This paper considers the relationship between heritage tourism and sustainable development, with special reference to World Heritage Sites (WHSs). It notes that while WHS status is not necessarily linked to tourism growth, all WHSs must now develop and implement a management plan to mitigate tourism impacts and sustain site significance. The paper explores the concept of sustainable heritage tourism and identifies two key principles of sustainable practice – a planning process that is long term and holistic, and multiple stakeholder participation in that planning process. Qualitative content analysis is used to determine the extent to which these principles have been integrated into the tourism planning process at six WHSs. The study found that a formal goal-oriented planning process was in evidence at all six sites. However, the process lacked a comprehensive and holistic approach to the wider issues of sustainable development, and genuine engagement with local community stakeholders.
Journal of Sustainable Tourism Vol. 17, Issue 1, p. 53-70