Interlinking Sustainable Development Goals: Involving local communities in tourism development and cultural heritage preservation

By Amy Plant

Amy represented Central Queensland University at the ECOSOC High-level Political Forum in New York.


Consideration should be given to engaging communities in a close and authentic manner during the development of localised economic or social initiatives. Many instances of economic development initiatives in regional or remote areas have resulted in unintentional negative social consequences for communities. An example is the development of tourism projects and products which can lead to unexpected threats to the preservation of local cultural heritage. Conversely, there are examples of innovative digital cultural heritage preservation projects which have resulted in the development of authentic tourism product. Thus in many instances, tourism product development and the preservation of cultural heritage are inextricably linked. The concepts of localised tourism development and safeguarding of cultural heritage are encompassed within the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. These are guiding principles which underpin many government and non-government development programmes. For development practitioners, strategies should be implemented to ensure local communities considered and engaged throughout the process of programme design and implementation. The community voice is a valuable asset in promoting inclusiveness in decision making, while ensuring appropriateness of localised initiatives so they may have positive impacts on society.

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