Heritage Tourism: From Problems to Possibilities

Author/editor: Yujie Zhu
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year published: 2021


As one of the world's fastest growing industries, heritage tourism is surrounded by political and ethical issues. This research explores the social and political effects and implications of heritage tourism through several pertinent topics. It examines the hegemonic power of heritage tourism and its consequences, the spectre of nationalism and colonialism in heritage-making, particularly for minorities and indigenous peoples, and the paradox of heritage tourism's role in combating these issues. Drawing from global cases, the study addresses a range of approaches and challenges of empowerment within the context of heritage tourism, including cultural landscapes, intangible heritage and eco-museums. The research argues that heritage tourism has the potential to develop as a form of co-production. It can be used to create a mechanism for community-centred governance that integrates recognition and interpretation and promotes dialogue, equity and diversity.


The British Grand Tourists in Italy and Greece went in search of the classical roots of their own heritage. Modern mass tourists visiting UNESCO sites world wide honor the heritage of cultural others. Does this suggest an eruption of inclusive democratic values with tourists deployed globally, embracing all of human heritage, not just their own? Or is it the most recent chapter of the Western hegemonic drive, operating more effectively now under a positive sign - 'we've come to appreciate your heritage.' Yujie Zhu's powerful small book provides answers.'

Dean MacCannell, Emeritus Professor, Environmental Design & Landscape Architecture, University California, Davis


'Welcome to this fast-paced and wide-ranging introduction to critical heritage tourism studies. Dr. Yujie Zhu takes us through the history and growth of heritage and tourism and research on these fields, and focuses on the authentic interpretation of tangible and intangible heritage, in the face of global cultural imperialism and capitalist commoditization. He leads us to examine situations of cooperation and co-production by which ethnic and marginalized peoples gain resilience and benefit from their ability to protect, exhibit and perform their heritage in tourist environments.'

Nelson Graburn, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University California Berkeley

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