Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism development in Syria | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

Библиографическое описание:

Алгафри М. А. Cultural heritage and sustainable tourism development in Syria [Текст] // Экономическая наука и практика: материалы VII Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Краснодар, февраль 2019 г.). — Краснодар: Новация, 2019. — С. 42-45. — URL https://moluch.ru/conf/econ/archive/323/14780/ (дата обращения: 26.05.2019).



The aim of this paper is to examine the threats and risks from tourism impacts. Its tries to evaluate tourism sector in Syria. Its attempted to determine the importance of sustainable tourism in tourist destinations. The most challenging and demanding task is to mobilize societies at tourist destinations to review the course of development pursued and attempt to steer it towards desirable patterns.

Keywords: sustainable tourism, cultural heritage, management, tourism destination, tourism development, challenges, Syria.

Tourism is a dynamic human activity based on the need of modern society for recreation and leisure. Rising incomes and increasing availability of time for leisure have been at the basis of tourism growth in the last fifty years [8,20]. Tourism is changing as a consequence of broader social and economic changes. Globalization and the opening up of world markets have brought-in distant markets and new destinations as well as increasing competition among tourist destinations. Technological advances in informatics and transport led organizational changes in the supply of services which lowered costs of travel and spurred an “explosion” in demand [1]. Modern tourism is affected by changing social values. As societies turn back towards basic values, tourists become more sensitive to social, cultural, and environmental issues [4]. Contemporary tourists are becoming more individualistic, seeking the satisfaction of their own special interests leading to the development of special types of tourism such as eco-tourism, adventure tourism, health and, business travel and tourism, cultural tourism, etc. [19]. The richness and diversity of cultural attractions offer strong competitive advantages to attract potential visitors [15]. More and more destinations are concentrating on actively seeking to develop a broad range of leisure and recreation opportunities, offering a local lifestyle, the “experience of a place”. Culture and cultural heritage have a central role in this context [16].

Tourism development in Syria. As a complex of economic activities, tourism has multiple linkages to other economic activities but also multiple impacts on the economy, society, and the environment. Tourism has an intricate relationship to natural and cultural heritage as it depends on the availability and quality of such resources while at the same time tourism may lead to their degradation, ultimately eroding the potential for sustaining tourism [2,7]. In this sense tourism is at the center of interest in the search for sustainability and a priority field in policy making at local, regional, national, supranational, and international level. At a national level, it contributes to the balance of payments but also provides employment and investments for construction, transport, trade, etc. At a local/regional level it offers opportunities for employment and income spurring regional and local economic development [5,14]. Tourism, however, may also have significant negative impacts on cultural heritage. The wear and tear (physical impacts) on monuments from visitors, noise, pollution and waste (environmental), congestion, rising costs of services, land use change and competition economic, “commercialization of culture,” “loss of tradition” and other effects (socio-cultural) are often cited as evidence of the negative impacts from tourism [3,9]. A central issue in tourism destination competitiveness is mitigating the impacts of tourism as some times the negative impacts from tourism on a destination might have negative feedback effects on the tourist activity itself, particularly when these impacts affect the very basis of its growth and existence, the tourist assets and tourist experience [11,17]. It became also apparent that a pro-active policy is necessary to anticipate and take into consideration the impacts, the social, economic and environmental aspects of tourism development and their interactions, evidenced in terms of spatial development patterns. Anticipating and managing the impacts of tourism and its growth became a central issue in national, regional, and local policy making [11]. Political stability and safety are prerequisite for tourism in any place in the world. In the Syrian context, the ongoing war against terrorism has had its immediate and potentially long –lasting impacts that have led tourists to reconsider their decision to travel. The tourism sector in Syria is facing a significant challenge to revamp the industry during and in the post-war crisis. Many questions arise here of how the government can regain its image and reduce the immediate and future effect of the crisis. Unfortunately, the flourishing tourism industry started to decline dramatically after the unrest in January 2011, which turned into a real political crisis in March 2011 until present. The result of this war was ruinous both to the tourism industry and the heritage. This instability mutated the image of Syria into that of a bloody battlefield. The ongoing war in Syria since 2011 has taken its toll on the economy, and the country’s travel and tourism industry has been a major causality of it. The beautiful image of Syria as a safe destination switched to a bloody battlefield, since the war has been raging on almost all the country. As consequences, the number of tourist arrivals has fallen by 64 percent in 2011 compared to the same period of 2010, since the majorities of source countries of inbound tourism have imposed travel bans to Syria and called their citizens to leave it. In the SWOT analysis, shows the positive and negative of the tourism management and development, in addition to know the facilities and services (Table 1).

Table 1

SWOT Analysis Tourism Management and Development in Syria

STRENGTH

WEAKNESS

OPPORTUNITY

THREATS

There are six archaeological and tourism sites has been inscribed in world heritage list

Destruction of many historical, archaeological, tourism sites due to the crisis

The existence of friendly relations between the Syrian government and regional, global powers such as Russia, China, India and Iran

Unplanned development, which will compromise the authenticity and integrity of the tourism sector.

There are so much of archaeological sites

The Weak of training specialized cadres in the tourism sector.

The existence of successful management policies (in the field of banking networks) by providing financial and monetary services and granting financial and tax exemptions to investors in the field of tourism

The continued migration of capital and social elite such as university professors (in the field of tourism and heritage) because of the crisis

There are religions sites can develop the religion tourism

Decentralization of institutional work in the field of tourism

The crisis was a reason for Syria to become known to all at the international level

Continued international sanctions imposed on Syria and the loss of opportunity to rebuild the country and develop of tourism

Cultural richness such as ethnic diversity, religion and language

Lack of the study on carrying capacity of the tourism property.

The existence of a strong national intention to cooperate in order to lift the damage caused by the crisis and achieve tourism development

The tourism sector is likely to stagnate due to the continued shortage of tourists and the loss of jobs in this area

The existence of a high cultural and social absorption capacity of the Syrian society to receive foreign tourism

The inability of tourists to access international cash networks (such as Visa and MasterCard)

Lower prices for goods and services Syrian tourism gives a competitive edge for neighboring countries

Lack of funding for the tourism sector due to higher priority sectors such as health and education

The existence of an auxiliary legal structure to attract the capital invested and encourage the arrival of tourism

The lack of investment in sector of tourism

The return of a large part of the Syrian immigrants after the end of the crisis completely and thus strengthen the economic and social structure and stimulate tourism in the country

Strong competition from the tourist markets of neighboring countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Israel)

Geographical and regional diversity (mountains, coasts, wades, forests)

Destruction of a large part of the infrastructure and public facilities (roads, airports, railways, telecommunications facilities, etc).

The existence of national plans for the development of transport infrastructure.

The establishment of Tourism board at the national level.

The possibility of re-strengthening hostile armed forces in the country

Mediterranean climate and unique sand beaches.

Availability of communication facilities.

Availability of airport and other infrastructure.

Variety of heritage.

Lack of security in parts of the country due to the crisis.

Lack of educational facilities and public programs.

More restaurants and hotels needed with quality service provision.

Poor environmental hygiene.

Readily available visitors including tourists, students and the public. -Peaceful and quiet atmosphere.

Outstanding landscape dotted with layers of history and great beauty.

Reasonably good infrastructure.

Well established transport system.

Availability of information from research.

Availability of visitors who speak more than one language.

The impact of the international media negatively in talking about the Syrian crisis and thus to find a negative image of Syria in the mind of the tourists.

Regular and unexpected entrance fee increase, which discourage tourism.

Overpricing of products.

[by author]

Sustainable development and tourism. A major concern of modern societies is to face the negative effects from growth and the development of human activities on the environment leading to protection policies. It became apparent though that development prospects depend to a great extent on environmental resources and that environmental protection is essential not only on ethical grounds but also because natural systems are essential components of man-environment interaction. Resource protection is essential for the long-term support of human activity and the quality of life in cities, and rural areas is directly linked to environmental quality [19]. There is still no wide agreement on how to make sustainable development operational [6, 18]. In the above context, sustainable tourism development is directly linked to protecting and managing the natural and cultural environment as a basis for social and economic development. In recent years there is a growing concern with the side effects of economic development policies enriching environmental policy by focusing on general social issues as well such as production and consumption patterns. This brings social responsibility of the individual and the various actors/stakeholders at the forefront of environmental and development policy agendas [10]. Tourism and protection of cultural heritage can be seen as parts of a broader strategy for sustainable development, recognizing their interdependence in a long term view. Culture and cultural heritage are essential resources for tourism and should be managed in a way to protect and enhance their value while tourism should be developed in respect of such resources [12]. The impacts of tourism on cultural resources become of central concern in policy making shifting the focus of tourism management at the local level where such impacts are evident.

Tourism destination management. In the case of tourism, in particular, although it is a global phenomenon and the industry is adapting to increasing economic globalization forces, the impacts of tourism are mostly evident at the local/regional level [9]. Managing these impacts falls within the competencies of local/regional authorities (i.e., infrastructure development, land-use regulation, environmental impact assessment, etc.) and tourism becomes increasingly integrated in local area community management. Even from a narrow sectorial point of view a lot of interest in recent tourism management literature focuses on “destination management” [6, 13]. The concept of tourism carrying capacity reflects an increasing concern that tourism cannot grow forever in a place without causing irreversible damages to the local system, whether expressed in social, economic or environmental (in the wide sense, including the built environment) terms [18]. Should therefore be limits of tourism development (size, intensity, etc.) in a place?. The relationship between tourism and cultural resources can be seen within this context as well. The concept of carrying capacity can be interpreted and used in many ways. For some types of destinations, such as archaeological sites, museums, monuments, etc., the interpretation of capacity can be related to crowding, that is the number of people present at a given period of time. So, tourism carrying capacity can be the maximum number of people who can use a site without causing an unacceptable alteration to the physical environment (natural and man-made) and without an unacceptable decline in the quality of the experience gained by visitors. When applied to a larger and more complex area (an island, an historic settlement or town, a region, etc.) the concept may acquire a broader significance so as to express a maximum acceptable tourist development (number of beds, hotels, etc.) on the basis of the function of the area and the conditions of its key cultural resources or infrastructure. Furthermore, it can be used in a variety of functions and at various stages in planning and policy making (assessment, goal identification, alternative strategy formulation, awareness raising, consensus building, etc.). Choices have to be made on the basis of local capacities to cope with tourism, its impacts and associated threats and risks. This entails a realistic assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from tourism growth and development in the context of sustainable development. Destinations would have to become competitive by adopting a coherent strategy to maintain the level of development and use without serious environmental deterioration, social and economic problems or decreasing the perceived tourist enjoyment of the area [3, 20].

Conclusion. The quest for a coherent, multi-dimensional and long-term strategy for managing tourism at a destination in a perspective of sustainable development is essential. Managing tourism and its impacts on cultural heritage is a central concern of such strategy which, however, often transcends local capacities to cope with complex issues. It imposes a heavy organizational burden on local community structures, which might not have the capacity to face such a challenge. Local tourism destination management requires the establishment of governance mechanisms that is, processes and procedures of bringing in the various “interests” and actors to develop and adopt a common strategy towards tourism and cultural heritage on the basic principles of sustainable development [7]. The imposition of limits may be desirable but also entails the dangers of marginalization of the destination due to competition, unless it is used as part of a broader strategy to upgrade and/or differentiate the tourist product. Several key issues are involved in a decision to adopt a strategy towards sustainable tourism: What conditions and problems drive a tourist destination to decide to adopt such a strategy? What is the policy focus, Increasing competitiveness or Sustainable De-elopement? What is the functional relationship between planning and destination management? Is the local society ready to support such endeavor? Are there critical factors? What is the role of weaknesses and threats in visioning? In Syria there is obviously a wide diversity of tourism destinations (size and type of activity, phase of development, tourism pressures, etc.), a diversity of cultural heritage resources as well as related institutional regimes regarding their protection and a diversity of policy responses (policy frameworks). More and more the focus of tourism policy is shifting towards the local level, instituting a tourism destination management system. The basic stages of such process include: identification of conflicts/opportunities, adoption of goals and objectives, development of a strategic plan and a plan of action, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

References:

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2. Coccossis, H. and P. Nijkamp. Planning for our Heritage Avebury, Aldershot / H. Coccossis, P. Nijkamp. 1995. P. 34.

3. Coccossis, H. Mexa, A. Tourism Carrying Capacity Assessment Ashgate/ H. Coccossis, A. Mexa. 2004. P. 67.

4. Darko, B. Social responsible heritage management — empowering citizens to act as heritage managers // B. Darko, Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2015. 188. p. 27- 34.

5. David, N. A. Xiaoli, L. E. Industry level analysis of tourism-economic growth in the United States // N. A. David, L. E. Xiaoli, Tourism Management. 2019. Vol. 70.P. 333–340

6. Dredge, D. Destination place planning and design // D. Dredge, Annals of Tourism Research. 1999. 26(4) p.772–791.

7. EC. Basic Orientations for the Sustainability of European Tourism Consultation Document Brussels. 2003. P. 42.

8. Fenda A. A. Strangers and Sierra Leone mining: cultural heritage and sustainable development challenges, A. A. Fenda // Journal of Cleaner Production. 2014. 84. p. 773- 782.

9. Garrod, B. Fyall, A. Managing Heritage Tourism // B. Garrod, A. Fyall, Annals of Tourism Research. 2000. Vol. 27, No. 3. P.682–706.

10. Gianluca, G.Lorenzo,M.Tonino,P. Rethinking sustainability in the tour-operating industry: Worldwide survey of current attitudes and behaviors // G. Gianluca, Lorenzo,M. Tonino, P. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2018. Vol.183. p.172–182.

11. Haywood, K. M. Responsible and responsive approach to tourism planning in the community// K. M. Haywood. Tourism Management. 1989. 9(2). p. 105–18.

12. Keitumetse, S. Sustainable development and cultural heritage management in Bostwana: toward sustainable community, sustainable development / S. Keitumetse. 2011. p55.

13. Kunkaew K. The Cultural Tourism Management under Context of World Heritage Sites: Stakeholders 'Opinions between Luang Prabang Communities, Laos and Muang-kao Communities, Sukhothai, Thailand // K. Kunkaew, Procedia Economics and Finance. 2015. 23. p. 1286–1295.

14. Michael D. D. Ground-Based Observations of Cultural Heritage Incidents in Syria and Iraq // D. D. Michael, American Schools of Oriental Research. 2015. Vol. 78, No. 3. p. 132- 141.

15. Pedersen, A. (2002). Managing tourism at world heritage sites: a practical manual for world heritage site managers series World heritage 1, UNESCO.

16. Priestley, G.K.; J.A., Edwards; and H. Coccossis. Sustainable Tourism? European Experiences CAB International Wallingford / G. K. Priestley, J.A., Edwards, H. Coccossis, UK.. 1996. P. 123.

17. Rui, S. Bill,D. Peter W. Cultural political economy and urban heritage tourism //S. Rui, D. Bill, W. Peter, Annals of Tourism Research. 2018. Vol. 68.p.30–40.

18. Wittmer, A., Riklim, T. advanced education in destination management and destination marketing / A.Wittmer, T. Riklim. institute for public services and tourism, university of St. Gallen, Switzerland. 2007. p. 76.

19. Wray, M, Dredge, D, and others. Sustainable tourism regional tourism destination: best practice for management, development and marketing, sustainable tourism (SRC) / M. Wray, D. Dredge, Australia, 2010. p. 10–13.

20. WTO (World Tourism Organization) (1998). Guide for Local Authorities on Developing Sustainable Tourism, WTO Madrid.

Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): SWOT, WTO, CAB, OPPORTUNITY, SRC, STRENGTH, THREATS, UNESCO, WEAKNESS.

Ключевые слова

management, sustainable tourism, cultural heritage, tourism destination, tourism development, challenges, Syria

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