Journal of Business and Hotel ManagementISSN: 2324-9129

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Tourism Policymaking Assessment of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Tabriz, Iran

One of the mandates of UNESCO’s world heritage convention is preservation of cultural properties. The idea is to create a balance between safeguarding the identity, history and future of these places and the way people interact with them. These interactive patterns become premise of cultural and heritage tourism, the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. According to the WTO, Iran, with various historical and cultural attractions, is considered among top ten most visited countries. Among tourist attractions of the country, Tabriz is one of the central historical cities. The Tabriz Historical Bazaar Complex (TBHC) is recognized as the WHS by UNESCO. It is one of the oldest bazaars of the Middle East and the largest covered bazaar in the world. The present research analysed the development of cultural/heritage tourism in TBHC-WHS to assess efficiency of the established tourism policies. The multi-pronged approach included documents analysis, interviews, and comparative case studies. Considering different areas of expertise of the interviewees, three types of questionnaires were utilised for management organizations, tourism organizations and regional authorities. The questionnaires were developed based on UNESCO’s standard based on 6 dimensions namely: regional development, general management, tourism management, condition and preservation, communication and awareness, involvement and management. These dimensions are divided in 22 indicators as well as 40 criteria. For data analysing, a web based Benchmarking tool was employed. The results of TBHC were compared against four other case studies including: Salzburg-WHS, Goa-WHS, Lamu-WHS and Cesky Krumlov-WHS. The results showed that Salzburg-WHS obtains the highest score in condition & preservation, general management and tourism management. Lamu-WHS also obtained the highest rank in involvement & support, and regional development. TBHC received the highest rank in communication & awareness dimension.

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