Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey C. Hallo

Committee Member

Dr. Sheila J. Backman

Committee Member

Dr. William C. Norman

Committee Member

Dr. Melissa A. Vogel

Abstract

Although sustainability of heritage tourism has become a major concern from the perspectives of both academics and practitioners, the majority of research and studies have tended to understand the cultural and educational issues of heritage tourism rather than focusing on the application of sustainability in a practical context. To achieve sustainability in heritage tourism, heritage sites should be managed effectively in a way that ensures preservation of heritage resources and provides quality experiences to the tourists. Traditionally, heritage tourism planning and management relied on a top-down, professional-led approach that ignores the interests of different stakeholders (e.g., heritage tourists) in heritage attractions. Furthermore, strategies for heritage tourism management have conventionally focused on the supply side (i.e., the resource) and ignored the demand side (i.e., the tourists). Recently, it was recognized that involving tourists in the management process is a key element to achieve sustainability; therefore, the global trends in heritage tourism are now moving forward from a product-led approach that underlies exhibits and education, to a more tourist-oriented approach that focuses on consumer preferences and quality of personal experiences. It was suggested in the literature that sustainability can be applied through development and implementation of contemporary indicators and standards-based frameworks such as Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), and Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP). Generally, the main objective of this dissertation was to understand tourists and their experiences at Petra Archaeological Park. The series of articles included in this dissertation were intended to address the three main elements of these management frameworks. Specifically, this research presented studies intended to help formulate empirical, science-based, tourists-informed indicators and crowding-related standards for the tourism experience at Petra, and monitor these standards. Also, tourists' support for alternative management strategies was addressed.

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