You are on page 1of 17

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

Faith and Tourism
Accommodating Visitor and Worshiper in the Historic City
Simon C. Woodward

The past is everywhere. All around us lie features which, like ourselves and our thoughts, have more or less recognisable antecedents. Relics, histories, memories suffuse human experience. Each particular trace of the past ultimately perishes, but collectively they are immortal. Whether it is celebrated or rejected, attended to or ignored, the past is omnipresent. (Lowenthal, 1985) Introduction A recent report suggested that faith tourism based on Christianity is one of the strongest growing sectors in international tourism today, generating at least US $1 billion per annum[1]. For instance, it is estimated that in 2000, some 30 million pilgrims visited Rome and 4 million visited the Holy Land. We should also recognise that faith tourism is not just a feature of Christianity, but of almost every religion. Indeed, some locations are important to more than one faith. Jerusalem of course is sacred to three religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a situation which brings with it additional challenges in terms of management. And it isn t just Christianity that generates high levels of visitor activity. More than 2 million Hindus take part in the Kumbh Mela, whilst hundreds of thousands of Buddhists travel to Kandy, Sri Lanka, every year to the Esala Perahara, when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha is paraded through the town. And some 2.5 million Muslims travel to the Holy City of Makkah each year to perform Hajj one of the five pillars of Islam. The importance of the Hajj to the Saudi economy is considerable, with revenue from this year s Hajj estimated at SR 5 billion (US $ 1.5 billion). Of this, 40% of SR 2 billion (US $ 0.6 billion) was made from renting out apartment buildings to better off pilgrims[2] However, my interest doesn t lie just in this narrow sector of faith tourism but in the broader role of sacred sites in the overall tourism product. In this paper I will explore some of the issues associated with tourism development and visitor management in historic cities with significant religious buildings such as cathedrals, temples and mosques. I won t however touch on graveyards, many of which also function both as sacred spaces but also tourist destinations witness the large numbers of young people whose first point of call in Paris is Jim Morrison s grave located in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in the east of Paris.

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

Nor will I talk about the semi-sacred spaces found outside churches and other religious buildings, such as the space in front of a Cathedral that might at certain times of the year be used for ceremonial purposes, but often is used by tourists like any other plaza, with little respect to local custom or the value accorded to that place. Tourism activity at religious sites Although many people in the west are effectively living in a secular age, the built heritage associated with our religious traditions retains an appeal that often transcends our personal culture or faith. But as a result of this interest, many of our churches, cathedrals, mosques and temples have effectively become yet one more element of the tourism product, effectively a substitute for castles, museums or archaeological sites. At times it seems that for every pilgrim travelling through northern Spain to reach Santiago de Compostela to honour St James, there is an earnest young backpacker looking through a Frommers guidebook, struggling to comprehend the finer points of gothic cathedral architecture. Research undertaken with visitors to churches in England found that most are in socio-economic groups ABC1 and are middle aged or older people, with children who have left the family home [3]. The same research identified five motivating factors for visiting churches, and suggested that they are likely to apply to cathedrals as well. Whilst the spiritual motivation is important, it is by no means the only reason. Others identified included: · · Impulse visits the majority of visits, when passing as part of a day out Family connections relatives may be buried there, or they hold special memories of christenings and weddings Connections with famous people such as St Mary s in Scarborough, which has the grave of Anne Bronte Personal interest in church architecture, often in stained glass

·

·

As an indication of how important religious buildings are to a nation s tourism product, one need on consider the level of visitor activity at the cathedrals of the UK. It is estimated that the UK s 61 cathedrals attract around 19 million visits per annum excluding worshippers[4]. A further 12 million visits are made to our 17,000 churches and chapels. Of the 50 most visited historic properties in the UK in 2000, 19 were cathedrals or churches and 5 of the top ten sites were cathedrals:

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003
Table 1: Top ten most frequently visited historic properties in the UK, 2000

Site Tower of London York Minster Canterbury Cathedral Westminster Abbey Windsor Castle Chester Cathedral St Paul s Cathedral Roman Baths, Bath Stonehenge Warwick Castle

1999 visits 2,430,000 1,900,000 1,320,000 1,260,000 1,280,000 1,000,000 1,070,000 920,000 840,000 790,000

2000 visits 2,300,000 1,750,000 1,260,000 1,230,000 1,130,000 1,000,000 940,000 930,000 800,000 790,000

% change -5% -8% -4% -2% -12% 0% -12% 1% -4% 0%

Source: English Tourism Council (2001) The Heritage Monitor

Managing pilgrims Of course, visits to holy places are nothing new there are reports of pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the 3rd century AD[5] and by the 4th century such visits were so well established that a hospitality structure was in place, organised by local clergy. Indeed, pilgrimage destinations for any faith tend to quickly develop the facilities needed to accommodate the needs of travellers. The word statio the original Latin word for station was a place on a pilgrim highway that provided welfare and sanctuary[6]. In Islam, the long history of the pilgrimage to Makkah the Hajj led first to an informal situation where different families and clans from Jeddah and Makkah took responsibility for managing different aspects of the hospitality function. Some families arranged transport and accommodation for pilgrims travelling down from the Levant, others looked after the caravans coming up from the areas that are now Oman and Yemen, whilst others secured sufficient sheep to be ritually slaughtered at Eid al-Adha, the celebration at the end of the Hajj that commemorates the obedience of Abraham the Prophet Ibrahim when he was called upon to sacrifice his son Ismail and his triumph over the temptations of the devil. The medieval philosophy was that no pilgrim should need to enter a sacred site unwelcome or unannounced, hence the preferred arrangement for pilgrims to move in groups towards their final destination, having first arrived in an assembly station. This remains true in the case of the Hajj where the logistics of managing 1.5 million international pilgrims and a further 0.5 million Saudis has created the need to establish a separate Ministry to deal with every aspect of the event. One of the roles of the Ministry is to issue licences to private companies many of which are in the ownership of the same families who offered services to pilgrims hundreds of years ago and who continue to facilitate the Hajj operation.

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

It is interesting too to note that the Ministry of Hajj was established many years before the Saudi government saw a need to set up a Ministry of Tourism. One should note, however, that the Saudis do not perceive people coming to perform Hajj or Umrah the little pilgrimage as tourists despite the fact that pilgrims use almost every aspect of the hospitality and transport infrastructure, and despite that fact that pilgrimage is classified by the WTO as a form of tourism. This is partly, I think, because of the obligatory nature of Hajj whereas tourism is by definition a discretionary activity, but is also reflects the seriousness with which the Kingdom s rulers take their responsibility as Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques a duty they perform on behalf of all Muslims. Changing circumstances in the UK I mentioned earlier the current importance of cathedrals and churches to tourism in the UK today. In the past we too supported pilgrimage to holy shrines at Canterbury, Walsingham and Durham, for instance. It is reported that St Margaret s shrine in Dunfermline Abbey attracted up to 200,000 pilgrims per year in the middle ages, with peak periods seeing 20,000 people travelling to a town of only 2,000 residents [7]. However, pilgrimage was outlawed in 1559 after the reformation, and as a result the organised nature of visits to holy places quickly faded into memory. It was only in the 20th century, with the emergence of organised tourism, that large numbers of people once again visited the cathedrals and major churches of Britain. By this time, the economies of historic cathedral towns had changed considerably. Many had become market centres for the surrounding rural area, and some such as Oxford, Durham and St Andrews had also become important university towns. Thus faith-based tourism became only one of many economic sectors to be accommodated within the urban structure. Tourism impacts on the built environment As tourism of all kinds has grown, so has the pressure that it brings to bear on historic towns. Orbasli[8] identifies the following key problems associated with tourism pressures in historic towns: · · · · Overcrowding Traffic and parking Insufficient services and infrastructure Changes to ownership patterns and the loss of the traditional, mixed economy

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

A basic categorisation of the impact of visitors at cultural heritage sites, used by the International Ecotourism Society in its Destination Planning workshops, is as follows: · · · · Accidental damage, erosion Changes in interior micro-climates Crowding Littering · · · · Noise pollution Pollution (fouling) Theft of artefacts/ building fabric Vandalism & graffiti

So what of the problems faced by the religious buildings that form such an important part of the tourism experience in our historic towns? Problems associated with tourism at cathedrals and churches in the UK In 2000, ICOMOS UK undertook a major investigation looking at how cathedrals and churches meet the needs of their visitors[9], the project updating work done almost 25 years previously by the English Tourist Board. Almost 100 cathedrals and churches took part, with the principal problems reported being as follows:
Table 2: Problems reported by cathedrals and churches accommodating tourists

Issue Inadequate car & coach parking Wear & tear on fabric Occasional congestion, overcrowding Theft Vandalism Noise Disturbance to services

2000 ICOMOS UK study 54% 27% 20% 10% 10% 9% 9%

1977 ETB survey 46% 33% 33% -

Source: ICOMOS UK

It is unsurprising, perhaps, in a car-orientated society such as ours, that vehicle parking is the number one problem facing cathedrals and churches seeking to welcome tourists. This was found to be even more of an issue at those churches and cathedrals accommodating 200,000 visitors+ per annum. Obviously this is a problem not just for religious buildings but for the wider tourism sector in historic towns, and is one that urban authorities are only now beginning to address. The problem in historic towns is that the urban fabric in often is physically unable to accommodate more parking spaces, and

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

when public spaces such as town squares are given over to parking as is often the first response, there is a negative impact on the quality of the tourism experience[10]. How then to address this problem, particularly when there exists a real tension between the tourism sector and broader urban conservation interests? As Orbasli comments: the unprecedented growth of cultural tourism and the ever increasing need for this economic input in town and cities is clearly influencing the approach to history and heritage in the urban environment. The commercialisation of heritage is in conflict with the essence of urban conservation[11] . Charging for vehicle access One of the most radical solutions, and politically the most sensitive, is the introduction of tolls for drivers entering city centres in an attempt to secure modal shifts in transportation, and particularly encouraging people out of their cars and onto public transport. Should this fail to secure the modal shift desired, at least it raises income that can be used to subsidise public transport services for others, or indeed other areas of municipal expenditure such as conservation of heritage buildings. Although the introduction of the congestion charge in central London has received considerable media coverage in recent weeks, the historic city of Durham in the North of England has, for several months, been charging vehicles £2.00 (US $3.20) for admission into the city centre that contains not only the usual commercial facilities, but also one of the UK s most visually outstanding World Heritage Sites. Durham Cathedral and Castle are located on a small peninsula at the southern end of the city centre, and were given World Heritage Site status in 1986. The Cathedral represents perhaps the best example of Romanesque ecclesiastical architecture in Northern Europe, and in heritage tourism terms, we are talking about one of the icons of the North of England. The cathedral attracts around 500,000 visitors every year, whilst the nearby castle is one of the colleges of Durham University although it too is able to accommodate around 140,000 visitors per annum on special guided tours. Most of the other buildings on the peninsula are owned and used either by the university or the Dean and Chapter. Thus the historic core of the city is both a tourist destination and a place to live and work. Most tourists come to Durham by car or coach, and the medieval road network leading up to Palace Green, which lies between the cathedral and castle, was becoming overcrowded and dangerous. Before 2002, when the charge was introduced, some 2,000 vehicles a day were coming into the charging zone between 10 am and 4 pm. This has been cut to around 200 vehicles a massive 90% reduction in vehicle movements[12]. Supporting the charging scheme has been the introduction of a small bus between Palace Green and the main car parks around the city, the bus and rail stations. To date, the effect on attendances at the cathedral has not been particularly noticeable but as we enter the main tourist season this may of course change. Some local traders report lower sales since the scheme was introduced but again, this may reflect the current slow down in the UK economy.

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

At Westminster Abbey in Central London, another World Heritage Site, where congestion charges have been levied since February of this year, there is less concern about the likely effect it will have on tourist numbers since the majority of Abbey visitors arrive either by coach or on public transport. Oxford Cathedral, however, reports that the introduction of access restrictions and parking limits in the city centre in summer 1999 has led to a significant fall in visitor numbers[13]. Charging a flat fee for vehicles entering a particular zone or part of a city, such as in Durham and London, is what economists refer to as a regressive tax[14], in that the tax level is independent of the ability to pay, and the average rate paid falls as income increases (for instance, a US $ 2 toll on a weekly income of $100 per week is 2%, whilst $2 for someone earning $200 per week is only 1% of their income). It is thus likely to favour better-off tourists who, as market research suggests, represent the core market for all types of cultural heritage tourism. Thus charging for car access into historic city centres may have the twin benefits, from a tourism point of view, of reducing the overall intrusion of vehicles into an area whilst not unduly discriminating against the core market. Whether or not it is politically correct to be this exclusive is, of course, open to question. Coach access Coach access is another aspect of vehicle management that is crucial to the welcome that our cathedrals give visitors. Yet again, many of our historic towns are unable to adequately cater for the needs of coach operators and strict parking and setting down/ pick up policies are imposed, much to the chagrin of tour operators whose itineraries are strictly timed and for whom walking time is preferably kept to a minimum. At Lincoln Cathedral in Eastern England, the Dean and Chapter is negotiating with the Highways Department of the County Council over how additional coach drop-off points and parking can be provided so that the cathedral can benefit from the city s emerging status as a tourism destination. Finances are an essential part of the cathedral s argument here the annual maintenance budget for the cathedral alone exceeds £1 million (US $1.6 million) and admission charges account for some 50% of all revenue raised from visitors. The more people that visit the cathedral, the higher the income and the easier it is to maintain the fabric of the building without drawing on the Church s financial reserves. Unfortunately in Lincoln the situation is complicated by the urban morphology. So-called uphill Lincoln comprises a network of medieval streets, steep hills and narrow arches, including the only Roman arch still used by traffic in the UK today, 1,700 years after it was built. As in Durham City, a hopper bus has been introduced to link the cathedral and nearby castle with the main shopping area and rail station. It is anticipated that this service will be extended to take in a new coach park and park & ride points in the future, although public support to date has been extremely limited. Congestion and crowding

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

Crowding is another problem faced inside and around religious buildings, particularly during festivals, ceremonies and other events. The ICOMOS UK survey found that the buildings with the largest numbers of visitors are not necessarily the most congested unsurprisingly the size and structure of the building are also important considerations. Causes of congestion at UK churches and cathedrals include: · · · · Several coach parties arriving simultaneously Wet days in July & August (i.e. the main tourist season) Major events inside (flower festivals, concert rehearsals) Major events outside (e.g. Lincoln s Christmas Market)

Charging for access to religious buildings One of the most dramatic solutions to the problem of crowding is to charge for admission. As with the vehicle congestion charge already operating in two of the UK s historic city centres, it is in effect a regressive tax although experience suggests that when applied in cathedrals and churches, it has the desired effect. Westminster Abbey, part of the Westminster WHS in central London that also includes the Palace of Westminster home to the UK parliament and the historic Jewel Tower, has charged for access to some part of the Abbey for nearly 100 years. For much of the last century, visitors paid only to see the Royal Chapels but by 1995 the Abbey s visitor numbers were reaching 2.5 million visitors per annum and many worshippers were increasingly upset by the tendency for people to talk loudly and mill about. In effect, the Abbey had become a convenient meeting room or meeting pint and its role as a place of worship forgotten or ignored. To address these problems the Dean and Chapter at Westminster introduced an initiative the Calm that included: · · · · · Raising the admission charge by 20% Applying it to the whole of the Abbey, rather than just the Royal Tombs Re-orienting visitor flow around the building and creating a single route Providing rest points part way round the route Designating a formal gathering point for coach parties in Dean s Yard, outside the Abbey building but still within the precinct Providing an additional exit part way round for time-pressed coach parties
UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

Recovering

·

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

·

Allowing those who wish to pray privately to enter the quiet nave free of charge through the Pilgrim Door

Overall visitor numbers declined by 60% from 2.5 million to around 1 million per annum, but overall income from visitors actually increased, since only a relatively small proportion of visitors previously paid to see the Royal Tombs. The official press release from the Abbey, commenting on the success of Recovering the Calm, reported that: It must be very rare to find a solution to a loss of spirituality in the application of economics and management. Yet it has happened and it has been a resounding success. Worshippers are returning to the Abbey in steadily increasing numbers and the tourists have shown that they much prefer the new arrangements. It must be said that Westminster Abbey is one of the few UK cathedrals and churches to levy an admission fee - most only ask for donations towards the upkeep of the building. As an indication of the importance (or otherwise) of admission fees to the finances of some of our major places of worship, the ICOMOS UK survey found that for the 9 buildings in the sample that did levy such a charge, the contribution of admission fees to overall gross visitor income averaged 57%, ranging from 10% (St Patrick s Cathedral, Armagh) to 90% (Oxford Cathedral).

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003
Table 3: Relative contribution of different income streams, charging sites only

Site Canterbury Cathedral Glastonbury Abbey Lincoln Cathedral St Paul s, London Oxford Cathedral Westminster Abbey St Patrick s, Armagh St Mary the Virgin, Oxford St Mary s, Rye Average, all sites

Visitors (2000) 1,350,000

Donations 1

Admissions 53

Catering Retail % of gross revenue 1 40

Events -

Other 5

120,000 200,000 1,075,000 175,000 1,270,000 10,000 300,000

6 15 1 5 3 10 5

77 50 65 90 61 10 60

10 2 6 10 10

11 15 30 5 27 30 25

1 2 2 40 -

5 10 1 -

170,000 n/a

19 7

45 57

7

28 23

2 9

6 5

Source: ICOMOS UK

In management terms, there thus appears to be two main advantages of charging for entry to a cathedral or church: · · It reduces demand thus retaining or restoring a sense of serenity and place Unlike catering or retailing, there is little extra on-cost once the cashier s expenses are covered and thus the net contribution to church funds is much greater per £ spent compared to those other visitor services that include a significant cost of sale element

There is of course an ethical issue as to whether it is appropriate to charge for access to a house of God and this is something that each Chapter or congregation must address for itself. Certainly in the case of Westminster Abbey, there was a well-established tradition of charging within the Abbey and thus the Dean and Chapter did not have to go through the same ethical debate that, say, Lincoln underwent when it introduced charging a few years ago. I am not necessarily arguing in favour of charging admission fees at all religious buildings, merely pointing out the advantages that can accrue in visitor management and financial terms. Certainly one

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

should not lose sight of the fact that cathedrals and churches are, first and foremost, a place of worship and ministry income from visitors is just a valuable means of funding this work. Visitor management and hospitality services Earlier I spoke about the long tradition of hospitality that encompasses those serving pilgrims in all of the World s religions. Despite the abolition of pilgrimage to Christian sites in the UK in the 16th century, this tradition remains and is now formalised in many of our cathedrals and churches as a visitor services function. Almost 75% of the ICOMOS UK sample has an administrative structure in place for the management of visitors, with 90% of cathedrals having such a function. St Paul s, for instance, has a commercial director, some 30 paid stewards and several hundred volunteers who provide guiding and related services. Peterborough Cathedral for many years relied on around 20 volunteer welcomers but in 1998 decided to augment the volunteers with a team of 8 paid welcomers , with one immediate result being an increase in donations revenue. Such provision in religious buildings appear to develop in an ad hoc fashion, to implement management arrangements that address the specific issues faced by each facility and its managers. However, there are a number of common approaches that can be found across the UK s churches and cathedrals: · · · · · · · · Guided tours Recommended routes Guide books Foreign language guidebooks or leaflets Displays or exhibitions Welcomers/ stewards Education programmes Children s programmes 47% 36% 31% 30% 26% 24% 16% 15%

One place where the provision of guided tours comes into its own is when one visits a sacred site connected with an unfamiliar religion. In such instances, the benefits include not only a better understanding of the building and of the religion itself, but also guidance on appropriate behaviour important if one is to cause even inadvertent offence. Sacred City of Kandy, Sri Lanka At the Temple of the Tooth Relic in the Sacred City of Kandy, Sri Lanka, locally engaged temple guides perform just this function for the increasing number of international tourists visiting the Temple and surrounding area. Kandy became the capital of Sri Lanka in the 15th century and performed this role until the Kingdom fell to the British in 1815. The Sri Dalada Maligawa, the temple that houses the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha, is probably the most sacred Buddhist shrine in the world and the city remains the religious capital of the country. The sacred city of Kandy was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1988.
UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

Kandy features on 90% of tour itineraries covering Sri Lanka. At present, the city attracts around 140,000 international tourists per annum and a further 17.5 million domestic visits, a ratio of 250:1 Sinhalese to one foreigner [15]. However, the international tourist stays longer (2 nights on average compared to 1 night for domestic visitors) and has a much higher spend per head (US $50 compared to US $ 1 for domestic visitors). Thus in terms of economic impact, local Sinhalese contribute only 2.5 times the level of local income that international tourists do. With the ceasefire in the civil war in Sri Lanka, the government is keen to develop international tourism across the island, building on Sri Lanka s outstanding cultural and natural heritage. Kandy will undoubtedly play a prime role in these efforts, along with the other World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka s Cultural Triangle . At peak periods during Poya and other ceremonial occasions, the town can attract up to 1 million people, bringing the usual problems of congestion and the straining of the local infrastructure. Even outside these periods, the small town centre becomes extremely congested and a survey of local people found that 50% felt this was a problem that needed to be resolved. The municipality does attempt to derive some income from car and coach borne tourists, levying a daily parking charge of 10 rupees (US $ .13) for cars and 25 rupees (US $ .65) for coaches. In the financial year this raised some US $ 350,000 for heritage conservation in the town. Given the very low income levels of most Sinhalese, and the sacred nature of the site for Buddhists, increasing car parking charges to levels that might begin to diminish congestion and, at the same time, raise additional funds for conservation or visitor management, is not really an option. It is also important to note that the government s desire to increase tourism in Kandy is not universally appreciated. A community survey in 1999 found only 50% of local residents in favour of foreign tourists (i.e. non-Buddhists) visiting the Temple, 40% were concerned at the inappropriate clothing worn by international tourists and indeed 13% wanted no tourists at all[16]. These concerns support an earlier review of the effects of cultural tourism on people living within the Cultural Triangle,[17] which expressed concern at the intrusion that tourism will bring to devout Buddhists: in the eyes of the cultural tourist, the local user partaking in the ritual becomes an actor performing in a theatre set. In this case the set is the vernacular architecture of the Temple of the Tooth. For the local user, the ritual is an important part of his upliftment process. For the cultural tourist it is a complete drama . The conflict for the user arises as a result. The upliftment, whether spiritual, psychological or religious, is affected and becomes only partial . In other words, the presence of tourists diminishes the ritual. Local guides can help tourists avoid unnecessary conflict with worshippers although they cannot resolve the other main access management issue at the Temple the need to prevent a re-occurrence of the suicide bomb attach in January 1998 which killed 8 people and injured 25. The entrance area and Temple roof were damaged, although the inner chambers and the relic itself were unharmed. Hopefully, with the recently signed peace accord

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE happen again. Makkah

the Tamil Tigers

such events will hopefully not

Like the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, the Ka bah Mosque (also called the Holy Mosque) in Makkah attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees at one time. However, Muslims regard Makkah as an especially holy place, and no non-Muslim is allowed to approach or enter the city. The Arabic phrase used to describe this is haram , which can mean bothsacred and forbidden. Checkpoints are positioned around the city to check travellers papers, to ensure that no curious tourist enters Makkah. Nonetheless, with more than one billion Muslims in the world, there is more than enough latent demand for access to Makkah during Hajj. The logistics for visitor management associated with the Hajj pilgrimage are considerable. The Ka bah mosque itself is large enough to accommodate 75,000 people at one time and a tented village to accommodate more than a million pilgrims is built in a narrow valley some 2 km wide just outside the town. The number of Muslims travelling from overseas to perform Hajj has grown by some 40% in recent years, although the volume of domestic Hajj participants has recently been declining from 800,000 in 1995, to around 500,000 in 2003. Overseas demand for Hajj is predicted to grow at around 4% per annum for at least the next five years, whilst domestic demand is anticipated to increase again as a result of the changing shift in the age structure of the Saudi population.
Number of international pilgrims performing Hajj

Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

Number of pilgrims 1.1 million 1.3 million 1.4 million 1.4 million 1.5 million 1.5 million

% change on previous year 18% 8% 0% 7% 0%

Source: Supreme Commission for Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

In order to met the obligations of an expanding Muslim population worldwide, there is pressure on the Saudi government to provide additional capacity to maintain the existing allocation of 1 Hajj place per 1,000 resident Muslim population, at least in the short term. However, there is a physical limit to the

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

number that can perform Hajj at any one time because of the bottlenecks in Tawaff, Arafat and Mina, where massive numbers of pilgrims are required to perform certain rituals in a relatively constrained geographical space and over a short period of time. In the area around the Holy Mosque, hotel and apartment developments place further physical constraints on capacity. Thus in the longer term the ratio of 1:1,000 may not be sustainable and there may have to be a change in the allocation of Hajj places. As indicated previously, the geography of the area around Makkah and the Holy Mosque inevitably leads to problems of congestion in some locations. One of the physical planning responses to this has been the creation of vast underground tunnels to allow pilgrims to walk the 10 km from Makkah to Mount Arafat (Mina), and to walk between the two small hills of Safa and Marwah. Yet this provision also brings with it problems because of the vast numbers of people involved in 1990 some 1,400 pilgrims were killed in a stampede in the pedestrian tunnel that links Makkah and Mina when the ventilation system broke down and people panicked. There have been other tragedies too, all associated with the enormous number of people moving around in one location: · · · · · 1994: 270 crushed to death 1997: 350 killed in a fire in the camp site in Mina 1998: 180 crushed to death 2001: 35 crushed to death 2003: 14 crushed to death

The fundamental role of Hajj in Islam means that the tangible built heritage of Makkah has always come second to the improvement of the infrastructure needed to accommodate visitors. The traditional hierarchy associated with the Holy Mosque and the surrounding Haram has been severed in the interests of visitor management. In the original urban layout, common to most Islamic towns[18], the Mosque was at the centre and the surrounding areas contained the important neighbourhoods that serviced the Holy Mosque and the pilgrim community. However, the sacred site in Makkah, including the Holy Mosque, now sits as an island surrounded by vast road networks that are able to move pilgrims to and from the sites efficiently, and a wall of luxury hotels at the top end of the market (note the point made earlier about income from letting apartments being the biggest earner from the pilgrimage). The same situation is true in Madinah, where the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is buried, and where the traditional Aghawat district, with many historic connections to the mosque and the pilgrimage, has been raised to the ground[19]. As a result of this investment in infrastructure and accommodation for better-off pilgrims, the vernacular architecture of the region is all but invisible in Makkah, although it can still be seen nearby in

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

Taif. Last year, the Saudi government was heavily criticised for demolishing the Ottoman Fort that overlooked the Holy Mosque, almost the last remaining 19thcentury building in the town, in order to free up more space for commercial development and infrastructure. And as indicated earlier, in Madinah little remains of the original townscape as again large apartment blocks have been built to house pilgrims visiting the Prophet Mosque and other sites associated with early Islamic tradition. In the case of Makkah and Madinah, therefore, it is the intangible heritage asset that is most important, rather than the architecture that is the physical manifestation of that culture. It is thus hard for an outside to criticise the Saudis for their clean sweep" approach to urban development in Makkah and Madinah, for they recognise that it is not what one sees at a religious building that is important, so much as what one does and what one feels. One interesting, if indirect effect of the major investment in hotels and apartments to cater for pilgrims has been the recent move by the Saudi government to establish a Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT). At present the apartments in Makkah and Madinah operate at 100% occupancy for a three or four week period around Hajj and also during Ramadan, then fall to around 20% for the rest of the year, with an average annual occupancy of around 60%. Apartment and hotel owners have been putting pressure on the government to review visa and travel restrictions, to allow international visitors to spend longer in the Kingdom and to be able to travel freely so that they can visit more sites associated with the Prophet (PBUH). The SCT has thus been charged with developing the Kingdom s tourism sector in an attempt to secure better utilisation of the Kingdom s hospitality infrastructure, and has identified other GCC residents and Muslims coming to Saudi to perform Hajj or Umrah as a key market segment to be targeted. One byproduct of this will inevitably be increased activity at other sacred sites associated with Islam, sites which to date do not have the infrastructure necessary to welcome and accommodate visitors. Such investment is currently being planned at several sites around the Kingdom, including a mosque associated with the Prophet (PBUH) in Al Ula, and at the battlefield of Al Badr, site of the first battle of the Muslims against non-believers from Makkah. St Andrews For my final case study, I want to mention another town that demonstrates the importance of adopting a holistic approach to urban planning and visitor management in historic cities with sacred sites, namely St Andrews in Eastern Scotland. Better known to many as the home of golf, St Andrews was in fact planned to accommodate large numbers of visitors to its religious buildings. Relics of St Andrew were brought first to England by St Augustine in 597 AD, were then moved to Hexham in Northumberland in around 650 AD, and finally to what is now St Andrews in 732 AD. At that time, the town was known as Righmonaidth The mount where kings are crowned - and was the heart of the pagan kingdom of the Scots. The relics were given to the Christian Scots as a reward for embracing the faith in the face of diversity, and the cult of St Andrew began. In 1140 the Pope designated St Andrews as a suitable destination for pilgrimage and the then Bishop, Rodger, issued instructions for the building of a new cathedral church to replace a smaller building
UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003

already in existence. According to his instructions, St Andrews was to be a pilgrim city laid out with processional streets of boulevard proportions, each capable of accommodating large processions of the faithful on pilgrimage. There were also to be gardens for people to rest in. In effect, it was an early holistic approach to town planning for faith tourism, and was the largest building project in Northern Europe of its time. Interestingly, the planned pattern of the main streets in St Andrews has remained unaltered since 1140 although, in the absence of the guides who in earlier times would have escorted pilgrims around the town, modern day visitors are now dependent on the ubiquitous finger posts, orientation panels and guide books to find their way around! Concluding remarks To conclude this all to brief review of key visitor management and planning issues associated with tourism and other visitor activity at sacred sites, I would make the following observations: · there is no substitute for holistic urban planning, although there is very little opportunity for starting again these days · micro-level management responses must be tailored to local circumstances, reflecting both cultural traditions and market realities · practice CASE management Copy And Steal Everything. That is, don t try to re-invent the wheel somebody, somewhere, has done it before!

Notes

[1]

Tourism Trendspotter Volume 2 Issue 4 October 2000 Arab News 18 February 2003

[2]

[3]

Keeling, A (2000) Church Tourism Providing a Ministry of Welcome to Visitors in: English Tourism Council (2000) Insights Section A13
[4]

ICOMOS UK (2001) To Be A Pilgrim. Meeting the Needs of Visitors to Cathedrals and Churches in the United Kingdom
[5]

Wilkinson, J (1998) In Search of Holy Places. Then and Now. In Fladmark, J M ed. (1998) In Search of Heritage as Pilgrim or Tourist Shaftsbury: Donhead Publishing
[6]

Putter, J A (1998) Two Pilgrim Towns: A Quest for St Andrew and St Margaret In Fladmark, J M ed. (1998) In Search of Heritage as Pilgrim or Tourist Shaftsbury: Donhead Publishing

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES

PROCEEDINGS OF THE US/ICOMOS INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM

MANAGING CONFLICT & CONSERVATION IN HISTORIC CITIES
INTEGRATING CONSERVATION WITH TOURISM, DEVELOPMENT AND POLITICS
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND, USA ‡ 24-27 APRIL 2003
[7]

Putter, J A (1998) Two Pilgrim Towns: A Quest for St Andrew and St Margaret In Fladmark, J M ed. (1998) In Search of Heritage as Pilgrim or Tourist Shaftsbury: Donhead Publishing
[8]

Orbasli, A (2000) Tourists in Historic Towns. Urban Conservation and Heritage Management London: Spon

ICOMOS UK (2001) To Be A Pilgrim. Meeting the Needs of Visitors to Cathedrals and Churches in the United Kingdom
[10]

[9]

Orbasli, A (2000) Tourists in Historic Towns. Urban Conservation and Heritage Management London: Spon

[11]

Orbasli, A (2000) Is Tourism Governing Conservation in Historic Towns? Journal of Architectural Conservation vol. 6 no 3
[12]

Hetherington, P (2003) Durham Scheme Charges Ahead The Guardian, 1 February 2003

[13]

ICOMOS UK (2001) To Be A Pilgrim. Meeting the Needs of Visitors to Cathedrals and Churches in the United Kingdom
[14]

Crawford, I A (2000) The Distributional Effect of the Proposed London Congestion Charging Scheme Institute for Fiscal Studies Briefing Note No. 11 Kandy Municipal Council (2000) Cultural Heritage Management and Tourism: A Case Study on Kandy, Sri Lanka. Report to UNESCO Kandy Municipal Council (2000) Cultural Heritage Management and Tourism: A Case Study on Kandy, Sri Lanka. Report to UNESCO
[17] [16] [15]

Amarasekera, A & Navaratne, D B (1993) Cultural Tourism and Visitor Effects on the Local Population with Special Reference to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka Paper to UNESCO Orbasli, A (2000) Tourists in Historic Towns. Urban Conservation and Heritage Management London: Spon Bianca, Stefano (2000) Urban Form in the Arab World, London: Thames and Hudson (p. 235)

[18]

[19]

UNITED STATES NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL ON MONUMENTS AND SITES COMITÉ NATIONAL DES ETATS UNIS DU CONSEIL INTERNATIONAL DES MONUMENTS ET DES SITES