Abstract

World Heritage Site (WHS) status is a strong brand with exceptional quality and an excellent reputation that attracts tourists to visit. This study applies and adapts the brand knowledge model to examine local stakeholders’ understanding of the WHS status as a brand (Keller, 1998). A case study approach was applied and a WHS in China was selected as the case. In total, 13 interviewees including local government employees, private business owners and residents, participated in the study. The study showed that the three local stakeholder groups were familiar with the WHS status and shared the importance of the WHS status as intended by the WHS program with tourists. However, local stakeholders emphasized the economic importance of the WHS status, and conservation was perceived as a tool to fulfill economic benefits. The results of this research suggested that the WHS status may not be a strong brand and challenges the standpoint of the WHS program.

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Local Stakeholders’ Perspectives of WHS Status: A Case Study

World Heritage Site (WHS) status is a strong brand with exceptional quality and an excellent reputation that attracts tourists to visit. This study applies and adapts the brand knowledge model to examine local stakeholders’ understanding of the WHS status as a brand (Keller, 1998). A case study approach was applied and a WHS in China was selected as the case. In total, 13 interviewees including local government employees, private business owners and residents, participated in the study. The study showed that the three local stakeholder groups were familiar with the WHS status and shared the importance of the WHS status as intended by the WHS program with tourists. However, local stakeholders emphasized the economic importance of the WHS status, and conservation was perceived as a tool to fulfill economic benefits. The results of this research suggested that the WHS status may not be a strong brand and challenges the standpoint of the WHS program.