Author: Adie BAILEY, Alberto AMORE
Department: Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca – Italy
Institution: Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca – Italy
Title: Varied Economic Impact Assessments and their Use in Sustainability Measuring at Heritage Tourism Sites: Syracuse, a Case Study/ Variée méthodes pour la evaluation des impacts économiques et leur utilisation pour la mesure de la durabilité aux sites de tourisme patrimonial: Syracuse, une étude de cas.
Economic impact assessments are often used to ascertain the economic sustainability of World Heritage Sites. This paper will analyze various methods with which this economic assessment is undertaken in order to evaluate the methodological validity of these varies assessment procedures. This seeks to fill a research gap in modern sustainability-based tourism research. Although much research focuses on the feasibility of sustainable tourism both in general and at specific sites, the majority of these studies often focus on one methodological framework to assess sustainability. As a result, very little work implemented multiple assessments in the analysis of tourism related impacts on a specific site. Similarly, the review of these assessment methods is extremely limited. This study seeks therefore to adopt different evaluative methods for the analysis of a specific World Heritage Site while simultaneously gauging the accuracy levels of each method and of its results.
This study looks at five different types of impact assessments which are undertaken in tourism assessment. The first deals primarily with direct impacts, specifically, increase in site admissions sales and site-specific employment. These are the most obvious economic impacts which can be analyzed by tourist professionals, but they can also be the most misleading ones as they only illustrate a very narrow aspect of the economic impact. The second technique uses the multiplier effect analysis which examines the spread of economic benefits to the broader community and region. It basically assumes that a greater economic spread among the local community will increase local demand for products which will in turn raise the level of economic development. The third consists of an input-output analysis which deals with ratios related to economic input in terms of capital or work and its subsequent, and expected, increased output. The fourth method analyzes indirect site visitation spending, such as that spent on souvenirs, accommodation, meals, etc. The fifth, and final, method involves an analysis of patterns of business and personal movement. This specific method seeks to detect whether or not the site attracted new inhabitants to its locale and to evaluate the growth of business around it.
These five methods are often used separately in different analyses, but this study will undertake all of them in order to determine which, if any, are the most valid, and if, instead, the most valid assessment would be a mixed usage of the above described assessments methods.
This analysis will be applied to the specific case study of Syracuse, Italy, which was awarded World Heritage Site status in 2005. This site allows for an in depth assessment using all of these different methodologies as the city of Syracuse is a site itself. This study will use all available economic and visitation data in accordance with the above stated methodologies to undertake the analysis of the assessment methods. This case study will then be used as a model to ascertain the validity of one specific assessment methodology or, as mentioned previously, the usage of a mixed assessment. This analysis is expected to fill the aforementioned gap in research related to the validity of economic assessment methodology in tourism.
Bailey Adie is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts Cultural Heritage and International Development program at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. Her research focuses on branding, UNESCO, economic sustainability, and tourism with a focus on the South Asian region, specifically India. She has written her dissertation on the impact of imagery in the marketing of places and its impacts on economic development through tourism, using a comparative case study of two Indian states.
Alberto Amore is graduated in Tourism and Local Development at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. His research interests focus on tourism planning, heritage tourism and urban tourism, while his most recent studies deal with the phenomenon of culture-led urban regeneration in the UK.