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ATLAS Special Interest Group
Heritage Tourism and Education




This Special Interest Group is focused on heritage tourism and its related education discourses and practices. We are concerned with the ways in which heritage tourism experience, in both its cultural and natural manifestations, is produced and consumed. We are also focused on the ways in which heritage places are conserved, maintained and thematised or managed for an array of heritage tourism practices. We will also like to interrogate the knowledge production, dissemination and consumption (or resistance) practices within heritage tourism.


The aim of the group is to understand and help improve heritage tourism and heritage tourism’s related training and education. We are concerned with both natural and cultural heritage and we also take a keen interest and commitment towards both the experiences of visitors and tourists and the people who work to create such experiences.

The often symbiotic, synergising and contesting relation between heritage tourism and heritage education (Figure 1) is a narrative that runs through our range of interests but it does not limit the multiple relevant Focus Areas we envisioned.

We do this via these focus areas and potential topics

Knowledge production, dissemination and consumption in heritage tourism - The design of curriculum, the politics of heritage and/or education, philosophical roots and implications of heritage studies, heritage tourism and tourism education, training of tourism workers, capacity building initiatives and projects in heritage tourism
Conservation of nature and culture in heritage tourism - Identification, documentation and safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage and World Heritage and their relationship with heritage tourism, conservation interventions and their interaction with heritage tourism, production of heritage tourism spaces, social and environmental justice in heritage tourism and conservation, quality benchmarks and accreditation in heritage tourism
Heritage tourism experiences and encounters - Motivations, expectations, experiences and encounters in heritage tourism, heritage interpretation and visitor management, community relations.

Work Plan and Output

We aim to produce a range of intellectual outputs from the research and scholarly work we do on the topics and focus areas listed above and these outputs can take the form of the production of academic peer reviewed papers, special issues, edited books, academic conferences, student workshops, policy and consultation work and community outreach.

More specifically, we are looking at the following:

  • An inaugural meeting in Macao
  • Special Interest Group meetings once a year (in Asia)
  • Student workshops every other year
  • Participation in ATLAS Annual Conference – as a thematic panel

Edited books or special issues in journals from the sessions

Connections with other groups

While possessing its unique focus areas, this proposed Special Interest Group (SIG) is envisioned to provide collaborative connections with existing SIGs, such as Cultural Tourism SIG and Events Tourism SIG. With a core group of researchers based in Asia, this proposed SIG has the potential to support ATLAS’ Asia-Pacific Section and help broaden ATLAS’ reach.



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