Significance of biocultural heritage, cultural landscape and islandness for responsible tourism: a Knoydart case study

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic, environmental crisis and increasing growth in tourism prompted interest in more responsible tourism. So called responsible tourism (RT) entails diverse ingredients and an aim of this research is to understand if residents of community owned nature-rich land believe they have responsibility to share with visitors, or if their focus is shifting toward prioritising environmental conservation and or personal wellbeing. In this case study a unique perception of RT emerges in Knoydart Scotland, born from a pronounced awareness of biocultural heritage and a self-directed understanding of landscape as cultural. A distinctive feature in this case study is an expression of abundant generosity evolving from participants’ embodied understanding of the integration of culture and nature. This commitment to a cultural landscape is particularly noteworthy since it is set within a location presented to tourists as ‘wilderness’. Findings suggest that it is meaningful to explore historically evolved cultural understandings of ‘islandness’ and biocultural heritage, before promoting exogenous RT strategies. This research revitalizes frequently discredited notions about what responsible and sustainable tourism involve, as well as offering a rare example of the impacts of ‘islandness’ within a mainland setting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalTourism Geographies
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2024

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