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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds As the Secretary General of HERITY International, I will briefly resume how we deal with overtourism. HERITY is the international organisation for quality management at museums, archeological sites, monuments, libraries, and archives. HERITY is a nonprofit and nongovernmental organisation, regularly invited by UNESCO to participate in the World Heritage Committee meetings. Nevertheless, the main activity of HERITY, the H.G.E.S. international certification, is devoted to every place of culture, both world heritage and not world heritage sites. HERITY was launched in 1994, working on field since 2004. In fact, nine years were necessary to draft a methodology, that was designed by managers, archaeologists, architects, lawyers, engineers, art historians, tourism and conservation experts, and others, coming from 27 countries.

Skip to 1 minute and 24 seconds The model is working up today and one of the main goals of HERITY inside this model, is to involve visitors, both residents and tourists, for a better management at the sites. This is because specialists are not sufficient if we don’t have allies. One could ask how we consider the overtourism phenomenon, namely from the point of view of cultural heritage management, in the framework of the dimensions considered by the HERITY model.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds Well, the HGES (HERITY Global Evaluation System) considers four main dimensions: value, conservation, communication and services, to which the management is added for a total of five. Overtourism phenomena are unfortunately diffused today, this is a risk for the conservation of the sites, but also for the enjoyment of the visit by the public. Often, the quality of the visits is sacrificed in favour of quantity. As a consequence, the value of a cultural remain, cannot be appreciated in a complete way. The message or the messages can be misleaded and services not enjoyed as it should be. This is a matter of management, we have to intervene at this level.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 seconds This is why the HGES reports want to inform the management about the current situation at the site they manage and possible improvements using a holistic approach. It can be interesting to underline some solutions adopted to preserve cultural heritage, located in hardly frequented tourist destinations, including world heritage sites. The main solutions presently put in place, to reduce the impact of overtourism, for example in Italy, are the segmentation of the visits, or the introduction of taxes. On the other hand, recently in the context of the UNWTO, 11 strategies and 68 measures were proposed, after examination of the perception of the tourism, by the residence in the cities of Amsterdam, Barcellona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Munich, Salzburg, and Tallinn.

Skip to 4 minutes and 2 seconds Any, way in my opinion, self regulation and bottom up solutions were not exploited is it could be. Solutions to overtourism impact and other effects, like gentrification and reactions by residents, should be searched considering that overtourism should not be treated as a problem, rather than a dilemma. The answer to the two is not the same. Problem solving is aimed to solve a problem, if any, in the short term. Fronting a dilemma means, to take decisions through choices that effect the site on the long term.

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 seconds An example is to review the regulation of cruises, bed and breakfasts, and other tourist facilities at the destinations, as well as to improve the perception of the meanings and the experience made by visitors, in a way that could make them more sensitive to compatibility and sustainability, that in the vision of HERITY are not the same, of their choices and actions. The more important intervention remaining a global and targeted action toward commercial stakeholders, such as tour operators, making possible to stimulate more sensitivity, at the same time safeguarding their revenues, which is not so simple.

Skip to 5 minutes and 34 seconds HERITY have just launched in 2017, a research program aimed to set guidelines on this, in cooperation with the Italian council of researchers, CNR, called ‘Quality Versus Quantity’, which results will be available in early 2020.

The specific case of cultural attractions

Understanding the importance of quality in the tourism offer has been an important step. Now it is equally significant to understand the even greater complexity that applies to the definition of quality in the management of cultural heritage open to the public (cultural attractions).

Start by listening to Maurizio Quagliuolo, secretary general of HERITY International speak briefly about the quality of cultural toruism and how overtourism can negatively influence it.

International organisation HERITY© has established that there are four dimensions underlying the concept of quality in cultural heritage management:

  • The perceived value of the monuments by visitors
  • The state of conservation of the monument
  • Communication with the public
  • Services associated and offered to visitors

(Quagliuolo, 2014)

Your task

Read this article from The Local, ‘Tourists in their millions are wearing out Pompeii’, which analyses the effect of overtourism.

Discuss Pompeii in relation to the four dimensions (perceived value, conservation, communication and services) and how overtourism affects these them.


Quagliuolo, M. (2014) ‘International Organization for Quality Management of Cultural Heritage (HERITY©)’. In C. Smith (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology[online] pp. 3990–3992. available from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1925

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