Sustainable tourism and archaeological sites : a case study from Amman, Jordan

  • Ibrahim Saadi Mslam

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Jordan is a country with vast heritage resources, from natural heritage to religious, archaeological and historical heritage sites. These heritage resources attract thousands of tourists from different parts of the globe annually. Despite the importance and potential of tourism to contribute to the economic development of the country, it faces major challenges. Sustainable tourism is crucial both for the protection and preservation of heritage places and in creating economic, social and environmental benefits for local people and the archaeological sites. Undertaking a sustainable tourism approach to the management of archaeological sites in Amman would ensure the protection of the sites for present and future generations, high-quality services for tourists to the sites, and local participation aimed at to maximise local benefits (Csorba & Lile,2010). This thesis explores the issues facing tourism centred on the highly significant Roman Theatre and Citadel sites in central Amman. It evaluates the current state of tourism at these archaeological sites, identifies current challenges facing tourism and heritage management, analyses existing tourism plans, and makes recommendations for the future development of sustainable tourism and archaeological heritage management in Amman. This research utilised a mixed-methods strategy, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. It presents findings from a survey that investigated the perceptions and experiences of tourists visiting archaeological sites in Amman, and also draws on interviews with employees working at the study sites. These groups represent two of the primary stakeholders of the area’s tourism industry. The research analysed and integrated both primary and secondary data to develop a holistic analysis of tourism in Jordan’s capital city. The primary data were obtained through a survey of tourists and employees working at selected archaeological sites, as well as at other levels in the tourism industry. The secondary data were vi derived from both published and unpublished literature. The research revealed that social tensions, inadequate heritage management practices, vandalism and destruction of the sites by tourists and locals, and inadequate training of staff in sustainable management practices as the major challenges facing the future conservation of archaeological sites in Amman and the development of a sustainable tourism industry. The study further revealed that inadequate participation of local people in tourism development and management, weak management structures, inadequate resources and the lack of a national conservation and management policy for archaeological heritage in Jordan as the leading root causes of these problems. The study identifies the need for equality in the distribution of resources amongst local groups, and awareness of local cultural sensitivities as key social issues, while the development of adequate tourism legislation, heritage management plans (including the need for adequate conservation and storage of associated archaeological material),and a nationwide policy on archaeological sites management, are identified as key requirements for a sustainable future for archaeological tourism in Jordan.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorTracy Ireland (Supervisor), Nawal El-Gack (Supervisor) & Nabil Khairy (Supervisor)

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