa oasis in Egypt. Relationships between indigenous peoples and hotels, heritage and hospitality, hotels and heritage tourism, the possibility of applying the ‘heritage hospitality’ concept and the present status of heritage application in Siwan hotels were explored to achieve the research goal of providing a balance between commercialization and authenticity in hospitality. Field observations, a questionnaire survey, key informant interviews, and a focus group discussion were conducted in Siwa from October 2, 2010 to October 21, 2010. The present status of heritage application in Siwan hotels has been documented in this study. Although Siwa oasis is rich in both cultural and natural heritage, Siwan hotels utilize only one aspect of the cultural heritage: tangible cultural heritage. Thus, Siwan hotel operators may invest more in quality heritage presentation in order to contribute to the preservation of Siwan heritage and to earn more money. Authenticity is important to the enhancement of the link between heritage and hospitality. However, it is necessary to combine both old and modern practices in a balanced approach. This research contributes to practice and to conceptual and empirical understanding of heritage-hospitality nexus and, hopefully, will inspire more research on balancing authenticity and commercialization in hotels, particularly in developing countries like Egypt.