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UNESCO Workshop on "Culture Heritage Management and Tourism:  Models for Cooperation among Stakeholders"
Lijiang, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China
8 - 18 October 2001

 

Workshop background

The last phase of the project was a direct follow-up to the previous three project phases. During Phase I, test pilot sites were identified and on-site analytical studies of both the tourism and heritage sectors were conducted.  During Phase II, the results of these analyses were presented at a workshop held in Bhaktapur, Nepal which took place in April 2000, at which time test action plans were drawn up by the pilot sites to address the problematic issues of communication and coordination between the tourism and heritage sectors identified during the Phase I studies.  During Phase III, these action plans were implemented on an experimental basis at each pilot site.

 

As an integral component of the overall project, Phase IV of the project culminated in the Lijiang workshop that provided a forum for representatives from participating heritage sites to work with panels of international experts and other heritage site stakeholders to collectively evaluate action plans and to draw up models for the preservation of heritage and development of tourism as a local resource.

 

Workshop site

Nominated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, Lijiang is a beautiful historic town dating from the Song Dynasty when it was the "last stop" for caravans before heading up and over the Himalayas on their way to Tibet and India via the southern Silk Route. Today the town is a well-preserved and popular domestic tourist destination situated in a spectacular location at the foot of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Many old customs survive including music and rituals of the Naxi people who have a unique culture blending Chinese, Tibetan and indigenous traditions. The Lijiang County Government provided its full support for the workshop, which provided an international showcase for the town and its rich heritage.

 

Lijiang Workshop organizing partners

  • Chinese National Commission for UNESCO
  • Country Government of Lijiang
  • Government of Norway

 

Workshop structure

The Lijiang workshop was structured around three major activities.  From these three activities, models for cooperation among heritage tourism stakeholders in the region were defined, which is the ultimate goal of the project.

  • The presentation and evaluation of the success of the implementation of the action plans in the eight participating sites
  • focus group clinics on relevant issues
  • field studies of the living cultural heritage of our host community and the challenges they are facing from tourism development.

 

The eight core pilot sites presented the outcome of their action plan activities, which had been drawn up at the Bhaktapur workshop.  In response to the challenges encountered in the implementation, regional invited experts once again pooled their creative resources to assist the sites in helping to formulating modified action plans to sustain the sites' gains over the long term.

The second major component of the workshop were the smaller focus group workshops or "clinics" on relevant issues grouped under the four main topics on fiscal management, investment by the tourism industry, community education/training and conflict resolution.
 
Workshop participants were also provided the opportunity to study the living heritage and community life in Lijiang's villages which are components of the Lijiang Naxi World Heritage Site. To provide a thematic approach to our on-site study workshops, UNESCO initiated a pilot activity aimed at organizing a 'village tour guiding cooperative' in some of the villages visited, in close coordination with the local authorities and stakeholders. Under the pilot activity, local 'hosts' were trained by village elders to provide guiding services and 'authentic' experience to tourists, which will justify the collection of a 'tourist entry fee' by the cooperative. Other field study sites included an eco-tourism resort set up by a local entrepreneur, and a community-based eco-tourism and environmental conservation project at a lakeside village.

Drafting the Lijiang Models for Cooperation amongst Stakeholders

Based on the implementation outcomes of the pilot projects under the framework of site-specific models, the site representatives and experts jointly developed the Lijiang models. The models are intended to:

  • secure conservation and management of the cultural heritage in a sustainable way
  • respect the living traditional ways of life
  • include the local population and promote competence building, employment and other benefits especially among the poor part of the population
  • induce tourism industry to compensate the heritage by increased revenues

 

The Lijiang models include:

  • Model for fiscal management of heritage conservation, maintenance and dvelopment at a municipal level - achieved through overview of current income generating mechanisms and identification and utilization of new opportunities.
  • Model for investment by the toursim industry in the sustainability of the culture heritage base - achieved through education of tourism operators on the value of culture heritage and by formulating means by which the toursim industry can contribute to preservation activities.
  • Model for community education and skills training leading to employment in the heritage conservation and culture tourism sector, with emphasis on opportunities for women and youth - achieved by identifying equipment applications and training needs and by designing programmes to meet these needs.
  • Model for conflict resolution among tourism promoters, property developers and heritage conservationists - achieved by encouraging group participation in a structure venue where all stakeholders can raise and discuss their situations and conserns.