Community participation in tourism development and World Heritage Site (WHS) conservation management is essential for the sustainable development of WHS destinations. Local communities play a significant role in reviving and sustaining WHSs. Community participation ranges from involvement in the decision-making processes at the highest level down to economic involvement and the promotion of the destination at the lowest level. What shape community participation ultimately takes depends on the circumstance of destinations. This study attempts to review the current community participation literature with respect to rural WHS destinations, synthesising the current literature by way of a systematic review. The findings reveal a preference among rural WHS residents for economic involvement and destination promotion rather than participation in the decision-making process. The findings of this study expand upon the community participation literature, clarifying the concept in the context of rural WHS destinations. In addition, the results have practical implications for local authorities responsible for the sustainable conservation management and tourism development of rural WHS—that these seemingly competing objectives are best achieved by involving local residents in economic activities and increasing their benefits from tourism.
Part of the book: Tourism