A narrow area of the research encompasses demarketing as a segment of both strategic marketing and strategic management in the managing of intangible cultural heritage. The hypothesis set in this paper is that the WHS management system is specific for including very stratified areas of management, as well as numerous stakeholders at multiple levels. This is why, in their work, the authors correlate the problem area of strategic management and demarketing to prove their research hypothesis. Strategic management is defined as strategic planning, whereas the demarketing aspect relates to strategic activities to regulate tourist consumption in a tourist destination (the marketing aspect in general), and specifically, efforts to diminish the pressure of consumption on the destination (the demarketing aspect).
What is more, WHSs differ significantly in both nature and size, as well as the sociocultural and economic conditions they are found in. Although a WHS is regularly part of a tourist destination, the management system of this and similar property is not and must not be exclusively linked to tourism, which is at the same time “a good friend, but which can become a bitter enemy” (e.g., Goodwin, 2017), since it is common in mature destinations that tourism itself represents one of the most serious threats to the cultural property itself.
Therefore, this paper highlights demarketing as a segment of cultural property management that, in one way or another, influences demand – whether selecting it, trying to diminish it, changing its annual dynamics or redirecting it spatially. The paper explores how a developed (“mature”) management system has been designed – and to what extent – in “mature” tourist destinations that have proven themselves on the tourist market, among other things, because they have a WHS. While examining this thesis, the authors came across the problem of a destination’s WHS life cycle, and they tried to recognise the specificities of management and destinations’ performances in different phases of their life cycle. Moreover, this paper explores the extent to which the approach to stakeholders is developed in management, since this approach, in managing both tourist destinations and WHS, is a conditio sine qua non of an efficient (and sustainable) management system.
As a case study, Dubrovnik has been chosen with a reason – not only is it Croatia’s most developed and famous tourist destination, whose cultural property, the Dubrovnik Old Town, has been protected by UNESCO since 1979, but also because recent literature explores, among others, Dubrovnik in terms of over-capacity and limits on tourism growth (e.g. Goodwin, 2017), including Dubrovnik among those “destinations experiencing overtourism”. (Goodwin, 2017: 15) The second studied case is Poreč, whose cultural property the Euphrasian Basilica was enlisted in the UNESCO protection system in 1997, and which is also an example of a mature tourist destination that has been one of the most significant tourist destinations for decades in terms of realised tourist commerce.
2 Material and research methods
2.1 Tourist destination strategic management and the sustainable development of tourism
The tourist destination and destination management have been taken as a basis for the consideration of this paper’s research subject – the WHS – because it represents a wider frame of action aiming at the sustainable development of tourism. The starting point in the paper is the thesis that it is of key importance to approach the necessary care of sustainable development in tourism, applying a strategic approach by setting up a system in the destination management that will include all managerial functions: planning, organising, leading and controlling, which implies here systematically monitoring the realisation of set strategic tourist development aims in the function of the social and economic development of the whole community. This is certainly true for the WHS that is, in fact, part of the tissue of the tourist destination where it is located.
The thesis about the multiplicative effects of tourist development is general knowledge that is no longer denied by anyone, but new knowledge should go in the direction of “attenuating” tourist courses, selective promotion and communication activities with the tourist market, and similar activities that aim to better control, redirect and affect the time dynamics and spatial concentration of tourist courses. In this sense, this paper focuses its approach in the area of strategic marketing (more exactly demarketing) since it is in fact a question of the effort to slow down or select the tourist demand (Kotler and Levy, 1971).
Apart from the literature and secondary sources overview, the paper presents an overview of strategic guidelines in management for some selected WHSs in the world, followed by the results of preliminary research conducted on examples of WHSs in Dubrovnik and Poreč. Case study was chosen as the principle methodological approach because this area has not been sufficiently explored yet, and it is known that case study is a method recommended for insufficiently studied research areas in social studies (e.g. Garrod et al., 2006; Fullerton et al., 2010). By using the deductive method in the “mosaic” composed of many researched case studies and their comparative analysis, it tries to understand the general rules of stakeholders’ conduct and the direction of their strategic activities – in this case regarding the limits of touristic development. This should eventually lead to a stronger conceptual frame for the studied topic, and the theses presented in this paper should contribute towards that.
In other words, the research methodology of the paper consists of a scientific review of relevant literature and strategic document analysis.
2.2 Demarketing in tourism: conceptual framework and literature review
The development of a generic strategy for the management of visitor impacts internationally remains something for the future. In the meantime, the sector should rely on the identification and adoption of best practice on a case-by-case basis. The sector’s diversity and fragmentation suggest that qualitative research holds the key to identifying appropriate techniques for managing visitor impacts.(Garrod et al., 2006: 125)
With this they advocate the methodological application of case studies and more quality research, which has also been applied in this paper. Regarding the lack of literature in this area, Leask and Fyall emphasised the problem of “the paucity of literature in the field of visitor attractions, combined with the virtual vacuum of literature on international comparative research methodologies in tourism generally, and more specifically within the visitor attractions sector” (Leask and Fyall, 2006: 23). In 2016 the authors Truong and Hall mentioned in their paper that demarketing was at its core part of social marketing (Truong and Hall, 2016: 884). In his article dating back to 1969 and bearing the title “Broadening the Concept of Marketing – Too Far” reassessed the occurring “confusion regarding the essential nature of marketing” (Luck, 1969: 53). He indicated that the conceptual border of marketing was widening toward societal marketing and that there was an orientation and “recognition and practice of efficient, responsive marketing” (Luck, 1969: 55).
These issues invite tourism planners and practitioners as well as academicians and researchers to systematically consider emerging issues and propose a more viable approach to marketing tourism products and services. One such major issue is the need to keep the concept of sustainability in clear focus consideration.(Tkeskelashvili, 2012: 38)
Groff also feels the need to “create an umbrella theory” in the case he was studying “relevant to parks and recreation administration” and is in favour of collaboration with numerous stakeholders at all levels in order to implement the sustainability theory (Groff, 1998: 128).
Research on demarketing activities in tourist destinations is carried out in two main directions:
- The first research direction studies demarketing and the Sustainable Development Strategy in destinations founded on a natural resource basis, such as national parks, nature reserves and the like (e.g. Armstrong and Kern  have studied demarketing activities in the context of visitor management in the Blue Mountains National Park; Groff, 1998; Whitelaw et al., 2014).
- The second research direction studies demarketing in tourist destinations based on cultural attractions, where some researchers focus on research into World Heritage Site (WHS) – destinations under UNESCO protection, including the destinations studied in this paper – the towns of Dubrovnik and Poreč. Thus, for instance, Fullerton et al. (2010) have analysed the case of Ireland, while Clements explored tourism sustainable development even earlier on the example of Cyprus, stating: “Using Cyprus as an example, demarketing […] is presented as a means of controlling which types [of the tourist population] will visit a destination.” (Clements, 1989: 89).
It is obvious – and logical – that research efforts are mostly directed towards those tourist destinations that are considered the most vulnerable, and therefore the most sensitive to tourist over-capacitation, which is surely the case of the two presented groups of tourist destinations. This is confirmed by Goodwin: “There is an extensive literature on visitor impacts in national parks and at cultural heritage sites and on the wide range of negative impacts that tourism has on local communities ranging across the economic, social and environmental challenges of sustainability.” (Goodwin, 2017: 3). He also turns to Fyall and Garrod’s work which “surveyed ‘owners of historic properties, heritage consultants, visitor attraction managers and heritage industry representatives’ across the UK” (Goodwin, 2017: 3). However, most authors (e.g. Fullerton et al., 2010) advocate the thesis that this topic is still insufficiently academically covered, and they suggest the case study method, which will form the basis for a stronger conceptual framework, and this was adopted as a methodological pattern for the needs of this paper.
Even this short representation of the development of the theoretical framework for the application of demarketing in tourism shows an interweaving of concepts, first of all in the relation: sustainable marketing–social marketing–territorial marketing (e.g. Beeton, 2003), along with the aforementioned overlapping of strategic marketing and strategic management, as well as the overlapping of the socio-cultural, economic and sustainable development areas. The question of management and marketing concepts overlapping in a tourist destination is so present that it is almost impossible to determine their boundaries, while the concept of visitor management is ever more studied, and seems to have become a conditio sine qua non of strategic sustainable tourism development.
Regarding the second mentioned research direction, it is necessary to mention earlier works, such as the work by Gilmore et al. (2007), while, for example, Marcotte and Bourdeau (2012) have studied the way in which WHSs (World Heritage Sites)  communicate information on the UNESCO protection of their cultural attractions through promotional channels. Sadiki (2002) analyses marketing strategies through the prism of sustainable WHS marketing, while Goodwin (2017) questions the challenges of the strategic sustainable tourism management, defining it as “overtourism”. The more recent works in this area emphasise the work by Mariani and Guizzardi, who explore “whether the UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) designation affects tourists’ evaluation”, emphasising the problem of “the complicated relationship between tourism and preservation” in destinations with WHS (Mariani and Guizzardi, 2019: 22). Sadiki (2012) studies the possible strategic directions of demarketing in selected WHS tourist destinations (Table 1).
Examples of demarketing strategies in action at UNESCO World Heritage Sites
|Educating potential visitors||Kakadu National Park, Australia||Legislation requires National Parks to promote visitation at the same time as promoting preservation and how to conserve parks without overuse.|
|Marketing to desirable markets||GrosMorne National Park, Canada||Marketing focused on attracting target audiences with messages focused on ecological integrity.|
|Publicising alternative sites||Historic city of Venice||Increased tourist numbers have put a strain on the city and its resources. Marketing provides alternate sites and cities to visit.|
|Seasonal schedule||Blenheim Palace, England||Restricted schedule; open certain times during the months February–November. Restricted days, for example, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.|
|Restricted areas||Stonehenge, England||Areas roped off to control tourist flow. Visitors allowed in the inner circle only during planned special events with tour operators.|
2.3 Heritage tourism and heritage economics
One of the first authors who studied attraction tourism was Pearce. In his work dating back to 1998 he highlights that “attractions play a vital role in regional and national tourism and deserve multidisciplinary research effort” (Pearce, 1998: 1), at the same time emphasising that this research area enters the area of marketing and management, while Hu and Wall emphasise that “studies of competitiveness have most often been conducted at the destination rather than the attraction level”, adding that “a destination is an aggregation of tourist attractions plus supporting infrastructure and services” (Hu and Wall, 2005: 617). Timothy and Boyd cover the concept of heritage economics in their work, and emphasise that “‘heritage tourism’, which typically falls under the purview of cultural tourism (and vice versa), is one of the most notable and widespread types of tourism and is among the very oldest forms of travel” (Timothy and Boyd, 2008: 1). Some authors point out that “with only a few exceptions (e.g. Prentice, 1993), relatively little research has been conducted specifically on the economic impacts of heritage sites” (Timothy and Boyd, 2008: 1).
Results show that Western European cities are the primary users of the World Heritage label in their promotional material. Cities that obtained their label less than ten years ago use it more often for promoting tourism. Concurrently a significant theme associated with WHS categorisation is the presentation of a must-see ‘tourism product’. Conversely the advertising contains little information about the protection of the site or sustainable development actions undertaken since the labelling.(Marcotte and Bourdeau, 2012: 80)
2.4 Heritage tourism and WHS (World Heritage Sites): strategic documents analysis of two WHS destinations – Dubrovnik and Poreč
What follows is the qualitative analysis of two tourist destinations in Croatia that consist of protected cultural property – WHSs – with an overview of the management system, stakeholder collaboration and key strategic documents and projects.
Case Study 1. Dubrovnik: WHS Old Town of Dubrovnik
Old Town of Dubrovnik: “The Pearl of the Adriatic”, situated on the Dalmatian coast, became an important Mediterranean Sea power from the 13th century onwards. Though severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. Damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict, it is now the focus of a major restoration programme co-ordinated by UNESCO. (Description provided under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0.)(UNESCO, 2020b)
There is an important connection between the Periodic Reporting process and the monitoring of the state of conservation of properties by the Committee, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre. The Periodic Reporting process provides an internal evaluation by allowing national and local authorities in charge of a World Heritage property to carry out a self-assessment, while on the other hand the work of the Committee offers an outside perspective through day-to-day monitoring activities and reviews involving international experts.
The purpose of the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting in Europe was to collect and update basic statutory information and receive further information on the state of conservation of World Heritage properties, particularly for those properties that are not currently being reviewed by the Committee (or might, in some cases, never have been discussed by the Committee since their inscription). On average, the World Heritage Committee examines the state of conservation of about fifty World Heritage properties in Europe each year (UNESCO, 2016).
For the needs of the WHS Dubrovnik study analysis, the factors affecting the property in 2018 have been adopted, as well as earlier reports, and it has been investigated to what extent and in what ways these factors and dangers to the WHS have been solved (or not). The authors consider that this part of the reporting is better for the analysis because it relates to the external assessment done by the competent UNESCO bodies, which is not the case for periodic reports (because this is the destination’ own, internal evaluation). The aforementioned risk factors are presented on the UNESCO official web page, wherefrom they have been adopted for this analysis, and are presented in Table 2 with a description of conducted measures following the table.
Factors affecting the property – old town of Dubrovnik
|Factors affecting the property in 2018||Activities completed and in progress|
|Housing||The project “Respect the City”|
|Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation||The project “Respect the City”|
|Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure||The project “Respect the City”|
|Management systems / management plan||In August 2017 the town council adopted the Concept of the management plan for the protected monumental unity of the City of Dubrovnik. This is the first management plan in the Republic of Croatia for an area protected by UNESCO designed by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Zagreb. The management plan is designed for the period 2020–25.|
|Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports|
|Armed conflict||Issue resolved|
|Earthquake in September 1996||Issue resolved|
|Need to extend the buffer zone||The proposal of a new “buffer” zone around the historic core of Dubrovnik suggested by the Croatian Ministry of Culture was adopted in June 2018 at the session of the UNESCO Committee for the World Heritage in Bahrain. The new contact zone will spread to the north over the Srđ hillside to Nuncijata, including the shores of Gruž bay, while the area up to Ilijina glavica will be under somewhat stricter surveillance. The southern part encompasses the whole area of Ploče to Belvedere.|
|Large project in the vicinity of the property||The project “Respect the City”|
|Cruise ship tourism||In July 2019 CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and the City of Dubrovnik signed an agreement stating the collaboration on the preservation and protection of the Dubrovnik cultural heritage through responsible tourism management, so as for Dubrovnik to become an example of sustainable tourism. One of the clauses of the agreement is collaboration on planning the care for a destination based on the UN criteria of sustainable tourism.|
|Carrying capacity of the property||In October 2019 a project “Studies of the sustainability of tourism and private accommodation development with the City of Dubrovnik action plan” began to be drawn up, to be co-funded by the Ministry of Tourism and made by the Institute for Tourism.|
|Planned Sport and recreation centre with golf course and tourist settlement||Issue resolved|
Based on the collected information available from secondary sources of data and their analysis, the strategic plans and projects and the short-term and long-term measures for sustainable management of a tourist destination of the City of Dubrovnik (planned and conducted from 2017 to 2025) are presented. They were encouraged by recommendations obtained by UNESCO (Turizmoteka, 2019; DuList, 2019; Grad Dubrovnik, 2019):
- The project Respect the City.
- In August 2017 the town council adopted the Concept of the plan of managing the protected monumental unity of the City of Dubrovnik.
- In July 2019 CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and the City of Dubrovnik signed an agreement to collaborate on the preservation and protection of the Dubrovnik cultural heritage through responsible tourism management.
- In November 2019 the Global Sustainable Tourism Committee (GSTC) started to conduct an assessment of Dubrovnik as a destination based on the UN’s criteria of sustainable tourism and destination management. Through the analysis of policies and consultations with stakeholders, the GSTC evaluates the current success of a destination by applying the world’s leading standard for responsible destination management, i.e. the criteria of the GSTC. The research and assessment will take three months. The sponsor of the project is CLIA, the City of Dubrovnik partner and signatory of the agreement on collaboration to preserve and protect the Dubrovnik cultural heritage. The conducted research will offer practical guidelines, the basis for assessment, and a timetable worked out by the stakeholders, all in order to improve the results in the most important areas of a destination’s sustainability: destination management, benefit to the local economy, life and cultural benefit, and protection of nature and natural resources. The results of the sustainability assessment will show the sustainability level of the City of Dubrovnik, but will also define priorities, from those needing immediate changes to those whose sustainability is satisfactory. Its completion is planned for January/February 2020. It is a key document that will define the current level of sustainability and help to define further steps in destination management with the aim of achieving sustainable tourism.
- In July 2019 the contract on the creation of the management plan for the protected monumental unit of the city of Dubrovnik was signed. The management plan is a planned document that is the base for creating a framework for managing the world heritage locality of “The Old Town of Dubrovnik” so as to preserve and advance the features of universal value protected by UNESCO, with a simultaneous development of city life through sustainable management and the use of its contact zone. This is the Republic of Croatia’s first management plan for a UNESCO-protected area, and was designed by the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Zagreb. The management plan is designed for the period 2020–25, and its aims and priorities will be defined through an action plan and suggested concrete conditions and measures. The organisation model and the rules for the plan should be adopted at the City Council meeting. All this aims at the optimal protection and conservation of the world heritage property in the key processes of inclusion in contemporary courses of life and economic development.
- The purpose of the Respect the City project is to advance the positive effects of tourism and to reduce potentially negative ones. The undertaken short-term measures are: coordinating traffic management, prohibiting tourist coaches from stopping at Pile on Thursdays and Saturdays when most cruise guests are expected, a new parking regime around the old city core (for residents only), and reducing the public area space used by restaurants and cafés around the old town by 30 per cent while reducing the number of stalls inside the town walls by 80 per cent to enable mobility. A key element of city and tourism government in Dubrovnik is the collaboration with the Dubrovnik port authority to regulate the number of cruisers in the port at any one time, and another is managing the number of day excursions to the old town core through internet vouchers for coaches, and by informing stationary guests through the smart city tool. By an agreement with the umbrella organisation of the cruising industry CLIA and the reorganisation of the cruisers calling in at port, the number of visitors to Dubrovnik has been reduced to a maximum of 4,000 people at any one time. Moreover, in direct communication with tourist agencies, activities have been undertaken associated with offering excursions outside the old core so as to disperse the tourist offer and unburden the old town core. Due to the Law on the Liberalisation of the Taxi Market, there was an uncontrolled increase in the number of taxi vehicles, so the city authorities requested that the competent ministry grant an exemption for cities under UNESCO protection. With regard to the aforementioned, the plan is to introduce limited-traffic regime zones accessible only to electrically powered taxi vehicles. In 2020 the plan is to introduce special low-floor shuttle buses by which the city public transport company Libertas will take on transporting passengers from the cruisers in the Gruž port to the old town core and back. This will significantly reduce road congestion. From the end of 2020 car access to the borders of the historical core will only be possible for local residents. Everyone else will have to leave their vehicles at a special thousand-car-capacity park-and-drive car park being built in the vicinity of Pobrežje, at the city’s periphery. In 2020 the number of cruise ships permitted to moor in the city port at any one time will be two, and in 2021 a fee will be introduced for cruise guests. The city has the CLIA’s support for all these plans. The city is also preparing the documentation for possible solutions for the strategic project of the new urban centre of Gruž. The City of Dubrovnik is also developing numerous smart city solutions. These are state-of-the-art technological programmes serving residents and visitors. One of the best is certainly the smart park functioning on the principle of the latest season network, which significantly diminishes the time spent finding a parking space without slowing traffic. The application Dubrovnik Visitor monitors data on the circulation of people in the historical core, with a sort of anticipation of road congestion on certain dates, in order for visitors to be able to time their visit to the city to coincide with lower congestion. Traffic conditions will be tracked on the internet via web cameras near the most heavily used roads.
Case Study 2. Poreč: WHS Episcopal complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the historic centre of Poreč
Episcopal complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the historic centre of Poreč. The group of religious monuments in Poreč, where Christianity was established as early as the 4th century, constitutes the most complete surviving complex of this type. The basilica, atrium, baptistery and episcopal palace are outstanding examples of religious architecture, while the basilica itself combines classical and Byzantine elements in an exceptional manner. (Description provided under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0.)(UNESCO, 2020d)
The complex was inscribed in the UNESCO protection system in 1997.
Since State of Conservation Reports have not been made for Poreč recently, the authors took as factors of risk the division in the aforementioned UNESCO study, World Heritage in Europe Today, according to which the main factors affecting the WHS (UNESCO, 2016: 52) are: 1. Buildings and development; 2. Transportation infrastructure; 3. Services infrastructure; 4. Pollution; 5. Biological resource use/modification; 6. Physical resource extraction; 7. Local conditions affecting physical fabric; 8. Social/cultural uses of heritage; 9. Other human activities; 10. Climate change and severe weather events; 11. Sudden ecological or geological events; 12. Invasive/alien species or hyper-abundant species; 13. Management and institutional factors.
A core element of the Periodic Report concerns the factors that affect the properties. For the Second Cycle, Site Managers were presented with 76 factors grouped into 13 types. Site Managers were asked to identify which of these factors are relevant to their properties. They could identify factors as either being ‘current’ or ‘potential’. Site Managers could signal the factors as either positive or negative for the site (in some cases, some were identified as both) and they were asked to indicate whether these factors came from inside or outside the World Heritage property. Identifying these factors helps to visualise positive and future trends, and not focus solely on threats or other factors having a negative impact on the heritage values. This opportunity to share positive experiences, good practices and examples of different management responses to current changes was welcomed by many Site Managers. Taken as a whole, the responses give a good picture of the trends affecting properties across Europe. However, when considering these results, one should take into account that some Site Managers answered the question thoroughly, outlining a wide range of factors, while others focused exclusively on those they consider as most important.
For the needs of this analysis, only those of the mentioned 13 factors that relate to the topic of this paper have been chosen. They are the following: Buildings and development, Transportation infrastructure, Services infrastructure, Social/cultural uses of heritage, Other human activities, and Management and institutional factors.
What follows is the representation of a number of the most significant selected measures and projects undertaken in correlation to the WHS sustainable management – the Euphrasian Basilica Complex:
- The city continues with the reconstruction of the old town core. The Poreč old town core is widely recognised for its exceptional value and rich monumental heritage, crowned with the Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage list as a monument of exceptional value. To properly protect and preserve the rich monumental heritage of the Poreč peninsula dating back to the period of the Roman Empire, in 1994 the City of Poreč – Parenzo started with its partners the project to reconstruct the old town core. The project involves reconstructing the pavement and significant archaeological research, as well as renovating infrastructure: restoration of foundations, faecal and precipitation sewerage, electricity, water, telephone, cable TV, public lighting and gas, so that the mentioned infrastructure will be replaced – from facades to underground canals. The obtained data will serve as the basis of, or important input parameters during, the project work and the elaboration of project documentation for conducting the two last phases of reconstruction works on the historical core (City of Poreč, 2020).
- The USEFALL project – for easier access to the old town core for people with mobility difficulties.
Throughout the USEFALL project the City of Poreč – Parenzo obtained 100,000 Euros of non-refundable grants from European funds. The City of Poreč – Parenzo applied for that project as part of the Italy–Croatia cross-border cooperation, INTERREG. The USEFALL project capitalises on the results of the IPA Adriatic – EX.PO AUS (Extension of Potentiality of Adriatic UNESCO Sites) and aims to increase the accessibility of UNESCO monuments in the cross-border Italian–Croatian space, so as to create the potential for a sustainable territorial development. Using this money, the city plans to improve access to the Lungomare walks and the entrance to the old town core, as well as to other well frequented locations – especially the Euphrasian Basilica – to people with mobility difficulties. The project anticipates setting up a ramp for people with mobility difficulties, and adapting and arranging the Lungomare walk in order to avoid slipping hazards and avoid injury to users, as well as creating promotional materials in Braille, info panels, trainings and workshops for tourist staff, and applications and a film promoting the accessibility of UNESCO destinations, especially Poreč. Interestingly, the project was realised with other partner cities with WHS (the city of Ravenna, foundation Aquileia and the Venetian historical cluster, and the city of Split). They are all UNESCO destinations that have to take care to maintain their UNESCO status.
- Concerts at the Euphrasiana. Every year a classical music festival, Concerts at the Euphrasiana, is held in the historical edifice of the Euphrasian Basilica. The event is produced by the music and stage department of the Poreč Open University.
- Quoting directly Tourist Information Centre Poreč, (2020):
By carefully choosing concerts and acknowledged artists, the music achievements of domestic and foreign authors are presented, emphasising the integrity and importance of this UNESCO protected cultural monument, connecting only the best to the best. Chamber music and distinctive, majestic interpretations which became the programme backbone of the Euphrasiana concerts, and with impressive guests, the tradition and continuity of quality has been going on since 1962, giving thus to this festival of classical music life, wholeness and value which transcends time – just like the walls and mosaics of its only home – the Euphrasian Basilica.
- The EX.PO AUS project (EXtension of POtentiality of Adriatic UNESCO Sites). The promotion of the photo monograph “Euphrasiana – the Poreč Cathedral” was held as part of the project and presented at a celebration in the episcopal hall of the Euphrasian Basilica. The part of the EX.PO AUS project realised by Istria County consists of a photo monograph, a printed booklet including all protected UNESCO sites, the Adriatic areas constituting monumental heritage, a multimedia DVD showing a virtual walk through the Euphrasiana in a number of languages, and postcards, fliers and bookmarks. The project task was to establish a cooperation network among UNESCO localities on the Adriatic, including localities that wish merely to gain such acknowledgement (Habereiter, 2014).
- A study entitled “Management plan for the cathedral complex – Euphrasiana in Poreč – for the project results EX.PO AUS and tourist destinations of UNESCO localities on the Adriatic” has been conducted as part of the former project. In March 2014 a study was done by the Institute for Development and International Relations. The study abstract states that it was done for the needs of the project Extension of Potentiality of Adriatic UNESCO Sites (EX.PO AUS) funded by the cross-border cooperation programme IPA ADRIATIC 2007–2013, and that it:
aims at establishing a network of collaboration between UNESCO localities on the Adriatic sea (including those which wish to obtain this acknowledgement), so as to develop and exchange high-quality technical and managerial skills with the aim to create long-term common strategies for a sustainable valorisation of a locality.(Jelinčić et al., 2014: 4)
The plan is part of wider tasks comprised in the EX.PO AUS project and represents concepts and tools for the sustainable management of this UNESCO locality, which is the precondition for the achievement of the project goal – networking with other UNESCO localities on the Adriatic and exchange of knowledge (Jelinčić et al., 2014).
3 Discussion and practical implications
After conducting the research it was noted in both cases that the problem of WHS management in tourist destinations should be planned and approached both systematically and strategically, with the aim of tourism sustainable development, and socio-economic development in general.
Although UNESCO has an elaborated system of WHS monitoring, it relies to a great extent on its own assessment of internal stakeholders inside the sole WHS managerial structure. However, this managerial structure is very complex: it consists of a number of levels, with significantly intermingled and interwoven bearers of authority and responsibility, but also different stakeholders’ opposing, varying, and sometimes even conflicting interests.
Selected factors affecting the properties and the project/measure of protection of the WHS complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč
|Selected factors affecting the properties||Project/measure of protection|
|Buildings and development||Reconstruction of the Poreč old town core|
|Transportation infrastructure||No activities|
|Services infrastructure||Project USEFALL|
|Social/cultural uses of heritage||Project USEFALL, Concerts at the Euphrasiana|
|Other human activities||No activities|
|Management and institutional factors||Project EX.PO AUS (the project is concluded)|
The qualitative analysis of the Dubrovnik and Poreč WHS leads to the following:
- The problem of WHS strategic management should be approached holistically, applying the stakeholder approach and principles of contemporary strategic management, with clearly defined goals, priorities and measures, with defined bearers of authority and responsibility, and a clearly elaborated managerial structure and pyramid.
- The strategic documents and projects should be part of the Strategy of WHS management, whose adoption should include all stake-holders. It would be elaborated based on the UNESCO guidelines for the WHS and other developmental strategies in the city of the WHS and on higher levels.
- The considered measures of protection and prevention of factors of risk relate to a great extent to reducing tourist demand and to effects changing the time dynamics and spatial concentration of tourist demand, as well as to stimulating selective forms of tourism (rural tourism around Dubrovnik, cultural tourism in Dubrovnik and Poreč, etc.).
The key research results confirm the hypothesis determined in this paper that it is necessary to develop the managerial strategic WHS management model, i.e. build at least its conceptual framework, which would lead to new research and managerial practice. In this sense, demarketing occurs as an important part of the strategic management of both the tourist destination and the WHS, since the observed flaws relate closely to the problem of an over-concentration of tourist visitors, or the relationship among the visitors, residents and other stakeholders in the offer. This is the direction to be taken in further research, in order to better understand those key postulates of tourist destinations’ sustainable development and to advance its realisation.
Furthermore, the authors, as stated in the introduction of this paper, reconsider the various managerial approaches and the destination’s performance, thus introducing the concept of WHS life cycle. The analysis in this paper shows that a WHS life cycle does not necessarily correspond to either the period for which the WHS is under UNESCO protection, or the life cycle of the destination it is located in. Regarding the observed examples, in Dubrovnik both the destination and WHS are in their mature phase, while the Poreč example, according to the authors, shows that the destination is in its mature phase while the WHS is still in the growth phase.
Therefore, further research is needed to analyse the specificities of WHS management for each phase of the life cycle, as well as the specificities of the strategic market focus, which can mostly be marked by demarketing in almost every phase of its life cycle.
WHS and heritage economics, as well as heritage management, constitute important, but insufficiently explored research areas. However, huge variations and discrepancies (i.e. insufficient effectiveness of the managerial practice in different cases) can be observed, which leads to the inadequate or insufficiently effective valorisation of cultural property representing the heritage of mankind. This paper thus promotes further research and additional analysis, so as to gain better knowledge about this research and professional area of importance not only to the tourist, but to the wider social and cultural development of an area, and above all to the preservation of the narrower and wider community’s cultural identity.
The research presented in this paper, and conducted on two observed characteristic examples, proves both the hypothesis and the research aims.
The hypothesis that the WHS management system is specific because it includes very stratified areas of management, as well as numerous stakeholders at multiple levels has been confirmed on the example of the two analysed destinations (Dubrovnik, Poreč) where all the specificities of WHS destination management can be observed. Both cases are about numerous stakeholders, inside and outside the destination, who participate in developing and managing the WHS destination. Moreover, in both cases there are many interweaving areas and levels of management: from the city level, to network partnerships as part of EU projects, to the UNESCO as the umbrella organisation in monitoring the WHS condition and conservation. In line with that, when it comes to the strategic perspective of management, the fact is that there are a number of strategic documents, projects and studies interwoven on multiple levels. In a narrower sense of WHS strategic management, an important place is given to managing the flow of visitors, so it can rightfully be considered as two research and professional areas: strategic management and demarketing, as has also been confirmed by other authors.
The research aim of finding the correlation between a destination life cycle and the WHS is something that imposed itself after the two cases had been compared. Although they are both developed tourist destinations in their mature phase – Dubrovnik and Poreč – it was noted that their WHSs are in different developmental phases. Dubrovnik, which obtained its UNESCO protection back in 1979, can be considered a mature WHS destination, whereas Poreč, whose Euphrasian Basilica was pronounced a WHS in 1997, is still in the growth phase. Therefore, the authors have introduced the concept of WHS life cycle, a concept that still needs to be explored and which it is clear does not always have to coincide with the life cycle of the tourist destination it is located in.
The second research aim was to set the conceptual framework and personal research model for creating a more efficient management system of the protected heritage at all levels. It is clear that, when it comes to cultural heritage protected by UNESCO, the sole umbrella organisation is UNESCO, so the management model needs to be observed primarily from the aspect of monitoring this institution through a reporting system consisting of Periodic Reporting and State of Conservation Reports. However, since the area of protected cultural heritage is narrowly connected and inseparable from the wider aspect of sustainable destination tourism, the authors consider that each tourist destination that is also a WHS site needs to designate its own management model according to its specificities. What all WHS management models should have in common is, according to the authors, the strategic view and inclusion of all relevant stakeholders into the process, at all levels.
A question logically arises: Which areas should be encompassed by the management process, and so also by monitoring? In this work the authors offer their own “six areas model” (presented in the case of the WHS destination Poreč), which they consider of key importance when it comes to WHS tourist destinations. These areas are the following: Buildings and development, Transportation infrastructure, Services infrastructure, Social/cultural uses of heritage, Other human activities, and Management and institutional factors. These areas are the authors’ narrowed-down classification of areas from the 2016 UNESCO study “World Heritage in Europe Today”, which was discussed earlier in this work. If these areas are compared to the criteria given by the Global Sustainable Tourism Committee (GSTC) (presented in the case of the WHS destination Dubrovnik), it can be seen that it is about the same areas, to which nature and natural resources protection should be added. As, at the same time, these are criteria for sustainable tourism and destination management established by the United Nations, it can be concluded that this model is universal and it can possibly be applied to cases of WHS management.
According to the authors, the most important strategic document in this process should be a document adopted at the city level, such as the 2017 Management plan for the protected monumental unity of the City of Dubrovnik. All relevant stakeholders should participate in its adoption, and it should be periodically adapted based on regular UNESCO reports. It is extremely important to constitute, for all included stakeholders, an adequate system for monitoring and reporting about the range and realisation of the measures and strategic activities implemented in the strategic plan. The key bearer of management activities, according to the authors, should be the local government unit, which in the described cases is the City of Dubrovnik and City of Poreč.
Besides indicating that a larger number of measures linked to the WHS strategic management are directly or indirectly linked to sustainable marketing (specifically, selective marketing, or demarketing), this paper aims to stimulate further research towards creating a wider conceptual framework for this important area of management, marketing and sustainable development specific to different WHS typologies. It should be directed to the concept and tool of the so called tourist destination life cycle, and thus make the management of such a complex entity as the WHS better and more efficient.
Considering that it is essential for this purpose to adopt new provisions in the form of a convention establishing an effective system of collective protection of the cultural and natural heritage of outstanding universal value, organized on a permanent basis and in accordance with modern scientific methods.(UNESCO, 2020a)
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