Theme Parks and World Heritage Sites
  PublishDate:2020-06-22  Hits:725


On June 22nd, 2020, Simone Ricca, Vice-Director WHITRAP Shanghai, was invited to deliver a talk at the New York University Shanghai Summer Course “Ambitious and Ambiguous: A Journeyinto Theme Parks in China”, directed by Dr. Asli Berktay and Dr JingWang.

The lecture “Theme Parks vs. World Heritage Sites?” discussed the concept of authenticity in the UNESCO World Heritage context. From the paradox of the Ship of Theseus to the emblematic caseof Ise Temples in Japan, the presentation reviewed meanings and values of restoration, reconstruction, copies and replicas in heritage sites and theme parks contexts, analysing similarities and differences between these two categories.

The success of “heritage-related” theme parks in China and in Europe has influenced the tourism strategies of many Word Heritage properties, where the development of “animation” activities to reinforce their tourist attractiveness, has progressively blurred the once obvious boundaries between “real” sites and “fake”reconstructed amusement parks.

The lecture, addressed to undergraduate students in social sciences, introduced the evolution of the international doctrine on heritage through a series of case-studies in France, China and in the Arabworld, highlighting the multiple roles heritage is called to play: from supporting nationalist policies, to heralding universal values, from transmitting know-hows and educating, to becoming a source of entertainment and revenues. 

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