Royal Kraal Elephant Farm in essay

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" In addition, the increased popularity of cultural tourism may be related to the ability of this tourism model to preserve cultural practices rather than modifying and transforming them into so many tourism packages, essentially destroying their traditional qualities in many cases (Butcher, 2002). In this regard, Butcher (2002, p. 88) points out that, "Tourism is not always seen as destructive in relation to the host culture. It is sometimes seen as a positive factor when it reinforces a cultural practice."

Authors such as Smith (2003), Walle (1998) and Boniface (1995) have all studied how cultural tourism can be used to promote local economic development while preserving local cultures. Likewise, cultural tourism has been used to help preserve rather than change the cultures of the Masai peoples in Kenya and Tanzania in sustainable ways. For example, through cultural tourism, Butcher suggests that, "The assimilation of primitive elements into the modern world allows [indigenous people] to adapt and coexist and earn a living just by 'being themselves,' permitting them to avoid the kind of work in factories and as agricultural labourers that changes their lives forever" (2002, p. 88). This is also relevant to examining the relationship between culture and tourism in this research study.

Heritage Tourism

Heritage Tourism involves highlighting and interpreting places, people and objects of interest from a heritage perspective (Obash, 2000). The heritage tourism industry has been used successfully in some parts of the world, but this tourism model has received some harsh criticism from those stakeholders who believe heritage tourism dupes visitors with an exaggerated or fanciful heritage rather than the less-exciting or interesting dull details that are frequently involved in a region's heritage (Corkern, 2008). In this regard, Orbash adds that, "Heritage tourism involves place politics. Local distinctiveness is easily lost as planning policy sets out to differentiate, but implementation continues to side with the 'tried and tested', resulting in familiar results and the growing homogeneity of historic towns" (p. 132).

In reality, though, heritage is a highly ephemeral attribute that is difficult to codify and interpret in ways that make the experience sufficiently interesting for consumption by tourists without transforming it in some fashion. For instance, Orbash emphasizes that, "The organisation of history in tourist settings transforms the cultural and historical life of communities and, hence, transforms place itself" (2000, p. 132). These conceptualizations of heritage tourism are relevant to understanding the significance of the Royal Kraal Elephant Farm as a marker of local heritage in the region of Ayutthaya and the study's aim of investigating the importance of Royal Kraal Elephant Farm as a cultural heritage tourism site for tourists and local people.

Cultural Heritage Tourism

The term "cultural-heritage tourism" is used to describe a blend of a wide range of specialized tourism offerings that draw on both the cultural as well as heritage tourism approaches. The increased popularity of the cultural tourism model," though, may be due in part to the wide range of tourism niches, including heritage tourism, that are included in this definition. For instance, Olsen (2006) reports that, "Cultural tourism, rather than a special niche market within tourism, is actually an umbrella term for a range of tourism typologies and diverse activities which have a cultural focus, such as heritage tourism, arts tourism, urban and rural cultural tourism, and indigenous cultural tourism" (p. 152). The concept cultural heritage tourism, which combines both cultural tourism and heritage tourism is of relevance to this research study because is draws together to key issues contained in the Royal Kraal as a tourist site, which are culture and heritage. A discussion concerning how cultural heritage tourism uses these two features is provided in the literature review below.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Review of Existing Tourism Research ~ Cultural Heritage Tourism

Cultural heritage tourism has emerged as among the most visible and is widely regarded by the tourism industry as the most successful (Francis-Lindsay, 2009). As an example, the Swedish International Development Agency confirms that the tourism industry "has for some time been accepted as the biggest industry in the world" and has suggested that "cultural heritage provides much of its lifeblood" (quoted in Francis-Lindsay, 2009, p. 152).

Although every tourist is unique, cultural-heritage tourists are typically motivated by a keen interest…[continue]

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    Promoting Cultural Heritage at the Ayutthaya Elephant Farm in Ayutthaya Thailand [under Development Pending Feedback] The focus of this research study is the Royal Kraal in Ayutthaya, Thailand (hereinafter alternatively "the elephant farm" or "Royal Kraal"). As home to more than 90 retired or rescued elephants, the Royal Kraal in Ayutthaya represents an important resource for the Kingdom of Thailand and elephant conservationists around the world. The importance of the Royal Kraal


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