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Community participation in heritage tourism management of Sukhothai historical park

Ranee Esichaikul (School of Management Science, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nonthaburi, Thailand)
Rochaporn Chansawang (School of Management Science, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Nonthaburi, Thailand)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 31 January 2022

Issue publication date: 9 December 2022

388

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine community participation in cultural heritage management with regard to sustainable heritage tourism management in Sukhothai Historical Park (SHP) in Sukhothai Province.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative and quantitative research approaches were applied; in-depth interviews were conducted with 27 key informants, and 104 questionnaires were distributed among stakeholders and local communities.

Findings

The results revealed that sustainable park management has made a positive impact upon local economy, social and cultural conservation of the world heritage site. The Park Authority has developed and conserved archaeological sites with local community assistance, particularly for physical management, but it has not yet used archaeological heritage in the park for more benefits of tourism development.

Research limitations/implications

The results reveal that sustainable park management has made a positive impact on the local economy and social and cultural conservation of the World Heritage city. The Park Authority has developed and conserved archaeological sites with local community assistance, particularly for physical management, but it has not yet used archaeological heritage in the park for greater urban tourism development. Sustainable cultural heritage management in SHP is government-led, so community participation is based upon two-way communication in the form of “tokenism.”

Practical implications

Sukhothai is encouraged to find suitable mechanisms to facilitate multisectoral communication and development to jointly face the challenge of more visitors and urbanization.

Originality/value

Guidelines for enhancing community involvement in cultural heritage management of the park were proposed.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University for this research project.

Citation

Esichaikul, R. and Chansawang, R. (2022), "Community participation in heritage tourism management of Sukhothai historical park", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 897-911. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJTC-03-2021-0035

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, International Tourism Studies Association.

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