A Proposal to Categorize Cultural Sustainability Elements for the Management of World Cultural Heritage Sites


  • Rafael Oliveira
  • Silvia De Ascaniis
  • Renata Baracho
  • Hebert Salgado
  • Lorenzo Cantoni


Different interpretations have been proposed of how culture is related to the concept of sustainability. Culture has been described as the fourth dimension of sustainability, together with the economic, environmental and social dimensions; it has been considered a mediator that enables a balance among the other three dimensions; it has also been seen as the very foundation for achieving sustainability goals. However, the elements that make culture a fundamental part of sustainability interventions are neither yet clearly defined nor equally implemented. In tourism, when it comes to World Cultural Heritage Sites (wchss), the issue of cultural sustainability
should be considered both from the position of the management and from the position of visitors: do wchss managers consider cultural sustainability dimensions when developing sustainability strategies for their site? Are visitors’ experiences and images of the site influenced by elements related to cultural sustainability? A study is presented here, which aimed at answering these questions, analysing both faces of the coin. First, the different interpretations proposed to explain the relationship between culture and sustainability have been considered, to identify key descriptive elements. Then, a sample of online travel reviews about visitors’ experiences at unesco wchss has been analysed, to see if such key elements were part of visitors’ stories and evaluations. Finally, managers and specialists of wchss in Switzerland have been interviewed, to see if they agreed on the identified key descriptive elements. Results allowed us to categorize 24 elements related to cultural sustainability, to aggregate them into five dimensions, and finally to organize them in a conceptual framework. Keywords: cultural sustainability, World Heritage Sites, categorization, tourists, site managers, online travel reviews

Author Biographies

Rafael Oliveira


Silvia De Ascaniis


Renata Baracho


Hebert Salgado



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How to Cite

Oliveira, R., De Ascaniis, S., Baracho, R., Salgado, H., & Cantoni, L. (2023). A Proposal to Categorize Cultural Sustainability Elements for the Management of World Cultural Heritage Sites. Academica Turistica - Tourism and Innovation Journal, 16(1). Retrieved from https://academica.turistica.si/index.php/AT-TIJ/article/view/500



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