Issues arise when trying to understand the motivation of policymakers to preserve the assets of cultures that do not belong to the mainstream population. Tunbridge and Ashworth's seminal study on ‘Dissonant Heritage’ and Bennett's developmental model of intercultural sensitivity (DMIS model) provide a basis to evaluate both the motivations and the existence of a cultural dissonance. As there is a growing worldwide trend towards preserving and developing Jewish heritage tourism (JHT) this study examines Jewish heritage sites in three Macedonian cities endowed with rich Jewish history. Unlike previous studies concentrating on the notion of dissonant heritage, this research focuses on the motivation for preserving such sites, an issue hardly tackled before. Previous studies suggested the prevalence of six possible motives: guilt, facing harsh history, emphasis on dark tourism, revival of a harmonious past, respect, and economic benefits. Data were obtained via face-to-face interviews conducted with policy-makers from central and local governments. The interviews were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively in order to determine the leading motives for preservation. The findings indicate that by establishing and maintaining Jewish Heritage sites, stakeholders reflect sentiments of respect and admiration for the perished Jewish community and a longing for the revival of an elusive harmonious past. The potential economic benefits and dark tourism surfaced only as minor motives. Practically, JH preservation is used to revive dialogue with a forgotten past that may also contribute to urban tourism development in the future. Conceptually, the interviews did not reveal any indication of heritage dissonance, a finding that stands in sharp contrast to the dissonant heritage theory.
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Following the aforementioned methodological procedures it was found that the two motives embedded in research queries Q4 and Q5 have surfaced as the main decision guiding logic common to all three case studies. Decision-makers in Macedonia chose to emphasize that their support for investing in JHSs is being driven mainly by two positively connoted motives: respect to the former Jewish residents and a vision concerning the revival of a harmonious past. The following sub-sections present all motives from the more common to the least. Each motive is supported by a sample of characteristic statements made by the respondent.
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- Jewish heritage tourism
- dark tourism
- dissonant heritage
- urban tourism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management