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The Culture Heritage Management and Tourism workshop

for the Enhancement of Stakeholder Cooperation in Tourism Development

and Heritage Preservation in Asia and the Pacific

Bhaktapur, Nepal, 8-16 April 2000




Workshop background


After the initiation of the project in late 1998, participating sites were identified and the project was introduced to stakeholder teams at each site. In phase I of the project, the originally identified pilot sites (Bhaktapur, Nepal; Lijiang, China; Hoi An, Viet Nam and Luang Prabang, Lao PDR) commenced implementation. Then during phase II, in July 1999, the number of pilot sites was increased to nine, with the addition of five sites: Kandy, Sri Lanka; Levuka, Fiji; Melaka, Malaysia; Vigan, Philippines; and Hahoe Village, Republic of Korea (which joined the project on a self-financing basis).

While Leh, India; Thimpu, Bhutan; and Shirakawa-go, Japan were also invited to participate in the project, with the latter on a self-financing basis, the respective governments declined. However, government representatives of both Bhutan and India were present at the Bhaktapur conference and indicated interest in future participation.

The self-assessment case studies undertaken by each site formed the basis of the Bhaktapur workshop. UNESCO provided assistance to all nine sites while studies were being undertaken. Missions were undertaken to Luang Prabang, Lao PDR and Lijiang, China specifically to assist teams at these sites, who were experiencing difficulties in completing the case studies.


Case studies were submitted to RACAP in stages over the nine months of implementation. Further assistance was provided in identifying further areas of research to improve case studies and in preparing them for presentation and distribution at the Bhaktapur workshop.


Workshop site


Located in the Kathmandu Valley, Bhaktapur served as the capital city of Nepal from the 12th to the 15th century. In recognition of its rich historic and cultural value, particularly living heritage, Bhaktapur has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. With fruitful cooperation amongst the local government, the local citizens as well as visitors, Bhaktapur is widely regarded as one of the best-preserved and least polluted cities in the Kingdom of Nepal. The Municipality of Bhaktapur has extended its full support in sharing the best management practices through participating in the UNESCO project and in hosting the Bhaktapur workshop.


Bhaktapur Workshop Organizing Committee


  • Bhaktapur Municipality
  • Nepal Tourism Board
  • Kathmandu Valley Town Development Committee
  • Department of Archaeology
  • Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust
  • UNDP
  • Nepal National Commission for UNESCO
  • Nepal Heritage Society
  • UNESCO Office Kathmandu

    Partner organizations


    Local Government

  • Kathmandu Metropolitan City
  • Patan Sub-metropolitan City
  • Municipality of Panauti
  • Municipality of Banepa

    Industry Associations

  • Pacific Asia Travel Association, Nepal Chapter
  • Nepal Association of Travel Agents
  • Nepal Association of Tour Operators
  • Nepal Incentives and Conventions Association
  • Bhaktapur Tourism Development Committee
  • Bhaktapur Chamber of Commerce and Industry

    Private Sector

  • Royal Nepal Airlines
  • Cosmic Air/Jomson Mountain Resort
  • Dwarika’s Kathmandu Village Hotel
  • Alpine Travel Service, Kathmandu
  • Sita World Travel, Kathmandu
  • Gorkha Travels, Kathmandu
  • Shiva Treks & Expeditions

    Workshop objectives

  • The presentation of nine heritage tourism case studies
  • Creation of sustainable, community based heritage tourism action plans
  • The identification and deliberation of main issues in heritage preservation, tourism development and community involvement
  • Incorporation of Bhaktapur’s Bisket (New Years’) festival
  • Introduction of Bhaktapur to conference delegates and presentation of the city as living example of heritage preservation and tourism development

    Workshop structure

    The workshop was structured to incorporate the presentation of case studies and offer maximum opportunity for deliberations that would lead to the creation of action plans for each site. With this ‘hands-on’ approach, an emphasis was placed on group work, which fully utilized the expertise and experiences of delegates.


    The conference was scheduled around daily themes, pertinent to case studies, which formed the basis for group deliberations:


  • Defining roles and responsibilities, in order to integrate heritage site conservation and tourism development
  • The central role of the local community as owners of the heritage, host to visitors and beneficiaries of tourism development
  • Marketing comparative advantage: Presenting what is unique; preserving what is authentic
  • Carrying capacity: Respecting conservation limits, expanding visitor potential
  • Revenue, Regulations and Rights: Maximizing local benefits from culture and heritage tourism

    Workshop participants


    Local and international delegates were carefully selected on the basis of expertise. A total of 25 international experts from the fields of heritage preservation, tourism and community development were identified by UNESCO and invited to play particular roles within the conference, as commentators, speakers, mentors, rapporteurs and group discussion leaders. More than 150 delegates attended the conference (approximately 80 international and 80 local), representing organizations such as ICOMOS, World Bank, UNESCAP, PATA, AusHeritage, Canadian Universities Consortium, INTACH, King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Municipality of Siena, Australian Heritage Commission, Bangkok Tourist Bureau, Tibet Heritage Fund, Balinese Heritage Conservation, and the Indian Ministry of Tourism.


    A select group was also invited to form the conference steering committee, which reviewed conference proceedings on a daily basis and drew a framework for the creation of action plans, thus ensuring that the conference proceedings met specific goals and the needs of all participants.


    Presentation of living examples of heritage preservation and tourism development


    While focusing on the Asia-Pacific region on a whole, the conference utilized the heritage of Bhaktapur and the Kathmandu Valley to provide examples and raise issues in heritage preservation and tourism development.


    A series of field trips focusing on Bhaktapur’s living culture – examining yoghurt fermentation techniques, woodcraft, pottery, weaving, paper making, mask making, heritage conservation and agricultural issues - were introduced not only to alert delegates to the local culture, but raise awareness amongst Bhaktapur residents of the significance of their culture and its utilization as a tourism resource. An interesting outcome of this was that while local organizers were at first hesitant to incorporate such aspects of daily lives into field trips (the common opinion was that visitors would only be interested in local architecture), the success of these field trips led to the inclusion of similar tours into Bhaktapur’s action plans which were created on the last days of the conference.

    Similarly, Kathmandu Valley field trips visited the main heritage sites of the valley, highlighting issues were pertinent to many heritage towns and cities of the region:


  • Kathmandu/Patan: Preservation and modernization in conflict. Creating living spaces in heritage district
  • Khokana: Living industrial heritage
  • Changu Narayan: Tourism and livelihood opportunities in an isolated village kingdom
  • Bodenath/Pashupatinath: Pilgrimage and minority groups
  • Panauti: Trading towns

    Field trips were coordinated by the Nepal Heritage Society, Department of Archaeology and Nepal Tourism Board and were led by community leaders and prominent academics. International rapporteurs worked closely with field trip leaders and reported back main issues to conference delegates.


    Creation of heritage tourism action plans


    The main output from the conference was the site-specific action plans drawn up by representatives from each site and conference delegates during the final two days of the conference. The creation of action plans drew strongly from earlier conference proceedings particularly case study presentations, group discussions on issues in heritage and tourism, and field trip and festival experiences.

    The action plan structure was developed by the conference steering committee, in consultation with site representatives and presented to delegates on Day 6 of the conference. Prior to the formation of working groups on Day 7, a series of papers were presented on the ICOMOS Tourism Charter, Australian Heritage Commission/Tourism Council Australia, Draft Heritage Tourism Guidelines and Applying Log Frame Analysis in Planning.

    Having reviewed each case study, identified and discussed major issues in heritage preservation and tourism and experienced local samples of culture, all delegates separated into small working groups to draft action plans that would be ratified by local governments and adopted by each site for the next 18-month period.

    During the working groups, each case study site presented a statement of significance for their site, a statement of common vision for development, and an indication of how tourism could contribute to the local vision. Each group then developed a set of actions that identified an issue, suggested actions, outputs, timeframes and indicators. One ‘Flagship’ action was also identified. These actions were presented back to all conference delegates before further development.