-registration closed-

February 19, 2021, 14:00 – 16:00 (UTC) on ZOOM
Organised with Geoffrey de Vito and GD Synergy.

For many travelers and tourists, experiencing heritage in destinations plays a key role in visitor expectation and experience. Heritage assets may greatly drive the marketability of destinations, but often result in the struggle to find a balance between sharing heritage and conserving it. How then should the tourism industry and heritage conservation work together to meet both the expectations of visitors and the concerns of the heritage organizations?

Through five varied case studies, this candid seminar will introduce successful methods of stakeholder cooperation as well as highlight inevitable challenges in the many relationships connected to the “sale” of heritage.

Case studies from panelists will showcase how innovative tourism products which promote heritage conservation have the potential to satisfy the desires of both visitor and host. Panelists will discuss how the heritage conservation organizations and the travel industry can maximize the current tourism pause by working together to build stronger relationships to assure the future of tourism. The second half of this event will divide attendees into break out rooms for discussions of how lessons from the shared case studies may be applied to other specific situations.

Presenters in this webinar include Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisø (Norway), Adama Bah (The Gambia), Marco Schiavo (Italy), Tina Hudink (Slovenia), Maja Vanmierlo ( Belgium), and Drs. Geraldine, Clive and Stewart Finlayson (Gibraltar). Moderated by Geoff DeVito (USA).


Welcome and Introduction (5 minutes)
New Hampshire USA: Geoff DeVito from GD Synergy introduces this seminar. An anthropologist working and consulting in travel, tourism and hospitality Geoff will briefly outline the objectives of the session. Geoff will moderate the case study presentations and closing remarks.

Case Study #1 Experiences of a World Heritage Coordinator (10 minutes)
Bergen, Norway: Hege Agathe Bakke-Alisøy shares how a World Heritage Coordinator may lead the way in communicating values of heritage conservation as part of the tourist experience in a heavily visited destination. Hege will discuss optimistic approaches to cooperative strategies, despite past challenges, and the urgent need for industry operators to respect destination agendas in order to build sustainable partnerships.

Case Study # 2 Experiences with diversifying tourism offerings (10 minutes)
The Ninki Nanka Trail, The Gambia: Adama Bah presents the long road to developing responsible community-led tourism, bringing visitors away from busy beaches, and how the World Heritage Sites of Kunta Kinteh and Related Sites & Stone Circles of Senegambia are anchors for this experience. Adama will stress the need for continued, expanded interpretive guidance to ensure accurate representation of heritage assets and the role of government/NGO partnerships in infrastructural product development.

Case Study #3 Experiences of a Tour Operator building cooperative partnerships (10 minutes)
Cinque Terre, Italy: Marco Schiavo, a leader in Italian luxury and destination-sensitive tourism, describes the role of the tour operator acting as a conduit between heritage conservation and inbound visitors. Marco will share the challenges in bringing together a wide collection of stakeholders with the goal of building new products consistent with multiple interests, and will explain how a tour operator can be a trusted partner in heritage conservation and visitor experience.

Case Study #4 Experiences of Tour Guide Training and the Storytelling of Heritage Conservation (10 minutes)
G-Guides Academy, Belgium/Slovenia: Tina Hudnik & Maja Vanmierlo, pioneers in online guide training, discuss how a focus on the SDGs drives the future of tour guide narrative and operations. They make the case for a stronger involvement of heritage organizations and sites to provide continued education for guides who promote and tell the stories of heritage. Using video conferencing during the restrictive months ahead, guides can be trained to follow the narratives and behavioural rules set by sites to improve visitor engagement as tourism numbers return.

Case Study #5 Experiences with carrying capacity at a newly inscribed World Heritage Site (15 minutes)
Gorham’s Cave Complex, Gibraltar: Drs. Geraldine, Clive and Stewart Finlayson present how tourism may be built in to a WH Site strategy, specifically at a site where continued, ongoing research is a priority. With a site difficult to access for a variety of reasons, sharing the story and heritage of Gorham’s Cave with visitors has involved necessary and radical innovations. Geraldine, Clive and Stewart will discuss setting capacity limits and the challenges and potential of working with the tourism industry to create awareness of this important natural history.

Breakout Room discussions and presentations (40 minutes)
Following the five case study presentations, attendees are divided into break out rooms for discussions of how lessons from the shared case studies may be applied to other specific situations. Following these discussions group will resume and conclude session with brief Q&A, presentation of survey results and closing remarks.