Economic Assessment of World Heritage Inscription on Tourism Development: a Case Comparison of Two Historic Cities, Yazd and Hamedan

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate of Urban Restoration, Department of of Architecture, School of Architecture,, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor, Department of Restoration, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor, Department of Building Restoration and Historical Structures, School of of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Insurance Management, Faculty of Eco Insurance, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran.


It has been nearly fifty years since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proposed the idea of registering valuable cultural monuments. This idea is still considered an effective policy in many countries because of the notable effect of a registered monument on the surrounding communities in terms of sustainable economic development. One of the motivations for the world inscription of heritage could be the development of the tourism economy. In this regard, the UNESCO logo is used as a commercial brand and marketing tool. Also, in order to increase the number of visitors, the monument is directly promoted. Tourists should receive more offers from the resources that have become a product in that territory. These resources should indicate the uniqueness of the destination and lead to attracting more visitors. UNESCO is an institution that facilitates the creation or stabilization of tourist market destinations through the world heritage brand and the permission to use it. Therefore, it is necessary to study the principal factors of such expenses by tourists to guide the private sector and those who are responsible for the establishment of tourism policies.

In the present study, the effect of the world inscription on the number of domestic and foreign tourists in the historical context of Yazd has been investigated. A comparative method and difference-in-difference (DiD) strategy have been used to control the intervening variables. For this purpose, the historic context of another city, Hamadan, was chosen as a comparable competitor. Also, tourist data of the two cities, considered as control (Hamadan) and treatment (Yazd) have been collected from 2009 to 2019. Then, a linear regression model has been used to analyze the collected data of the two cities before and after the world heritage inscription. The main idea in this method is that if two cases showed a similar trend for some years, and at a certain time, a specific event or policy has been implemented only in one case and the trend starts to change, this variation can be attributed to the effects of that event or policy. However, this conclusion can be drawn only by assuming the stability of all other conditions for both cases.

According to the results, the inscription of Yazd historic context as a world heritage has been an effective measure to increase the number of domestic and foreign tourists. It can be concluded that the World Heritage Inscription of a city can provide the required coordination between different factors at both the governance and local community levels to improve tourism conditions. At the same time, World Heritage can create a brand that is decisive for hesitant tourists in choosing a destination. In conclusion, it should be also mentioned that the cases which create the synergy between heritage conservation, community development and tourism on their agenda lead to economic growth.

This article was derived from the PhD thesis entitled Fundamentals of cultural heritage economy, submitted to the doctorate program of "Restoration and Conservation of Historic Buildings and Fabric", the University of Tehran.


Main Subjects

مهندسین مشاور نواندیش پیشگام اصفهان(1398)، مطالعات بافت تاریخی شهر همدان فاز سوم، سازمان میراث فرهنگی، صنایع دستی و گردشگری استان همدان.
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