Urban Heritage and Tourism: Challenges and Opportunities



We encourage submission of papers that analyze best practice examples and case studies associated with one of the following conference themes from historic urban areas - including, but not limited to, UNESCO World Heritage Cities in Asia and beyond.


The conference will be structured around the following four sub-themes within the contexts of historic urban areas:

Managing change in historic urban areas in the face of tourism development

Heritage impact assessments – How can the impact of tourism development on the cultural values of an historic urban area be assessed? How can the findings of the assessment be incorporated in urban management decisions?

Application of the carrying capacity concept in urban heritage management – How can the ‘Carrying Capacity’ of an historic urban area be determined? How can this concept be applied in the management of historic urban areas?

Maintaining authenticity and integrity of historic urban areas – Can an historic urban area be developed without affecting its authenticity and integrity? If yes, what are the preferred ways of doing that? If not, how can negative impacts be minimised?

Protection of intangible heritage and transmission of language, skills and trades – How can tourism development help protect and transmit intangible heritage? 

Visitor management frameworks and measures ensuring more effective urban heritage conservation and management – How can visitor management measures be applied in living historic urban areas? How can good visitor management contribute to effective conservation and management of urban heritage? What are the best examples of visitor management frameworks and/or measures in historic urban areas?


Adaptive re-use of urban heritage resources as hospitality venues

Adaptation of heritage buildings as hospitality venues – What are the theoretical, technical and management issues related to adaptation of heritage buildings as hospitality venues?

Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality venues as examples of alliances between heritage and tourism – What are the best examples of such alliances?


Heritage interpretation: By whom? For whom?

Application of new technology in heritage interpretation – How can new technologies be incorporated in heritage interpretation?

Involvement of host communities in heritage interpretation – What roles do host communities play in the interpretation of urban heritage? How can host communities be involved in the interpretation of urban heritage?

Interpreting places with ‘difficult histories’ – How should ‘difficult histories’ be explained/related? What are the best ways to tell ‘contested stories’?

Contestation of appropriate approaches to urban heritage and negotiation among stakeholders – What happens when the key stakeholders of an urban heritage area disagree? How should we mediate controversies at urban heritage areas and facilitate negotiations amongst stakeholders? How should we decide which approach(es) to urban heritage a area should take?


Heritage tourism’s contributions to host communities

Supporting traditional businesses – How can we find ways to support traditional businesses in the face of ‘modernity’ and mass tourism development? What are the major challenges involved in supporting traditional businesses at urban heritage areas?

Revival of traditional crafts – Can we revive traditional crafts via tourism at urban heritage areas? If yes, how? What possible implications on urban heritage and host communities should we expect from such a revival of traditional crafts?

Capacity-building of host communities through urban heritage tourism – Do host communities at urban heritage places benefit from capacity-building initiatives by various international organisations? What are the best examples of capacity-building initiatives for host communities?


Published on 12 February 2009

Updated on 07 July 2009