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The project will foster the creation of key networks within heritage and tourism sectors, utilising in particular UNESCO’s LEAP (‘Integrated Community Development and Cultural Heritage Site Preservation in Asia and the Pacific Through Local Effort’) network of heritage site managers, and heritage experts from the private and public sectors. The project will also develop closer networking ties with the tourism industry through industry bodies and national tourism organisations.

The scope of the project encompassed the implementation of four phases:



  Phase I:

Identification and organisation of preparatory studies, network development and case study preparation

  Phase II:

Final preparation of case studies and implementation of first regional workshop for presentation of case studies and development of action plans (Bhaktapur, Nepal)

  Phase III:

Implementation of action plans

  Phase IV:

Joint internal evaluation of action plans and elaboration of models of cooperation among stakeholders at second regional workshop (Lijiang, China)

  Phase V:

External evaluation of project results and mainstreaming of best practices through publications and workbook at third regional workshop (Penang, Malaysia)


Phase I: Case studies


Eight historic heritage towns were selected in a variety of locations in the region. Priority was given to sites already listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List or on States Parties’ Tentative Lists of World Heritage properties, countries which are a priority to NORAD activities and to sites located in developing countries where cultural tourism development is a development priority by policy and by practice. In this way, both the necessity for site conservation and for its development as a tourism resource can be assumed to be agreed-upon goals of the community of stakeholders.

In each of these pilot sites, a team of local experts and/or stakeholders undertook an in-depth study on the impact of tourism on heritage preservation. The presence, or lack thereof, of co-operation among the tourism industry, the local government and heritage conservationist were examined. Thirdly, the study analysed and incorporated the findings of two “assessment surveys” of international and domestic visitors to the site and local residents. The resulting document or case-study constituted a background paper as to the economics of cultural tourism development at the site and its implications for protection, conservation and presentation of heritage.

Throughout the project specific emphasis were placed on ensuring the cooperation of women and women’s groups in the research, implementation and presentation of the case studies and subsequent programmes and that women’s’ needs and concerns were adequately represented in all stages.

During the stages of team formation, team members were informed that their work must take into account the interests of all the different stakeholders that have been identified under the category that they represent.

Case studies were formatted to include a short introductory description of the heritage site, explanation on preservation, management and presentation of heritage, services and tourism resources available, expectations of tourists, an analysis and summary of problems and conclusions.


Phase II: Workshop to elaborate models of co-operation (Bhaktapur, Nepal)


Following the elaboration of the case studies, a regional workshop was organised where each team presented their background document to an audience of stakeholders from a wide selection of communities throughout the region, supplemented by participants from other regions in comparable circumstances. The workshop was facilitated by experts in heritage conservation, tourism economics and community development. At this workshop, a model for co-operation and action plan were developed for each of the pilot locations as the basis for activities to be undertaken in phase III of the project.


Phases III: Implementation of action plans


During phase III, pilot sites launched the implementation of their individual action plan and model for cooperation between stakeholders in developing sustainable community-based tourism industries based on local heritage resources.  The results of the implementation were monitored by the local implementers as well as outside monitoring through expert monitoring missions undertaken to six of the eight Pilot Sites to assist ‘Pilot Site Implementation Teams’ in the implementation of their Action Plans and in the preparation of their reports. These missions were carried out by regional experts, staff members of the Office of the UNESCO Regional Advisor for Culture in Asia and the Pacific, and by the Regional Advisor himself.


Phase IV: Workshop to evaluate pilot site implementation and construct models of cooperation among stakeholders (Lijiang, China)


The "Culture Heritage Management and Tourism: Models for Cooperation among Stakeholders" workshop was held in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China from 8 - 18 October 2001.  During the workshop, a joint analysis was undertaken by the pilot sites and outside resource persons of the results of implementation of action plans in each of the eight pilot sites over the course of the previous 18 months.  Based on the outcomes of the action plans, the ‘Lijiang Models of Cooperation for the Development of Sustainable Tourism in Asia and the Pacific’ were constructed.


Phases V: Workshop to evaluate and mainstream project results (Penang, Malaysia)


The "Culture Heritage Management and Tourism: Evaluation and Mainstreaming" workshop was held in Penang, Malaysia from 15-18 January 2003.  The last activity of the 4-year project, the workshop was funded by the Government of Norway through the Nordic World Heritage Foundation (NWHF), and supported by the State Government of Penang and local heritage site managers.  During the workshop, eight pilot sites presented their self-evaluation reports.  Outside expert evaluators, chosen from the tourism and related industries were also invited to help in the evaluation of the project so that the lessons learnt from the pilot site activities can be mainstreamed into government policy at the local, provincial and national level.




During all phases, the resources and expertise of organisations such as the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), which has regional headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, were utilised. Such an alliance, in addition to building credibility for this project within the tourism industry and helping facilitate their engagement, were beneficial to the project because of the organisation’s high level of regional membership, industry intelligence capabilities and its capacity to influence and regulate members.

In addition, the expertise of a number of local non-governmental organisations were utilised at each site, including members of the Buddhist sangha, Islamic mosque waqf, Hindu temple trustees and other religious groups, educational and vocational training institutions, heritage and cultural preservation societies. The project also drew on the expertise and resources of national tourism authorities in each country and other relevant government institutions.