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Growth and Development of Heritage and Cultural Industry

Analyse the growth and development of the heritage and cultural industry with special reference to UK.Discuss potential conflicts in the conservation of heritage and cultural resources referring to the case studies. Assess the purpose of heritage and cultural attractions in meeting the needs of different customers.Evaluate the impact of different types of ownership on the management of heritage and cultural sites. Analyse roles and responsibilities of organisations in the heritage and cultural industry.Evaluate methods and media used for interpretation within the heritage and cultural industry for tourists.

Introduction

Culture can be defined as the day to day traditions, norms and attitudes of a particular society that one is born in or living in. Over a period of time, cultural values may experience change and vary from other societies & surroundings; they may change when an individual involves itself with norms of another place or society. Thus, it can be said that culture is capable of changing with the continue evolvement of technology and industries. However, unlike culture, heritage is incapable of this change. Heritage can be defined as any property or ethic traits that one inherits or is born with. Our heritage is merely reflected in our culture which is nothing but our external display of attitudes and values.

Cultural heritage can be defined as the development of “way of living” by communities that are passed on from one generation to the other; this may be in the form of places, objects, beliefs, values, practices, customs, artistic expressions etc. It is important to understand that cultural heritage is a rather wide concept that can be expressed through various terms such as tangible & intangible cultural heritage (Schweitzer, 2007). Similarly, heritage can come in several forms i.e. in the form of natural environments, built environments or artefacts. One needs to understand that the driving force behind the various definitions of cultural heritage remains the need of humans to inform; cultural heritage is simply a creation of humans that simply intends to inform.

In order to have a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage, one should be able to recognize cultural heritage as a concept that cannot only be expressed through tangible forms such as landscapes, buildings or artefacts but also through traditions, values, oral history & voices. These are occasionally referred to as the forms of intangible cultural heritage. Several cultures gain popularity from the cuisine they serve, the clothing fashion, religious ceremonies, forms of shelter, traditional skills, storytelling, technologies used or performing arts. The protection and conservation of both tangible and intangible forms has become of utmost importance to nations across the globe since both are inextricably bound to each other.

The following report aims to discuss the role of heritage and culture within the travel and tourism sector (Nasser, 2003). It aims to provide an understanding of the organisations that are involved in management of heritage and considers the development & growth of cultural and heritage industry. For this reason, the report also looks into the potential conflicts that exist within the industry and how technology has influenced this industry.

Potential Conflicts in Conserving Heritage and Culture

Heritage and culture have become essential tools for economic development that allow for economic growth via attraction of visitors other than the ones residing within the host community. The historical, scientific & artistic values offered by a group, region or community, often play a vital role in attracting or motivating its visitors to visit. In other words, such travels are simply encouraged by the cultural environment, natural environments such as landscapes, special lifestyles, values & traditions and the visual & performing arts, of a given region (McCain, 2003).

.A region’s cultural heritage may include of natural heritage in the form of landscapes, national parks, coastlines, wildlife, habits, woodlands which indirectly work as attractions for visitors. Similarly, regions also consist of constructed heritage; this simply refers to the built environment within a given community, for instance, museums, historical monuments, sculptures, artefacts, industrial heritage, archaeological sites, transports, theme sites etc. (McCain, 2003). Thus, it is important to understand that cultural heritage overall has a very positive effect on the development of a community. An attractive historic environment is known to be an effective source of benefit especially when attracting external investment in the form of tourism.

Research tells u s that the growth of heritage and cultural industry in the UK, over the years, has immensely contributed to the country’s economy. As per the Deloitte Report (2008), an approximate amount of 86 billion Euros is directly retrieved through tourism while approximately 1.36 million jobs are supported (Nasser, 2003). In other words, it can be said that heritage and cultural tourism has significantly resulted in various benefits and is highly essential for the sustainment of UK’s economy. In UK, heritage and cultural tourism has become the 5th largest industry due to its vibrant and rich heritage. As per reports, it was revealed that a large number of visitors visiting UK, arrive in the country due to reasons such as history, pageantry, culture and heritage. Thus, suggesting the importance of heritage and culture to the country’s economy and sustainability.

The Heritage Lottery Fund report from 2009, suggests an increase of 50% in the number of visitors visiting the country. In reference to a research conducted through survey, it was identified that approximately 73% of the respondents said that are highly likely to visit monuments, buildings, castles when en route to UK. Similarly, 63% of the respondents were highly motivated by the museums, churches, cathedrals & the locations that were associated with the Royal family & monarchy.

Tourism is regarded as a positive force that ensures conservation of natural and cultural heritage existing within the host community. We know that tourism has become an essential element when ensuring economical development and success and has several dimensions to it; these may include of cultural, economic, ecological, aesthetic, social, educational and biophysical dimensions. At times, it becomes difficult to achieve any beneficial and successful interaction between the vistor’s expectations and aspirations; the host communities may also present tourists with potential challenges. Since, natural and cultural heritage operate as major attractions for the purpose of tourism, any poorly or mismanaged tourism may threaten the integrity, characteristics or physical nature of these attractions (McCain, 2003).. Similarly, over a period time, the culture, ecological setting and lifestyle of the host community may degrade resulting in further degradation of quality of experience aimed for tourists or visitors. Several potential conflicts arise when conserving heritage and culture such that in the case of conserving the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Reports suggest that, the world’s largest museum i.e. Victoria & Albert Museum that houses approximately 4.5 million objects and spreads over 12.5 acres, similar to other tourist spots, also is on the verge of being threatened by the increasing growth within the tourism sector (Schweitzer, 2007).. As previously mentioned several potential conflicts continue to arise when establishing appropriate conservation of heritage and culture. Some of these conflicts may arise due to the lack of communication and presentation of the importance of the place, to both, the host community and the visitors. In such cases, this may hinder the development any government, public or political funding or support for the purpose of conserving and protecting the place.

Additionally, development of tourism in the host community may adversely impact and impose unacceptable changes in the integrity, ecology & biodiversity, physical characteristics, culture, economic and local transportation system. For this reason, proper and appropriate integration of protection and management laws is required at both, regional and national level. Furthermore, often tourism programmes are based on insufficient understanding of the complexity of significance of a given tourist spot; this can lead to reduced authenticity and appreciation of the place (Evans, 2008). This imbalance in the program may disrupt the accurate presentation & interpretation of the place’s intangible aspects and cultural expression, further resulting in educating tourists with a narrowed sense of understanding of the host community’s cultural heritage. It is important to understand that heritage communication is of utmost importance and that several issues arise when delivering successful and effective heritage communication. For this reason, well trained staffs is required to be recruited together, further complicating the hiring process and giving rise to conflicts regarding who or who not to hire, how or how not to train employs etc.

Further adding to the above, conflicts arise when it comes to employment. As previously mentioned, tourism provides financial support to several individuals which in turn effects the nation’s economy. Often, conflicts arise when integrating a professional system to train its employees. Similarly, conflicts arise when such opportunities are proposed to individuals who may not necessarily belong to the host community. In cases where interpreters and guides from outside the hosting community are used, the employment opportunities for local residents become minimal which often discourages local community from taking any interest in conserving and caring for their own cultural heritage. This may also result in outburst within the host community which may not necessarily be supportive of the government’s take on developing tourism and promoting culture. Similarly, there may be cases where distribution, sale and promotion of local products may be neglected, causing the local community to experience degradation of social, economic and cultural integrity. Again, they may become unsupportive of the plans that the government imposes, further making it difficult for tourism to develop within the region, similar to that of in the case of Victoria & Albert Museum.

The core purpose of museums like the Science and V&A museum is collection management, outreach & research. Most of museums provide organisations with a chance to carry out research in natural sciences and display education programs. But above all, they mainly serve the purpose of collecting collections that have been passed down from countless generations above. These collections may of memories of communities, or individuals in both tangible and intangible forms; it is of utmost importance to ensure their preservation for the future generations.

Heritage places can be used as educational resources for individuals, allowing them to learn about the place’s history and understanding the uniqueness of their culture (Nasser, 2003). The Science Museum and Vitoria & Albert Museum, apart from their conventional purpose of conserving and preserving cultural heritage, also serve the purpose of educating their visitors with the uniqueness of the cultural norms with UK. The two museums allow cultural promotion and allow visitors from outside the host community to understand the intangible aspects related to the cultural norms of their society.

In other words, it can be said that museums exemplify the scientific reasons behind conservation. It is important to note that even this requires specific skills that allow appropriate capture of conservation levels. Conservation an be regarded as both, an art and a science. Museums may not be considered as profitable organisations however their collections hold immense value; it allows the nation to conserve its valued pieces, for the rest of the world to see and appreciate. They allow preservation of an object’s original and authentic composition which in turn prompts research.

Additionally, the Science and V&A Museum serve the purpose of entertaining its visitors. Often tourists visit such places for the reasons of entertainment. The knowledge served by such heritage centres allows visitors to experience culture through a medium different than the conventional books and newspapers (Schweitzer, 2007). The live experience is enjoyed and appreciated by most. For instance, several educational institutes organize day trips to museums for students; such trips are seen as sources of entertainment and allow educational institutes to stir away from the conventional means of educating students. This effort made by educational institutes is encouraged not only by government but also individuals residing within the host community, since it allows the host community to share their experiences and cultural norms with the rest and help promote their sense of tradition and culture with its visitors.

Cultural Heritage management refers to the practice and act of managing cultural heritage. In the recent years, emphasize on the protection and identification of cultural sites has been increased; there is a focus on encompassing concepts of culture that are inseparable from the host community. It is important to understanding that use of heritage sites is a major factor ensuring sustainability within communities and often leads to increased values within the community and social communication. Heritage places can be used as educational resources for individuals, allowing them to learn about the place’s history and understanding the uniqueness of their culture (European Commission, 2002). The Science Museum and Vitoria & Albert Museum, apart from their conventional purpose of conserving and preserving cultural heritage, also serve the purpose of educating their visitors with the uniqueness of the cultural norms with UK

Research suggests that several issues in relation to cultural heritage have become apparent; most of these issues are related to the political, religious and economic aspects of tourism and the business of heritage (Santagata, 2002).. Though, it should be noted that these changes however left very little impact on the UK governmental policies regarding cultural heritage. In addition, it was noticed that NGOs had begun to take interest in the decision making policies regarding the regional heritage policies. The continuous development of hierarchies among the heritage sites such as local heritage national heritage and world heritage resulted in several controversies regarding who will ownership of heritage sites i.e. whether there would be an institutional control or public control and if there were any possibilities of scholarly research possibilities. It is important to understand that the future of the cultural heritage of a society is highly dependent on how it is preserved, developed and conserved for the long term.

Ownership refers to the act or state of possessing something; in the case of cultural heritage, it is quite difficult to establish the ownership since technically there is no particular person who could be in charge; hence, organisations would have to do the work. Though, with the recent controversies it is rather difficult to establish who to give the charge; should they be controlled by the public or institutes and at what level i.e. at national or regional level etc. In case, of ownership it is necessary to ensure that the ownership is in the right hands, since the nations cultural heritage is at stake (Hall, 2001). Before deciding on the ownership, it is of utmost importance that the certain points of consideration are taken into account. For instance, a comparative analysis should be conducted, where the state support system is compared with other alternative funding sources. It should be taken into account the influence of administration of the public on the cultural heritage along with all the decision making and policy making processes that are involved. Similarly, the control of community and institutes on the cultural heritage should be considered i.e. their management and protection policies.

Heritage conventions such as the World Heritage Convention or ICOMOS play a vital role in managing the risks that tourism may cause to the Cultural Heritage. In 1972, a convention regarding the protecting of world’s natural and cultural heritage was adopted by UNESCO. This organisation ensures protection, identification, preservation and conservation of the irreplaceable heritages in the world (European Commission, 2002). ICOMOS happens to be one of the three bodies of the World heritage convention that functions as an advisory body and ensures implementation of the convention. It is responsible for evaluating all nominated properties against the basic criteria of having an outstanding universal value.

All states or parties involved in ensuring identification, protection, conservation and presentation of cultural heritage, recognise the important to safeguarding heritage for the future for which several resources are used. Such organisations work towards:

  • Adopting a universal policy that allows all natural and cultural heritages to contribute as a relevant function in the host community’s life along with integrating all means of protection into their planning programs.
  • Undertaking any appropriate scientific, administrative, legal technical and financial measure when required for the purpose of protecting, conserving, presenting, rehabilitating and identifying heritage.
  • Retaining from any deliberate measure that may directly or indirectly cause damage to the natural and cultural heritage of the other parties involved with the convention; it becomes they responsibility to help other parties in identifying and protecting their properties (European Commission, 2002).

Some of the roles outlined or stated in the objectives of ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter include the following:

  • Ensuring and encouraging all those who are involved in the management of protection and conservation of heritage, to successfully and appropriately communicate the significance of the heritage to its visitors and host community. In other words, it emphasizes the need of accurate heritage communication.
  • Ensuring and encouraging all tourism industries that are involved in the identification, preservation, protection and conservation of heritage to appropriately manage and promote tourism in a way such that it respects and enhances the culture and heritage of the host community.
  • Ensuring and encouraging communication among tourism industries and conservation interest regarding the significance and fragility of heritage collections, places and cultures. The need for establishing a sustainable future for these collections should be conveyed adequately and worked on effectively.
  • Ensuring and encouraging the formulation of policies and plans that allow detailed development of all strategies and goals regarding the appropriate presentation and interpretation of the cultural heritage activities and places, in terrns of conservation and preservation (ERBD, 2003).

Additionally,

  • It ensures and encourages others with any relevant interests, obligations and responsibilities to join the organisation and help achieve the outline objectives.
  • It ensures and encourages other organisations along with the tourism industries involved to maintain the integrity of the conversation and management system of cultural heritage.
  • It ensures and encourages all the interested parties to formulate a detailed guideline that allows them to implement principles to particular stances or any requirements by particular communities and organisations (ERBD, 2003).

Due to the continous increasing demands of visitors, organisations have begun to focus and emphasis on providing high quality tourism experiences rather than products causing the significance of education and interpretation to rise. It is important to understand that being able to interpret the attractions, stories, history and products of tourism has become an exceptionally important aspect of providing visitors and tourists with a great and positive experience along with becoming a significant educational tool. One should note that education and interpretation can be achieved through use of various methods such as use of self-guided or guided tours, informative brochures, signage, audio information, media displays, interactive displays and information boards.

From research conducted on the how to use effective designs to deliver accurate interpretation and education programs and other facilities suggests that:

  • All the information that is required to interpreted and used for the purpose of education should be specific and targeted; it should align with the expectations and demands of the customer, any business, attraction or service.
  • In order to provide visitors with an entertaining and informative means of communication information, interpretive programs that are interactive in nature should be taken up.
  • Several technologies such as ICI technologies are not being used as a means of effective communication with visitors and providing them with all relevant information. These technologies are available for the purpose of disseminating any visitor information. And can be demonstrated using audio-information techniques!
  • The staff recruited for this purpose should be highly trained and should posses customer service skills; they should always remains prepared with strategies that allow communication and promotion of the importance of the cultural heritage being discussed. (Council of Europe, 2007).

In context of Heritage and Cultural industry, methods such as self-guided or guided tours, informative brochures, signage, audio information, media displays, interactive displays and information boards, are of utmost importance since they provide visitors with a positive experience that they will take back with them. The use of such medium is highly essential in effectively communicating the true essence of the culture being promoted. For instance, use of brochures for the purpose of educating visitors, is highly effective; organisations can choose what information to put and ensure that the true values of the heritage are being communicated across (Evans, 2008). This avoids any misinterpretation of the cultural heritage, allowing the host community to stir off any of their worries.

Similarly, media approaches used, allow effective interpretation and education of the information that is being communicated. Media advertisements catch the true essence of the heritage being promoted and culture being depicted; they allow organisations to put forward the true image that host communities have in their minds, of their heritage. Thus, allowing for accurate and positive interpretation of the cultural values and traditions of the heritage being discussed. These approaches allow organisations to truly show the world and its visitors, who they really are and what their norms are all about.

Conclusion

Cultural heritage can be defined as the development of “way of living” by communities that are passed on from one generation to the other; this may be in the form of places, objects, beliefs, values, practices, customs, artistic expressions etc. In order to have a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage, one should be able to recognize cultural heritage as a concept that cannot only be expressed through tangible forms such as landscapes, buildings or artefacts but also through traditions, values, oral history & voices (Santagata, 2002).. These are occasionally referred to as the forms of intangible cultural heritage. Several cultures gain popularity from the cuisine they serve, the clothing fashion, religious ceremonies, forms of shelter, traditional skills, storytelling, technologies used or performing arts. The protection and conservation of both tangible and intangible forms has become of utmost importance to nations across the globe since both are inextricably bound to each other.

Heritage and culture have become essential tools for economic development that allow for economic growth via attraction of visitors other than the ones residing within the host community (Schweitzer, 2007). .A region’s cultural heritage may include of natural heritage in the form of landscapes, national parks, coastlines, wildlife, habits, woodlands which indirectly work as attractions for visitors. Similarly, regions also consist of constructed heritage; this simply refers to the built environment within a given community, for instance, museums, historical monuments, sculptures, artefacts, industrial heritage, archaeological sites, transports, theme sites etc.

The historical, scientific & artistic values offered by a group, region or community, often play a vital role in attracting or motivating its visitors to visit. In other words, such travels are simply encouraged by the cultural environment, natural environments such as landscapes, special lifestyles, values & traditions and the visual & performing arts, of a given region. Thus, it is important to understand that cultural heritage overall has a very positive effect on the development of a community. An attractive historic environment is known to be an effective source of benefit especially when attracting external investment in the form of tourism.

Tourism is regarded as a positive force that ensures conservation of natural and cultural heritage existing within the host community. We know that tourism has become an essential element when ensuring economical development and success and has several dimensions to it; these may include of cultural, economic, ecological, aesthetic, social, educational and biophysical dimensions (Santagata, 2002). Research tells u s that the growth of heritage and cultural industry in the UK, over the years, has immensely contributed to the country’s economy. As per the Deloitte Report (2008), an approximate amount of 86 billion Euros is directly retrieved through tourism while approximately 1.36 million jobs are supported. In other words, it can be said that heritage and cultural tourism has significantly resulted in various benefits and is highly essential for the sustainment of UK’s economy.

The core purpose of museums like the Science and V&A museum is collection management, outreach & research. Most of museums provide organisations with a chance to carry out research in natural sciences and display education programs. But above all, they mainly serve the purpose of collecting collections that have been passed down from countless generations above. In other words, it can be said that museums exemplify the scientific reasons behind conservation. It is important to note that even this requires specific skills that allow appropriate capture of conservation levels

References

  • Council of Europe. Cultural Routes. 2007.
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD).2003. “Property andTourism,”
  • European Commission. 2002. Using Natural and Cultural Heritage for the Develoipment of Sustainable Tourism in Non-Traditional Tourism Destinations .
  • European Institute of Cultural Routes.2007.
  • Evans, Graeme. 2008. “Hard-branding the cultural city – from Prado to Prada.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research,
  • Hall, D.R. 2001. “Tourism and development in communist and post-communist societies.” In Tourism, and the Less Developed World: Issues and Case Studies, New York: CABI Publishing UK
  • McCain, G., Nina M. R. 2003. “Legacy Tourism: the Search for Personal Meaning in Heritage Travel.” Tourism Management
  • Nasser, Noha. 2003. “Planning for Urban Heritage Places: Reconciling Conservation, Tourism, and Sustainable Development.” Journal of Planning Literature .
  • Santagata, Walter. 2002. “Cultural Districts, Property Rights and Sustainable Economic Growth.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
  • Schweitzer, Carole.2007. “Cultural Tourism: the Hot Ticket to Cool Meetings. Association Management
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