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Tourism and Sustainability in the Evaluation of World Heritage Sites, 1980–2010

Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28269, USA
Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice, Towson University, Towson, MD 21252, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Victor T. King
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 261;
Received: 30 January 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Heritage)
At present, there are myriad concerns about tourism and sustainability at cultural and natural world heritage sites. Based on an analysis of 811 evaluations written between 1980 and 2010 by two official advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee, this paper charts the timing and extent to which such concerns have become central to assessing the value of heritage sites. We find that, over time, issues related to tourism and sustainability expanded considerably in quantity and variety, and recommendations for managing and developing sustainable tourism became a routine feature of site evaluations. Despite the growing prevalence of such concerns, the conceptualization of sustainable tourism and related recommendations provided by the advisory experts remain somewhat ambiguous. Furthermore, our findings reveal regional disparities in the degree to which tourism is seen as a threat to the sustainability of heritage sites and in the likelihood that a state is considered a model of sustainable tourism. View Full-Text
Keywords: world heritage; sustainable tourism; world society; cultural wealth world heritage; sustainable tourism; world society; cultural wealth
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Schmutz, V.; Elliott, M.A. Tourism and Sustainability in the Evaluation of World Heritage Sites, 1980–2010. Sustainability 2016, 8, 261.

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