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Beck WE. Narratives of World Heritage in Travel Guidebooks. 2006.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/1430
Narratives of World Heritage in Travel Guidebooks
World Heritage Sites are among the most popular tourist destinations in the world and are, by UNESCO definition, exceptional heritage places. New visions of World Heritage encourage ideas of intercultural exchange and dialogues in the creation of these places. Thus it might be expected that cultural World Heritage Sites would be presented in ways that signal their 'universal' status. The article examines the portrayal of these sites in travel guidebooks, which are an acknowledged source of important influence on travellers. A study of travel guidebooks for various European nations showed that surprisingly few places are labelled as World Heritage even in the most comprehensive books. There is a gap between the ideals and what happens on the ground. While practical problems and lack of awareness may be one explanation for this, the inherent difficulties of conceiving and presenting narratives of world heritage as opposed to national, regional or local heritage may be more significant.