Heritage tourism is define as the activities and services which provide international and domestic visitors with the opportunity to experience, understand and enjoy the special values of a region’s heritage, are sometimes referred to as heritage tourism (Lorton, 2013).
According to Leigh Burns “heritage tourism is a personal encounter with traditions, history and culture. Heritage tourism is based upon the concept that each community has a story to tell. This is a rapidly growing niche market that is directed towards experiencing the local customs, traditions, arts, history, sites, and culture that authentically represent a particular place (Burns, 2010)
Objective of the study
The study includes the following objectives:
* To identify the heritage destination and the overall satisfaction of tourists who visit heritage destinations.
* To observe and understand the trend of heritage tourism in Nepal.
* To analyze heritage destination and tourist’s overall satisfaction, and travel behavior characteristics.
* To understand the impact of heritage tourism in Nepal.
Hypotheses of the Study
The study includes the followings hypotheses in order to analyze the relationship between heritage destination attributes and tourists’ satisfaction and their behavior characteristics, to understand the difference in derived factors in relation to their demographic and to identify the differences in the overall satisfaction of tourists’ in terms of their demographic and behavior characteristics as well.
H1: There is a relationship between the heritage destination and the overall satisfaction of tourists.
H2a: There are different derived factors in relation to tourist’s demography characteristics such as age, gender, educational level and many more.
H2b: There are differences among derived factors in relation to the travel behavior characteristics of tourist such as past experience, length of their stay, distance of travel etc.
H3a: There is a difference in the overall satisfaction of tourists in terms of the tourist’s demographic characteristics such as gender, age, state, education level, and total household incomes as well.
H3b: There is a difference in the overall satisfaction of tourists in terms of the tourist’s demographic characteristics such as past experience, length of their stay, distance of travel etc.
H4: There is a relationship between the heritage destination and the overall satisfaction of tourists for directing selected demographic and behavior of tourists.
Heritage tourism is a personal encounter with traditions, history, and culture. According to Judy L. Randall, president and CEO of Randall Travel Marketing, “One of the results of the current economy is the increased importance of heritage tourism. People are choosing to stay closer to home and spend less, yet they still crave something new and different. Heritage tourism allows them unique, meaningful experiences at bargain prices. It’s a perfect fit for the “new normal” economy, as well as the eternal quest for transformative experiences”.
According to Travel South USA, Travel South USA commissioned research on international visitor volume and spending. This report was presented at the January 2010 Travel South board meeting (The Authentic South). The information collected and analyzed was for 11 of the 12 Southern states that make up Travel South USA including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia (National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2014). The information included in the report does not include Florida and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as these areas constitute unique international travel patterns outside of the norm of the 11 states included (National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2014). In 2008 the region hosted 2.13 million international visitors who spent $1.4 billion during the time period analyzed. The top ten origin countries accounted for 59% of the total estimated volume (Manadala Research,LLC, 2010).
According to Crang, “Heritage tourism generally includes the analysis of museums, landscapes, artifacts, and activities that concentrate on representing different aspects of the past. The theoretical analysis of heritage tourism has thrown up a number of conflicting perspectives. Cultural heritage tourism has a number of objectives that must be met within the context of sustainable development. They can be seen to include:
• The conservation of cultural resources.
• Accurate interpretation of resources.
• Authentic visitor experiences.
• The stimulation of the earned revenues of cultural resources.
It also argues that existential intangible heritage and leisure tourists exhibit different behaviors. From the perspective of leisure tourists there is an intangible heritage authenticity rooted. According to Nuryanti, the researcher identifies an interaction between three elements: the fixed physical, such as relics, ranging from holy wells to modern religious buildings; scientific heritage, encompassing natural elements, such as plants, birds, animals, rocks and habitats; and cultural heritage covering folk and fine arts, customs and languages.
Why Heritage Tourism?
Historic and cultural tourism is enjoying increasedPopularity and generating income for individuals andCommunities. Studies show that visitors to historic or Cultural attractions tend to spend more money per trip and take longer vacations compared to all other travelers.
Heritage tourism also helps preserve a community’s unique character and can help diversify local economies. Heritage tourism is a flexible source. Operators can control when the sites will be open. This allows operators to continue farming while offering value added to wish during certain times of the day or year.Attractions can be open for single events, seasonally or daily with restricted hours. (United States Department of Agriculture )
According to Jascha M. Zeitlin and Steven W. Burr, “Heritage tourism is tourism focused on aspects of history or cultural heritage. It includes events and festivals, as well
as sites and attractions related to the people, lifestyles, and traditions of the past” (Burr, 2011)
Employment by tourism in Nepal
According to JasnaMaharjan,”Tourism is one of the major employment generating sector developing countries like Nepal. Employment generation from tourism and tourism related sectors were together 1997/98. There were directly employed in tourism sector. 5% of these were employed in hotels, the rest in travel and trekking agencies and airlines. A survey made by Nepal Rastra Bank in 1989 said that till 1988, there was 1176 people’s employed in the tourism related sector, of which 61.7% where at the basic level and 29.2% were at top level” (MAHARJAN, 2006).
Benefits of Heritage Tourism
Heritage tourism protects historic, cultural, and natural resources in towns and cities by involving people in their community. When they can relate to their personal, local, regional, or national heritage, people are more often motivated to safeguard their historic resources. Heritage tourism educates residents and visitors about local and regional history and shared traditions. Through involvement and exposure to local historic sites, residents become better informed about their history and traditions. Understanding the importance of one’s heritage provides continuity and context for a community’s residents, and it strengthens citizenship values, builds community pride, and improves quality of life. (Green, 2010)
Tourist Satisfaction with Heritage Sites
Tourist satisfaction is most important to successful destination marketing because as it influences the choice of destination, the consumption of products and services, and the decision to coming back.
Types of Heritage Tourism
In 1972, UNESCO defined the heritage in different articles and grouped in three types (cultural, natural and mixed). They included monument and groups of building and sites works of man and combine works with nature were include as ‘cultural heritage’: Archaeological sites, outstanding universal value for historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view. In “Natural heritage” groups natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of formations, which are of outstanding universal value from aesthetic or scientific point of view; Natural sites were precisely delineated natural area of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty. And mixed sites are the sites with both natural and cultural heritage. (Perdersen, 1972)
Tourism impacts on natural World Heritage
From a conservation perspective, tourism can raise funds for protecting natural areas, enhance local and tourist awareness of biodiversity and conservation issues as well as discourage local people from unsustainable livelihoods. From a development perspective, tourism revenue may reduce poverty by stimulating business development and job creation that is in principle compatible with biodiversity conservation as well as enhancing local services, and through improved education empower local people to advocate for the protection of the natural environment. It is therefore essential for tourism that takes place in protected areas
to be managed correctly and uphold the principles of sustainable development
(Maria Ana Borges, 2011).
A study commissioned by the UK Lake District World Heritage Project (Red banks Consulting & TBR, 2009) compared economic and social benefits of World Heritage inscription on a number of international sites. While it was confirmed as a positive catalyst for change, they found few benefits occur across all sites as a generic outcome of inscription. If a site is already an established destination the effect can be negligible (Maria Ana Borges, 2011).
Overall, the research demonstrated that there is a mixed picture of tourism development in Natural World Heritage Sites. It was found that in some cases tourism development is well-planned and occurs in a sustainable manner, whereas in others development occurs rapidly and often without planning or appropriate regulatory control.
The Challenges of Heritage Tourism
According to National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Tourism is a highly sophisticated, fast-changing industry; it presents its own challenges. Tourism is generally a “clean” industry; no smokestacks or dangerous chemicals. But it does put demands on the infrastructure on roads, airports, water supplies, and public services like police and fire protection. These problems travelers increasing in numbers and adding stress and strain to infrastructure and heritage sites are, as Safer says, only beginning, and the travel industry is already addressing them. But a challenge results not only from visitor impact, but also from visitor expectations of quality products and services. Tourism is an essentially a service industry, which means it depends on the competence of people in many different jobs and locations (Cultural Heritage Tourism, 1993).
Defining Heritage tourism
Prof. Dr. IgePırnarexplained Heritage tourism as a comprehensive concept that consists of many diverse values like cultural, natural, historical, architectural, archaeological, and geological values. Heritage is a mirror of different ways of lives and habits, in other words, different cultures and eras of the mankind and the society they live in. A well-preserved heritage enables communities to learn about their cultural history truly and chronologically (Pırnar).
Potential Impact of Heritage Tourism
A recent study by the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism revealed that nearly 15.4 million of the overseas travelers to the U.S. were cultural heritage travelers. Growth of cultural heritage visitors outpaced average growth of all overseas arrivals to the United States (14% and 11%, respectively). Since 2004, the number of CHV travelers increased from 10.6 million (68.7% of the market) to the current 15.4 million or 71.2 percent of all overseas visitors. The rapid expansion of travelers seeking cultural experiences has helped heritage tourism become one of the leading motivations for people to travel. Cities and towns across America are discovering how well the preservation of historic, cultural, and natural resources combines with tourism to sustain local economies. Heritage tourism creates jobs, provides new business opportunities, helps protect natural resources, and improves the quality of life for residents. As one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry, heritage tourism can be an effective tool to generate jobs, income, tax revenues, diversify local economies, and improve the local quality of life (Foresite Consulting,LLC, 2014).
According to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, heritage tourists tend to spend more money than other tourists in the U.S. These tourists’ trips tend to last longer and are more likely than other tourists’ trips to include both air travel and car rentals, both of which are indicative of greater economic tourism impacts (Foresite Consulting,LLC, 2014)
Characteristics of Heritage Tourists
According to a study By the U.S. Travel Association (formerly the Travel Industry Association), 81% of tourists (those who went on a trip of at least 50 miles from home) engaged in at least one heritage tourism activity and 21% of these travelers are frequent heritage tourists, making more than three such history/culture-related trips per year. Most heritage tourists also undertook their trip specifically because of historical or cultural events or attractions. Most heritage tourists traveled by automobile, most stayed overnight during their trip, and most had planned their trip within only one month of actually taking it. As far as information sources for heritage tourism trips, most found out about their destinations via word of mouth, followed by Internet-based sources. About 40% of heritage tourists fell into the 35 to 54 year-old age group and more than 30% of heritage tourists have an annual household income above $75,000. Over 30% have a household that includes children (Foresite Consulting,LLC, 2014).
Heritage and Tourism
Cultural heritage sites and places represent a huge and varied collection of human creation across the entire globe and the entire span of human history. With the enormous growth of knowledge, increasing mobility and the increased accessibility of travel there is widespread curiosity about other places and a huge demand to visit and personally experience other societies. As a result the vast majority of cities, towns, villages and settled landscapes experience some form of tourism activity (Sustainable Development Of Tourism ).
The tourism and cultural sectors have emerged worldwide as leaders in the revitalization of redundant buildings and open spaces for contemporary purposes, providing opportunities for sustaining traditional and contemporary cultural values. Historic buildings and open spaces that are left abandoned are at risk of physical decay or redevelopment, and represent a loss of opportunity to revitalize structures that contribute to the identity of a community and its social traditions. Hotels, restaurants, offices, shopping precincts and revitalized urban wastelands complement art galleries, museums and performance venues for their re-use or revitalization of heritage places as creative and attractive venues for tourists and local residents alike (Sustainable Development Of Tourism ).
As tourists are becoming more stylish, their requirements to recapture the past have been increasing. Tourists have been visiting heritage sites more frequently. Heritage tourism offers several benefits to tourists and residents, as well as governments. From this study, it has been underlined that the identification of tourist’s characteristics and an investigation of the relationship between the attributes and tourist’s satisfaction are necessary.
It is argued that such research efforts would help tourism consultants and planners to have a better thoughtful understanding of heritage tourism and to formulate better strategy and planning about heritage tourism within the country. According to the research about and increase of heritage tourism, residents will become better informed about local/regional history and traditions which can be shared among tourists. Heritage tourism builds closer, stronger societies. Economic benefits include: the formation of new jobs in the travel industry, at heritage attractions, and in travel-related establishments; economic diversification in the service industry (such as restaurants, hotels/motel), manufacturing, and agriculture encouragement of local ownership of small businesses; advanced property values; increased retail sales; and extensive tax revenues.Likewise, the study categorized high-satisfaction and high expectation attributes, high-satisfaction and low expectation attributes, low-satisfaction and high expectation attributes, and low-satisfaction and low-expectation attributes through expectation- satisfaction analysis. As this classification will help tourism marketers and planners to maintain or enhance their powers and improve their weaknesses. And, the study recommends that marketers should make presentations and interpretations of the heritage destination by using multimedia in order to improve low-expectation attributes.
To conclude, in order to create useful marketing strategies for products and services in the heritage tourism market, a better understanding of tourists who visit to the heritage destinations is essential.