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|Author :||Ady Milman|
|School/Work Place :||University of Central Florida, Orlando|
The research investigated the role of souvenir vendors in sustaining the social-cultural authenticity of Chichen Itza’s host community, a Mexican UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) (UNESCO, 2015a). The case study evaluated the Maya-descent vendors’ practice of merchandising as an activity-based strategy (Saarinen, 2006) to conserve their heritage and sustain their culture.
Research on World Heritage Sites (WHS) is extensive. Some scholars argued that community participation is crucial for successful heritage tourism and community development (Su & Wall, 2014). The level of participation by local communities in theprocess of sustainable tourism may vary according to the nature and context of the specific heritage site. The majority of the studies addressed broad tourism impacts on WHS such as economic, socio-cultural, physical, or attitudinal changes (Aas et al., 2005; Jimura, 2011; Okech, 2010; Scheyvens, 2003; Su & Wall, 2012, 2014). However, the literature lacks specific examples of the tactics adopted by various stakeholders that impacted tourism development and sustainability at a WHS.