Heritage Preservation and Ecological Conservation: A Trophic Mutualism

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-9276-1522
Dusseau, Lauren, Architectural History - School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Nelson, Louis, PV-Ofc of Exec VP & Provost, University of Virginia

This thesis argues for the easy intersection of heritage preservation and ecological conservation in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry and the importance of these efforts to the longevity of distinct hospitality sites. A trophic mutualism occurs when two parties share resources to their mutual benefit; since heritage preservation and ecological conservation share financial, managerial, and marketing resources, these two efforts cannot be pursued in siloes. Case studies of individual properties iteratively reveal impacts of heritage preservation and ecological conservation efforts at four respective types of hospitality, travel, and tourism sites: castle resorts in Ireland and the United Kingdom, all-inclusive dude ranches in the American West, Shinto shrines in Japan, and national museums in New Zealand.

This discussion is positioned on the backdrop of authenticity “paradigms,” where regarding heritage preservation, different aspects of heritage are prioritized as having more value than others. This reveals the domination of a Western, trinary definition of preservation – and thus "authenticity" – using a backdrop of lexicon and theory sourced from evolutionary studies. Further, it reveals the social inequities within the tourism industry – including cultural appropriation, racism, and rights for employees, for communities, and to cultural ownership – while outlining key opportunities for a more equitable future; in doing so, it reconsiders the definition of “luxury” in reference to “luxury hospitality” experiences. Lastly, in elevating the importance of heritage preservation and ecological conservation in the hospitality, travel, and tourism industry, it elevates the local community and non-human actors within the landscape as fundamental to hospitality site success.

MARH (Master of Architectural History)
heritage preservation, ecological conservation, trophic mutualism, heritage, authenticity, hospitality, travel, tourism, castle, Ireland, Shinto, Japan, Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand, dude ranch, United States, United Kingdom, tourism economy, equitable collaboration, cultural landscape
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