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GoUNESCOnfernce – Heritage Convention / Session 3: UNESCO Site Management and Marketing

Heritage Expert Mr. Mohamed Badry (Friday 26 May 2017)

Why does heritage conservation be so important? 

The significant or importance of expression “Heritage Conservation” is divided from its definition in the Nara Document of Authenticity / Appendix no. 2 that “Conservation: all efforts designed to understand cultural heritage, know its history and meaning, ensure its material safeguard and, as required, its presentation, restoration and enhancement”.
Hence, heritage conservation is the main tool to preserve and transmit an intangible heritage behind each heritage context to the future generation. Respectively, without this significant process, the heritage site couldn’t act the pattern of sustainability.
Respectively, the legislator asserted throughout UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention that in paragraph no. 6 “The protection and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage are a significant contribution to sustainable development“. Also, in paragraph no. 32, we can notice that one of primary functions of ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) is “to carry out …… public awareness programs to strengthen conservation of immovable and moveable cultural heritage“.
Then, the legislator asserted in the Nara Document of Authenticity / paragraph no. 4 that

In a world that is increasingly subject to the forces of globalization and homogenization, and in a world in which the search for cultural identity is sometimes pursued through aggressive nationalism and the suppression of the cultures of minorities, the essential contribution made by the consideration of authenticity in conservation practice is to clarify and illuminate the collective memory of humanity.

What is the role of the civil society?

Actually, we should divide an expression “Civil Society” to two entities:
Firstly, associations, initiatives, and non-governmental organizations;
Secondly, the main owners of the cultural heritage “Citizens”.
Consequently, we can understand the role of the civil society through an interaction between two entities especially throughout the heritage cycle of Simon Thurley.
Furthermore, through UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention / paragraph no. 119:

Legislations, policies and strategies affecting World Heritage properties should ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value, support the wider conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and promote and encourage the active participation of the communities and stakeholders concerned with the property as necessary conditions to its sustainable protection, conservation, management and presentation.”

Heritage Cycle © Simon Thurley
Source: www.cultivatingculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Heritage-Cycle-graphic.png (accessed at 5 May 2017)

Is there a gap between marketing and management of UNESCO sites all over the world or is it just in developing countries?

I think that’s just in developing countries. In case, you ask about if there is a gap between marketing and site management of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I answer within an ideal process of heritage marketing that Marketing deals with heritage sites through two factors value for money and edutainment (“education” & “entertainment”), so visitors are paying admission fees and expecting be provided with an experience.
Heritage Marketing Functions:

  • To boost the visit rate
  • To generate income
  • To manage the communications with stakeholders
  • To determine the visitor desires (Needs& Wants) and satisfy some of these offering various services, programs and activities.
A Relationship between Heritage Management and Marketing © Mohamed Badry (2017)

Which are the limits for touristic “exploitation” of World Heritage Monuments?
​Example: can Gucci has a “performance” in Taj Mahal?

From my point of view, the qualified visitor management plan is the main limit for touristic exploitation in the world heritage sites. It main task is to know what happens outside the boundaries (problems & opportunities) gains insight in visitor expectations and develops facilities and services accordingly. Consequently, there will be inevitably conflicts of interest between stakeholders concerned with the different economic, social and environmental needs of the heritage destination. Hence, a visitor management seeks to balance conflicting positions and should involve compromise.

On the other hand, the outcomes of the qualified visitor management plan will be “in sequence” as the following:

  • Tourism developments take place in the desired direction (realizing goals and objectives)
  • Higher visitor satisfaction and experience  & Better control on visitor behavior
  • Heritage conservation
  • Lessening damage to fragile environments and disruption to local communities  
  • Attracting desired type of visitors
  • Justification investments & Guidance for the site marketing

What are some of the best ways to promote any culture which is disappearing from the society?

The best up-to-dated heritage marketing techniques:

  • Exhibitions, events, and festivals
  • Information and Digital technologies: social media and websites; virtual reality; mobile applications; augmented reality; and natural interaction models
  • Publications: Guide Books, Exhibition Catalogues, Coffee table books, Newsletters, Journals, Card and Board Games, Pamphlets and Leaflets, Brochures, and Annual Reports.
  • Advertising 

What does it take to make a heritage site a “UNESCO World Heritage Site”?

Briefly, you can inscribe the heritage sites as a world heritage throughout to present the nomination file estimating the following factors:

  • Statement of conservation
  • Integrity & authenticity (Statement of significance – Outstanding Universal Value (OUV))
  • Protection & Management
  • UNESCO WHC Criteria of Selection

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