|dc.description.abstract||Following the new paradigm of protected areas (PAs) most parts of the literature focus on the importance of the local community and their cultural heritage for a PA in achieving its conservation and development goals. However, few studies have addressed the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of a local community living within a PA and its possible relationship with tourism. In addition, the notion of ICH is taken as an emerging topic in the academic environments; therefore, up to know there is little indication of the role and manifestation of ICH in tourism within the boundaries of PAs.
In many cases, tourism and the local community usually are considered as two fundamental aspects for the development and prosperity of a PA. Also, a considerable part of ICH of the local community living in a PA is linked to the surrounding natural features in many ways. Regarding these relationships, a tripartite interconnection between the concepts of ICH, tourism, and PAs is identifiable.
With regard to this interconnection, a question arises about what the possible role and manifestation of ICH are in tourism in a PA. In fact, this question addresses the possible ways that ICH contributes to tourism within the territories of PAs. To answer this question and to fill a part of the gap in the literature, this research project is an attempt to explore the potential and possible role, and the manifestation of ICH in tourism in a PA from the perspective of locals and visitors.
The empirical phase of this research project was conducted in the first declared geopark in the Middle-East; Qeshm Island Geopark (QIG) is located in the Persian Gulf in the south of Iran. Applying an ethnography, qualitative semi-structured interviews and participant observation were used over six months to explore the research objective among the natural and cultural landscapes of QIG. Applying thematic network analysis to analyse the rich empirical information, two global themes supported by six organizing themes were identified. In general, the intangible cultural asset is presented as a set of “opportunities” for a tourism setting in a PA. This thesis also outlines a set of “challenges” in the way of ICH promotion in tourism in a PA.
Exploring the roles that the intangible aspect of local culture can take in a PA’s tourism, as well as the existing, and potential challenges in the way, this thesis provides an avenue towards a greater understanding of the area of the relationship between tourism in PAs and culture of the local community. Notably, this understanding supports the principles and objectives of the new paradigm of PAs. I believe that the implication of this research is transferable and applicable to different types of PAs across the world, PAs that are populated by a human community (ies), and also are open to tourism.||