Identity, Diversity and Tourism

Shrewsbury"Tourism is just one of the many forces for change affecting historic towns and should not be treated as a scapegoat". This was the message given by Ian Poole, EHTF Chair, at the 2006 European Association of Historic Towns and Regions (EAHTRSymposium in Dubrovnik at the end of September. Ian presented a paper on 'The Importance of Identity and Diversity: Tourism in Context'.

Ian stressed the significance of identity and diversity and drew attention to the pressures for change, many of which are driven by market forces. The Forum has long recognised that tourism is one, but only one, driver of change and has published best practice guidance to encourage more sustainable tourism.

'Focus on Tourism'(see publications) is the latest guidance, published in February 2006. The Symposium heard how it proposes actions to recognise the uniqueness of a place, steps to enhance this and opportunities for reinforcing identity through improvements to the environment.

Quoting from 'Power of Place' - English Heritage 2000, Ian urged the Symposium "to understand better the character of places and the value and significance people ascribe to them".

By Brian Human, Executive Committee Member & Head of Policy and Projects Cambridge City Council

Image: Shrewsbury - We need to understand sense of place