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Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030626

The WHS Designation—A Factor of Sustainable Tourism Growth for Romanian Rural Areas?

1
Department of Geography, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi; 700506 Iași, Romania
2
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in European Studies, Faculty of Law, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iaşi, 700506 Iași, Romania
3
Research Department, Faculty of Geography and Geology, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi; 700506 Iași, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability)
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Abstract

The presence of World Heritage Sites has been frequently used as a mean of tourism promotion and increased attractiveness. However, previous studies showed contradictory results regarding the territorial impact of World Heritage Sites, and very few researchers discussed their impact in Eastern Europe. This paper examines how the presence of World Heritage Sites in rural localities influenced the tourism growth and sustainable development in Romania after 2000. Independent Sample t-test was used to analyse the evolution of tourism and sustainable development indicators between 2001 and 2016. The results suggest an absence of a positive effect induced by World Heritage Sites in rural areas. It seems that, by itself, the brand has not enough power to sustain tourist attractiveness if it is not endorsed by national, regional, and local initiatives. These findings lead a discussion about how certain sites managed to induce a sustained tourism growth while others failed to do so. View Full-Text
Keywords: World Heritage Site; rural tourism; promotion strategies; sustainable development World Heritage Site; rural tourism; promotion strategies; sustainable development
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Iațu, C.; Ibănescu, B.-C.; Stoleriu, O.M.; Munteanu, A. The WHS Designation—A Factor of Sustainable Tourism Growth for Romanian Rural Areas? Sustainability 2018, 10, 626.

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