3. Heritage Tourism and Motivation

Before exploring reasons for visiting heritage spaces, two interlinked critical issues need to be raised, namely, the difference between tourism in historic places and heritage tourism and the fact that the study of motivation is commonly centred on notions of leisure, recreation and pleasure. Heritage tourism is commonly regarded as activity by tourists in a space where historic artefacts are presented (Garrod and Fyall, 2001). By contrast, it is argued in this article that heritage tourism should be understood based on the relationship between the individual and the heritage presented and, more specifically, on the tourists’ perception of the site as part of their own heritage (Poria 200la, 2001b; Poria, Butler, and Airey 2000, 200l, 2003a, 2003b, 2003c). This argument lies at the heart of this research, as perceptions of a site rather than its objective classification may be highly relevant for better understanding reasons for visiting places where historic artifacts are presented. The second issue raised here is that studies of tourist motivation, as well as studies that apply the various theoretical frameworks, are concerned mainly with travel classified as leisure or pleasure related. For example, Haukeland (1992) studied holiday travel, while Aroch (1985), who looked at motivation in relation to sociodemographic characteristics, considered only leisure and recreational travel. Likewise Gnoth (1997), in a theoretical paper about the link between expectation and motivation, decided to emphasize the perspective of holidaymakers. In his classification of push and pull factors (which can be useful for our understanding of heritage tourism), Dann (1977, pp. 184) relied on the concept of “fantasy world,” as noted earlier. Such understanding and theoretical framework may not apply to reasons for visiting heritage spaces, as those places may not be perceived by visitors as solely “recreational” or “pleasure” sites.