Heritage Lost or Fortune Found: Issues and Dilemmas concerning Tourist Development within Local Communities
AbstractThe past, for individuals and for communities, has a potent presence; it has, in no small measure, the power to shape perceptions of current well-being as well as optimism for the future. Major discontinuities as between the past and the present can occasion widespread and negative consequences in the life of many members of a community; this is particularly so if such changes are perceived as having been imposed without prior consultation and agreement. The severity of this situation is even further compounded if changes lead to a diminution or degradation of heritage and cultural environments within a community. For many community embers, a profusion of shopping centres, of roads and highways and of leisure facilities can be no adequate replacements for the loss of their historical and cultural heritage; these typically constitute vital elements of their community and indeed individual identity. Nor can an increase in various types of employment adequately replace an abiding sense of personal well-being that frequently accompanies sensitive and competently-managed change, the hallmark of which would see the interests and rights of community members, both the powerful and the powerless, taken into account and not subordinated in the maximization of profit. Whilst tourism development is often widely regarded as heralding unalloyed riches to those communities in which it appears, this paper examines some of the more baleful effects upon heritage that have now been associated with unrestrained and insensitive tourism development in tropical North Queensland. The paper presents issues found most problematic to many local residents; it then examines the historic precinct of Cannery Row in Monterey, noting some of the less desirable changes to heritage that have been occasioned by tourism development in recent years. Finally, suggestions are offered in regard to how local community members might be more empowered in their responses to future unrestrained negative developments affecting their local heritage.
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