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Management Strategies Of World Heritage Site In Mauritius Tourism Essay

2.1 Introduction

Growing interest in culture and heritage by tourists has led to such an increase in the number of visits to cultural heritage destinations in the world that cultural tourism has become one of the fastest-growing market segments in tourism. The preservation of cultural heritage through tourism receives more and more recognition and at the same time, collaboration and stakeholder involvement are increasingly used in the tourism development process (Aas, Ladkin and Fletcher, 1999, p. 29). Bramwell and Lane (2000) add that “collaboration and partnerships have come of age in the field of tourism”. Although it is understood that in order for conservation efforts to be sustainable, there is a need to work closely together with the local communities, site managers and other stakeholders (IMPACT, 2004), practice still shows that heritage management often does not involve any of the local counterparts (Imon, DiStefano & Yin, 2006; Taylor, 2006).

This chapter offers a literature review of the most important concepts related to the topic of the research upon the management of world heritage site. Firstly, some definitions of the basic terms used, such as cultural and heritage tourism. Then, it examines heritage management in depth, the main elements of the management and the challenges that managers have to face. Finally, the link between the management of built heritage and natural attractions and the key issues of this management is established. Within these issues conservation and protection by different bodies such as UNESCO, Local Community and stakeholders and also an empirical review management of another heritage site, are covered.

2.2 Heritage tourism

With growing economy, tourism is one of the biggest phenomena that the world is experiencing today. Heritage tourism is one of the significant commodities and a great marketing tool that has the power to influence all forms of tourism. Heritage tourism helps to understand and appreciate the past of a country. According to the World Heritage Council of 1996, they have put forward this definition for the word heritage, “heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today and what we pass on to the future generations”. Swanbrooke( 1994:222) state that tourism is based on heritage, where heritage is the core product that is offered , and heritage is the main motivating factor consumers.

A review of approaches to defining heritage tourism shows that this concept is extremely complex. Academic world has not yet found agreement over the issue of understanding the nature of Heritage tourism in a unified and specific way. Some studies have define Heritage tourism as leisure trip with the primary purpose of visiting historic, cultural, natural, recreational and scenic attractions to learn more about the past in an enjoyable way

Understanding of heritage can be all encompassing and features many viewpoints, such as visitor experience (Poria et al., 2001, 2003); supply and demand (Apostolopoulos and Gayle, 2002); and the perception of social, natural and cultural history (Christou, 2005). Some authors emphasize the importance of motivations of heritage tourists, who act in accordance with their perceptions of their own heritage (Poria et al., 2001). Heritage tourism is also described in terms of tangible objects and resources (Garrod and Fyall, 2001) and intangible experiences and elements of the culture of a social group or nation (Timothy and Boyd, 2002).

2.3 Cultural Heritage Tourism

During the 1990’s, cultural tourism was identified as one of the major future growth areas in tourism industry (Zeppel and Hall, 1992). This fast-growing segment of the industry attracts visitors who tend to stay longer, spend more, and travel in the off-season (Calhoun, 2000, p. 92). The growing proportion of cultural tourism within tourism, according to Richards (2001) is due to the fact that “more and more tourist attractions are now being defined as cultural”. Thus, it is hard to define the concepts of cultural tourism and cultural tourist since they have a broad sense.

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Cultural Heritage tourism is commonly regarded as tourism with the main purpose of viewing tangible representations such as historic and cultural elements of the built environment (e.g. colonial architecture, monuments, houses of worship) and the physical landscape, but also includes intangible components including myths, folksongs and value systems, for example (Halewood & Hannam, 2001: 566; Prentice, 1993: 8; Smith, 1989: 5; Timothy & Boyd, 2003: 4).

The term of cultural tourism is so broad that it covers concepts such as heritage, arts, creativity, urban, culture, rural culture, indigenous culture and popular culture. Attention will be paid to the heritage aspect of cultural tourism. After investigating cultural tourism, the subject will be narrowed down to concentrate on built heritage. Given the large variety of forms that cultural tourism can have, it is unrealistic to provide only one definition, as broad as it could be.

However, Richards (2001, p. 7) suggests that cultural tourism covers “not only the consumption of the cultural products of the past, but also of contemporary culture or the way of life of a people or a region. Cultural tourism therefore covers “heritage tourism” (related to artefacts of the past)”. Heritage tourism is widely concerned with the representation of the past.


2.4 World Heritage Site

UNESCO adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1972. The purpose of the convention is to ensure the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value. The outstanding universal value is translated into ten criteria for evaluating sites nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List. The Convention states that the World Heritage Committee (WHC) should coordinate the process of designating the sites through a system known as inscription, which includes an evaluation of the resources by experts against a set of known criteria. The aim of the inscription is to encourage conservation of the resources within designated sites and surrounding buffer zones on a local level and also to foster a sense of collective global responsibility via international 25 cooperation, exchange and support (Leask 2006). As of April 1, 2009, 186 countries are party to the Convention; 878 properties are inscribed on the list – 679 of which are cultural, 174 natural and 25 mixed (Engelhardt 2009).

Moreover, WHS are the testimony to the natural wealth of the earth and the cultural excellence of human kind. They represent the best and most important examples of our cultural and natural heritage. Hall and Piggin (2002: 402) stated that the bestowing of WHS status on a Heritage attraction is a ‘significant factor on the basis of the inherent qualities of the property’. Throughout the world there are natural and man-made heritage sites that are considered to have a very great importance to the humanity. By giving those sites an importance, we are protecting our most valuable heritage. According to the operational guidelines for the implementation of the World heritage convention, WHS can be classified as natural or man-made.

2.4.1 Natural Heritage site

“Natural Heritage” designates outstanding physical, biological and geological features; habitats of threatened plants or animal species and areas of value on scientific or aesthetic grounds or from a conservation perspective.

Types of natural heritage

Physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view.

Geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.

2.4.2 Cultural Heritage Site

“Cultural Heritage” designates a monument, group of buildings or site of historical, aesthetic, archaeological, scientific, ethnological or anthropological value.

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Types of Cultural Heritage:

Monuments: architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;

Groups of buildings: groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science;

Sites: works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view.

2.5 Impact of tourism on WHS

There has been an increasing interest in the impact of tourism on World Heritage Sites (WHSs) over the past 20 years. This is motivated in part by the commonly held view that World Heritage Listing increases visitor numbers. While the reality of this view is still subject to debate (Buckley, 2005), an expectation of substantial growth in tourist interest has been noted as a driving factor in recentWorld Heritage nominations (Jones & Munday, 2001; Rodwell, 2002).Impact is a change (whether environmental, economic or social change) in a given state over time as the result of external stimulus (Hall and Lew 2009). Tourism impacts, according to Ritchie and Goeldner (1994) and Mason (2003), include economic, social, and environmental impacts. In tourism, the impact of tourism is experienced in all elements of “tourism system”. Tourism system refers to various sectors involved in facilitating travel to and from a destination, and the inter-relationships between these sectors (Hall 2008). There are several approaches to analyzing tourism system. Tourism system from a geographical point of view includes four elements, i.e. generating region (the source region of the tourists); transit region or route (the region the tourist must travel through to reach their destination); destination region (the region that the tourist chooses to visit and where the most obvious impact of tourism occur); and the environment (encompassing the overall travel flows and with which the tourist interacts) (Hall 2008). There are two more approaches to tourism systems, one focuses on the supply and demand dimension of tourism, whereas the other one emphasizes the system’s functioning for particular stakeholder groups (ibid.). This particular study focuses on tourism impact occurring in the destination region.

According to Frechtling (1994), studying the economic impact of tourism means analyzing travel’s activity impact on resident wealth or income in a defined area. Stynes (1997), on the other hand, said that economic impact analysis of tourism traces the flows of spending associated with tourism activity in a region to identify changes in sales, tax, revenues, income and jobs due to tourism activity. Frechtling (1994) acknowledged that many studies of tourism’s economic impact emphasize on travel spending, similar to Stynes’ view above. However, Frechtling stresses that travel expenditure studies tend to obscure the impact on residents’ income and wealth because tourists’ spending sometimes has little to do with resident earnings and employment. Therefore, travel expenditures are best viewed as merely the initial monetary activity that stimulates the production process and initiates economic impact (ibid.)

2.6 The Management strategies of WHS

The management of WHSs was first addressed as a specific field of interest in 1993 by Fielden and Jokilehto in the Management Guidelines for World Cultural Heritage Sites. Reference is made in the Management Guidelines to giving heritage a function in the life of the community, discussing objectives with local authorities and tourism boards and the need for a comprehensive tourism development strategy for individual sites (Fielden & Jokilehto, 1998). However, given that the primary aim of the World Heritage Convention is to ensure “. . . the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of cultural and natural heritage” (UNESCO, 1972, Article 4), it is not surprising that the emphasis of the Management Guidelines at that time was on the conservation of tangible heritage rather than the management of intangible heritage and visitor activity (Rodwell, 2002; Wilson & Boyle, 2006).

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Moreover, according to the Article 5 of World heritage convention which states that “to adopt a general policy which aims to give the cultural and natural heritage a function in the life of the community and to integrate the protection of that heritage into comprehensive planning programmes” This approach changed in 1997 when a standardised format for the nomination of sites for inscription on the World Heritage List was adopted. A management plan became a pre-requisite for all new nominations and sites inscribed before then were required to submit plans by 2005. Since 1997, the requirements for a formal planning approach and stakeholder participation have been further developed in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO, 2005). The Operational Guidelines suggesting an effective system of management should include a continuous cycle of planning, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and feedback, together with the active involvement of stakeholders in the planning process (UNESCO, 2005, Article 111). The expectation of a holistic and integrated approach to achieving “. . . an appropriate and equitable balance between conservation, sustainability and development”, and ensuring “. . . the active involvement of [. . .] Local communities” is further accentuated in the Budapest Declaration on World Heritage (World Heritage Committee, 2002). However,in keeping with the preceding discussion, little guidance or advice is provided on how to achieve this in practice (Wilson & Boyle, 2006).

2.6.1 Preservation and Conservation

“The object of conservation is to prolong the life of cultural property and, if possible, to clarify the historic and artistic messages therein without loss of authenticity”. This is the definition given by the Organisation of World Heritage Cities ( of conservation. Heritage attractions are considered historic documents, suppliers of architectural, social and economical historic information about the past that is not available from any other source, and this makes conservation even more important. Another definition similar to the previous one, but that emphasizes the ultimate effort of conservation was given by Cunliffe (1997), arguing that conservation has to ensure that the important aspects of a site are understood if it is to be retained in the context of future change or development. Conservation of these site are very important in case of eventual change or development that may occur in the future.

Historic building differ from new one as they are expected to last forever in other words as long as it is wanted. Worthing and Dann (2009) stated that in an historic context, the terms maintenance and repair cannot be exchangeable as they might be for other building types. Moreover, cost of maintaining and repairing an historic feature is not usually huge however when cost arises it is usually due to a poor management.

Pearson and Sullivan ( 1995, P.11) outline the aims of conservation management as the explanation of all the values of heritage places, the development long-term preservation and the implementation of management practices that safeguard the fundamental nature and physical form of the place. Conservation is, without doubt, one of the most important tools in heritage management. According to Millar (1989) it is the first stage in heritage management; she considered that conservation is the critical issue in world heritage site management long-term planning (Millar, 1989:10) now that heritage tourism is in its greatest growth. Other authors, such as Shuhaimi, agree with her statement arguing that realizing that tourists will bring about substantial negative impact on heritage sites, the management of these sites must have a master plan that will emphasize on conservation (Shuhaimi, 1997: 127).

To implement the right management policy, Du Cros (2001) argued that the priority between the two basic elements involve must be clear. One of those elements is conservation, while the other is commodification and promotion of the site. The author stressed that this management priority should be used as a guide for converting, in the appropriate way, places into heritage attractions. This statement shows again the importance given by professionals to the conservation issue. Conservation is, probably, the heritage management issue more in conflict with tourism since its objective is to preserve and to protect heritage, while tourism interests want to market sites and generate economic benefits by attracting as many visitors as possible. However, tourism is also one of the basic issues if not the basic one.

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2.6.2 Visitor management

Visitor management is becoming an increasingly important issue in world heritage site for those responsible for heritage sites, particularly those that have achieved WHS status. Shackley (2006) states that the number of visitors have been increasing due to the accessibility to facilities by the society such as reduced travel costs, extensive media publicity given to sites. On the one hand, visitors bring is not only source of revenue, through admission fees, but also these sites provide them both educational and recreational opportunities. However, those visiting the site brings in the risk of harmful impacts upon the site and other artefacts found there ( Shackley,1998; Garrod, 2008). Encouraging more visitors may be at the same time a blessing as well as a curse for a typical heritage site.

While some sites are relatively robust and can withstand increased levels of visitation, others will be more susceptible to damage. It is important, therefore, for those responsible for the heritage site to undertake visitor impact balance and design strategies that will be appropriate for the site. The visitor management is mostly important to sites that inscribed on the World Heritage list, enabling them to result in greater awareness on the part of prospective visitors and for higher visitation levels to result (shackley, 1998; Fyall and Rakic, 2006).

Visitor management strategies are designed in such a way to contrl the number of visitors as well as their flow on the site. In order, to minimize the the management should restrict the visitors access to certain areas by establishing pathways, controlling the time of visits and by limiting the size of group of groups ( WTO, 1997)

2.6.3 Buffer zone

The concept of “buffer zone” has been treatedin every version of the Operational Guidelines from the first version produced in 1977, forward to the present. The initial concept, then defined as one which “may be applied”, appears as an optional inscription

requirement, and one without a clear purpose. The Operational Guidelines 1977 state:

“26. When setting the boundary of a property to be nominated to the List, the concept of a buffer zone around the property may be applied where appropriate. In such instances the nominations would include:

a) a precise definition of the surface area of the property itself, including the sub-surface area where necessary

b) an indication of the buffer zone around the property itself (i.e. the natural or man-made surroundings that influence the physical state of the property or the way in the property is perceived). Such buffer zones will be determined in each case through technical studies and provided with adequate protection.”

2.7 Organisation involved in the management of WHS

Heritage management has been described as ‘the process by which heritage managers attempt to make sense of the complex web of relationships surrounding heritage in a manner which meets the values and interests of many of the key stakeholders’ (Hall and McArthur 1996: 19). This raises questions, however, as to what occurs in situations where the management of heritage sites is shared by various organizing bodies with different functions and status and where there is no single coordinating body to bring these organizations together.

Contrary to broad expectations, the UNESCO designation does not involve an overarching control of the management of sites (Bianchi 2002; Bianchi and Boniface 2002; Evans 2002). Rather, World Heritage Site status inevitably exposes designated areas to a complex web of national and regional policies and regulations (Hall 2006). These policies tend to arise from a discourse of heritage as having primarily a cultural tourism purpose, thus necessitating that the heritage sites be conserved and presented appropriately for international tourist consumption. Leask (2006: 13) argues that ‘the key dilemma here is that it is difficult to balance tourism activity with the conservation role, often creating a tension or conflict between the usually large numbers of stakeholders involved’. In particular, this emphasis on conservation and presentation to cultural tourists often means that less heed is paid to local community issues, including local community contemporary use and practice relating to the site (Garrod and Fyall 2000).

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3. World heritage Site in Mauritius

3.1 Le Morne Brabant

Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a rugged mountain that juts into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons, have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came – the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia. Indeed, Mauritius, an important stopover in the eastern slave trade, also came to be known as the “Maroon republic” because of the large number of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne Mountain.

It is a symbol of slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance beyond its geographical location, to the countries from which the slaves came – in particular the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia- and represented by the Creole people of Mauritius and their shared memories and oral traditions.

Management of the Landscape

At present there are two heritage legislations which govern the management of the Le Morne Cultural Landscape; The Le Morne Heritage Trust Fund Act of 2004 and the National Heritage Act of 2003. Copies of these legislations may be obtained at the seat of these two institutions and they may be contacted for any queries regarding management issues related to the landscape.

The vision of the Fund for the cultural landscape is as follows:

“…to serve as a focal point for current and future generations to celebrate resistance against oppression anywhere in the world as well as commemorate the suffering of humans through slavery and other systems of exploitation. It should be a living example of oppressed people achieving freedom, independence, dignity and respect for their values and cultures. It will do so by becoming a centre of excellence in terms of research, in particular the history of maroons in the wider context of slavery, and by playing a prominent role in unlocking cultural and economic opportunities for those who have suffered most under the system of slavery.”

The Mission

To preserve and manage the cultural landscape of Le Morne so that it can be used in a wise and sustainable manner without compromising its authenticity and integrity.

To develop Le Morne as a focal for celebrating resistance to slavery by furthering high quality research on slavery in general that will not only be made available to the public but in which the latetr can also participate;

To utilize Le Morne as a tool for local economic development and capacity building so that it will play an important role in opening up opportunities for those who have been left behind in terms of economic development.

To cherish Le Morne as a symbol of reconciliation and forgiveness, not only nationally but also on a global scale, so that humanity will combine forces to resist exploitation of one human by another; and

To rally around Le Morne in support of those who continue to be oppressed and exploited by other human beings, so that it is not only a symbol of the past but a living reminder of the present.

3.2 Aapravasi Ghat

Aapravasi Ghat is the site through which 450,000 indentured labourers from India first set foot in Mauritius between 1830s and the 1920s, marking one of the great waves of migration in recorded history. Set on the bay of Trou Fanfaron, in the capital Saint Louis, Aapravasi Ghat is the remains of a cluster of three stone buildings dating from the 1860s, built on the site of an earlier immigration depot. The remaining buildings represent less than half of what existed in the 1860s. The nominated site is tightly drawn around the buildings and covers 1640 sq metres. It is surrounded by a buffer zone which is part of the heart of the rapidly expanding city and a busy harbor.

The island of Mauritius was chosen as the site for the first recipient of this new indenture system in 1834 (year of the post-abolished of slavery occurs), as it was perceived to be an expanding plantation economy unlike the “exhausted” West Indian sugar producers, and also because of its proximity to India. In Mauritius, most indentured workers were recruited from North India, especially Bihar and the Northwest Provinces such as Uttar Pradesh, although smaller numbers came from the Tamil and Telugu districts of South India. In the almost 90 years that the system was in operation, the British authorities in India handled around 1.2 million indentured labourers through emigration depots.

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Protection and Management

Legal provision:

The Aapravasi ghat site is owned by the Ministry of Arts and Culture. The core area is protected as a national monument in terms of the National Heritage Fund Act of 2003 and earlier legislation. This provides for the consent of the National Heritage Fund to be sought for any work done on the site.

The Buffer zones are regulated by the Municipal Council of Port Louis as part of their overall regulation of their area under the Local Government Act.

Management structure:

The day-to-day management of the site is the responsibility of the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund. The Board of the Trust consists of representatives of key member institutions such as national Heritage fund, and the Ministries of Arts and Culture, Tourism and Finance. A technical team drawn from the Board reviews all site work.

On 15th February 2006 a more detailed Draft Management Plan was submitted by the State Party on 15th February 2006. The Plan details what needs to be addressed in terms of management structure, and legal protection. Currently there is no national policy on World Heritage sites which impact on decisions by local authorities.

4. Methodology

4.1 Introduction

This chapter deals with the different methods and instrument that were used in order to conduct this survey and also elaborate upon the methods chosen. It evaluates the management strategies which were being used to manage those WHS, Le Morne and Aapravasi Ghat. The objective is to show the different methods used to collect information and the reason why they have been used. Consequently, the research aim is to recalled and the objectives are shown so that the research framework is established.

The survey was conducted at National Trust Fund, Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund, Le Morne Trust Fund and Ministry of Arts & Culture with the members responsible for managing both sites. Moreover, this chapter is devoted on the limitations of the methods used and the general limitation encountered during the gathering and analyzing data.

4.2 Sources of data

Once the objectives were identified, a research plan was developed to gather the information. For this study, both primary and secondary data were used in order to gather information for analysis.

Primary data: new information collected for the specific purpose of a particular research project.

Secondary data: data that already exist and which have been collected to fit the purpose of other studies.

First of all, Primary data are new data collected specially for the current study. Such data were collected through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. On the other hand, secondary data was useful in finding out what have been done in previous research and theoretical information to grasp the real meaning of subject. The information gathered for this particular study was mainly done on the management strategies being used by the different bodies responsible Le Morne and Aapravasi Ghat.

4.2.1 Primary Data

Primary data as stated before is a set of new data collected from the survey itself for purpose for the research. There are two approaches of primary data; the quantitative ad the qualitve approach. The first approach is mostly scientific method, while the second is more flexible, while the second is more flexible.

Both, qualitative and quantitative approaches were used to conduct the survey. Qualitative approach was much more appropriate for the investigating into the problem. Moreover, Finn et al,2008, states that, qualitative approach tends to examine ‘reality’ in all its complexity because they are free to ask question a qualitative researcher cannot easily pursue. This approach enable to gather rich information about small number of subjects from a small number of people can be collected ( Veal,1997).

To investigate more the research, quantitative approach was also needed. This was used in order to gather information from workers of the different parastatal bodies.

4.2.2 Secondary Data

A vital step, in any research process begins, is the review of previous research on which the topic was chosen. Secondary data was essential for the topic chosen. It is useful in finding out what have been done in previous research and theoretical information to grasp the real meaning of the subject. In fact, an important part of nearly all research is a review of the literature review ( Veal, 1997: 96).

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Information gathered was about the management of heritage site especially world heritage site as conservation and preservation, management strategies and visitor management. Thus, in this project, secondary data was mainly used in order to develop the research idea and to get information required to answer to the main question.

Questionnaire Design

The questionnaire used for this survey comprises of 27 questions divide in four sections namely; section A the respondent profile, section B based on attributes of the WHS, secti

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