Tourism and the multi-faith heritage of the Middle East and North Africa: A resource perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter provides a largely supply-side perspective on the ways in which religion functions as a major foundation for the heritage product of the Middle East and North Africa. The historical context of the indigenous faiths of the region (i.e. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and others) is provided, followed by a typological assessment of the main categories of religious attractions, including historic buildings, museums, archaeological sites, mountains and gardens, tombs and cemeteries, intangible culture, religious meals, pilgrimages, and trails. Each one of these types of tourism assets is described and contextualised within the religious, social, and political environments of the MENA region. Despite the successes of heritage tourism in the region, there are many socio-political challenges. These include heritage destruction by war and intentional targeting by extremist groups, the occupation of the West Bank by Israel, political manipulation of heritage, neglect of religious minority groups, overcrowding by tourists in certain historic cities, and religio-spatial contestation. All of these situations prevent the MENA region from realising its heritage tourism and heritage conservation potential, particularly as regards access to sacred sites and protection of ancient spiritual centres. Despite these challenges, MENA continues to be the most important destination region in the world for religion-based heritage tourism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCultural and Heritage Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa
Subtitle of host publicationComplexities, Management and Practices
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages34-53
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781000177084
ISBN (Print)9780367232719
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)

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