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Heritage Report on Kew

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A Report to demonstrate an understanding of a heritage or cultural attraction in the UK (Kew Gardens). A Critical analysis of; distinctiveness, interpretation, authenticity and visitor management practice. Connections will be made between these key concepts personal visitor experience.
A Report to demonstrate an understanding of a heritage or cultural attraction in the UK (Kew Gardens). A Critical analysis of; distinctiveness, interpretation, authenticity and visitor management practice. Connections will be made between these key concepts personal visitor experience.
HERITAGE & CULTURAL TOURISM
W10769498/1 wordcount : 2,423
HERITAGE & CULTURAL TOURISM
W10769498/1 wordcount : 2,423

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE………………………………………………………….……1
AUTHENTICITY………………………………………………….……2
INTERPRETATION……………………………………………………5
VISITOR MANAGEMENT ……………………………………………6
DISTINCTIVENESS & SUMMARY ………………………………….8
APPENDICES……………………………………………………..….9-11
BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………..12

PREFACE

The aim of this report is to discuss and analyse the heritage site of the Royal Botanical Garden of Kew as a stand-alone attraction. Within the parameters of evaluation the report will focus on the distinctiveness, authenticity, interpretation of the attraction and its visitor management practice as a heritage site. Personal observation and relevant concepts will be adopted throughout the evaluation… The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew was initially founded in 1759 and announced as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2003. (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens n.d.). The establishment as can be seen in (appendix 1) is in the top 20 of London’s most visited attractions but among side that fact it is also a world leader in plant science and conservation. The establishment states that their work “helps to discover and describe the worlds plant and fungal diversity, safeguard the worlds plant life for our future, promote sustainable use of plants and inspire appreciation of plants and the environment” (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens n.d.).
The site is based in Richmond, Kew upon 326 acres home to soaring treetop walkways, galleries, café’s, over 40 listed iconic buildings and eight glasshouses like the Palm house, the largest ever standing Victorian grade 1 listed glasshouse initially modified from the design of a hull of a ship. (Visit London, London and partners n.d.).
Further prominent features of the attraction are: * The Garden is home to 90% of the planets known plant species. * One of the First scientific botanical gardens of its kind in the modern era * Conducts additional research into plant extracts probable in disease and illness control * Aims to Bank 25% of the world’s plant species and seeds by 2020 to prevent plant life from ever being extinct. * 30,000 different kinds of plants present in the garden some of them older than the buildings they're in. * Has received so far a total of 50 million pounds of donations for the breathing plant campaign; only half the campaign total

(Breathing Planets - Kew channel, YouTube [2013]).

AUTHENTICITY

Measuring authenticity in a heritage attraction proves challenging whilst there are several theoretical frameworks to adopt. Selwyn (1996) draws a linear categorisation of authenticity whether its ‘Cool’ meaning the experience or product is genuine and real or ‘Hot’ where the product is admittedly staged but enjoyable. Reisinger and Steiner (2006) suggest the approach of subjective and objective authenticity based on conceptual viewpoints. (cited in Timothy,. 2011, pg.107) however for the purpose of measurability this report will adopt Timothy’s (2011) criterion for measuring authenticity via paying homage to both dominant perceptions of authenticity.

1) Aesthetics – visual attractiveness create aesthetic value that lends itself to authentic culture 2) Uniqueness of product and experience – the rarity of the offer serves a notion of exclusivity which in turn creates the equivalence of authenticity. 3) Cultural/Historical integrity – a show of scientific or historical calibre and evidence of evaluation provisions a sense of certification to authenticity 4) Workmanship/crafts – creativity, quality, and conservation brilliance in the staged environment or landscape enhances the perception of originality and belonging. 5) Guarantee – some kind of certification, sometimes even labels are an important salient of authenticity and confirmation that the offer is genuine.

In accordance to this concept and primary research; the report in the instance of authenticity evaluates Kew Gardens to be an authentic attraction via the following attributes collated via the Kew website and Personal Observation/research. * Aesthetics * 40 grade 1 listed buildings * Glasshouses of attractive architecture * 300 acres of evergreen landscape * Scenic tree gardens * Photo galleries * Place-shaping with floral pathways * Statues, mini lakes and ponds.
(Images can be viewed in appendix 2)

* Uniqueness * First scientific botanical garden, it is an attraction and a well-established credible scientific research organisation simultaneously * 360 acres enclosed garden in an urban city * Licensed weddings and halls for hire * Provision of educational courses and specialist training e.g. horticulture, plant science and conservation. * Variety of offer e.g. The glasshouses, galleries, Treetop Walkway, Climbers and Creepers, Orangery Restaurant and White Peaks cafe, events and festivals ranging from music to art exhibitions * Plant diversity collected in one venue exhibited nowhere alike in the world. * Membership availabilities and campaign involvements like the ‘breathing plant’. The establishment receives donations and inclines members to become a part of the attraction, much like the inclusivity of volunteers, the availability of the ‘otherness’ for authenticity seekers.

* Cultural/Historical integrity * Involvement of science, research and specialists * Founded over 3 centuries ago * Informative plant history and biodiversity * Sir David Attenborough and the documentary based on plants some over 300 years old. * Archives and publications e.g. letters from Charles Darwin, the illustrated Calendarium by Schedel dating from 1610 and the diaries, notebooks and photographs of Victorian plant hunters * Grade 1 listed buildings and Victorian architecture.

* Workmanship/crafts * Kew Books and publications on hand crafts and pant life * The kiosk and products sold to promote conservation from recycled paper notepads and recycled cotton blankets * Pot plants like orchids cacti and ferns for sale grown in the garden * Seed adoption for £25 to be preserved in the seed bank * Art collections and photos of Kew Gardens

* Guarantee * Labels and information on all plant life * Tablets and point of information for statues and buildings and galleries * Declared world heritage site by UNESCO on the WHL list * World renowned authorities and scientist collaborate with the attraction.
INTERPRETATION

Christina Goulding (1995) states that “effective visitor and interpretation management includes the combination of research, proactive involvement and accessibility to a wide consumer base through the provision of stimulating and meaningful interpretation” (cited in Leask et al., 1999, pg65) In order to achieve and manage interpretation a susceptible measure had to be adopted for this Case study , evidently this report adopted Freemans (1957) 6 principles of interpretation as a model to asses Kew Gardens. (Cited in Timothy,. 2011, pg229-230)
In brief freeman (1957) states that 1) Interpretation requires a sense of correlation to the visited place. 2) Information should not be solely dished out but provisioned in a manner to evoke a sense of enlightenment. 3) Interpretation is a means or form of art whether materials offered are of historical architectural or scientific nature. 4) The initial purpose of interpretation should be to inspire not to dictate 5) Interpretation should have a sense of wholesomeness rather than presenting a part nd must address a widespread of people 6) Interpretation intended for children should not be a simpler version of those provided for adults bit be an entirely different approach and system.

Interpretation in The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew uses several approaches to storytelling that correlates with Freemans principles via the following methods. * Education – There are several courses, specialist training programs, events, guides and talks at Kew Gardens relating to plant life, the importance of preservation, conservation and biodiversity. They are targeted at adult specialist, student and children in different levels and different programs via different forms of media, galleries, rooms, lectures/seminars events and festivals. * Entertainment – Visiting the attraction is a form of entertainment entirely however the Garden has a series of events relevant to the story of plants in forms of art and science and festivities. Some of them going on at present are ‘The incredible’ a festival indulging in boating experience and the discovery of 30,000 edible species and the art exhibition by ‘Rory McEwen’ based on plant paintings nd natural colour. * Preservation/Conservation – Kew attempts to stimulate a sense of ownership and care to provoke inspiration through membership, donations, volunteer work, campaigning, and documentary publications on the importance of environments, inclusive of talks and events to educate children. * Guides – Information is a strong aspect of interpretation, the means in which it is provided can evoke revelation Kew uses many methods, Train guides throughout the garden with information attendants and guided talks to groups in the vehicle. Individual tour guides are present, audio guides are present with discovery bus tours. Hands on displays e.g. the Kew mobile app via virtual maps and virtual tour guides. Tour pamphlets e.g. the parents survival guide to help family groups throughout the experience. * Printed Material/Signage – All the plant life in the glass houses and outside in the gardens for even every tree and type of grass is clearly labelled with its name its origin and its age with a brief history. There are several information points and signpost with directions and information in regards to a building, statue or plant related craft. There are guide maps. Pamphlets, books, photo galleries and several pocket guides to a whole or part of the attraction. There are programs printed for children’s groups as well for educational staff.

VISITOR MANAGEMENT
Wall (1997) states that “tourist attractions can be divided into three based on their physical and spatial attributes; points, lines and areas each requiring a different form of visitor management”. (Cited in Timothy., 2011, pg84)
According to Wall (1197) point resources are detached sites where cluster of visitors assemble at one time in a confined space. Linear attractions on the other hand are distinguished as people being focused into or along narrow strips of land like pathways or transportation corridors. Lastly he defines ‘Areas’ which are greater resources that engulf smaller attractions which are common for parks. (Cited in Timothy., 2011, pg84) )
Kew gardens visitor management approach engages in all three forms of these resources and through personal experience as a visitor I was only clustered and crowded at the ticket booth due to the high turnout of visitors. According to Kew's Annual reports and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2013 (pg8) in-between 2012-13 in welcomed 1.363 million visitors. For a conservation establishment crowd management has huge implications and Kew managed it well via the below methods.

* Point Resources
- The garden has 2 main entrances with large linear ticket booths which split the crowd in two more manageable groups shortening the wait.
- Post entrance the crowds congregate at open space.
- you may walk the garden through designated pathways (very long & tiresome) or you may use the bus/train tours which lift of every 20-30 mins via a guided tour operator which stops at every glasshouse and several other points in the garden. You may get on or off as you please.
- The length of the walk motivates people to get on the buses and gather in smaller contingencies at every stop.
-there are several individual points of information via tablets and signs which cultivate the crowds to cluster at one point each time
-There are 8 glasshouses containing different species and points of interest which manage the crowd to preferred sites on option and collates smaller clusters in the confined glasshouses.

* Linear Resources * There are pathways present for both pedestrians and tour buses both are managed to pursue the designated walking areas especially in the dense foliage and tree areas towards the back ends of the garden. Signage and posts are present to point people in the right direction and split crowds through linear transportation corridors as Wall (1997) identified.

* Area Resources * As identified before this approach is common for open vast areas such as parks. * Kew Gardens being on over 300 acres is filled with many buildings glasshouses, The Kew palace, cafes restaurants galleries and venues of interest subdivide visitors and their attention within the open space. * Therefore the visitor is not queued up for long, has space to enjoy the experience, indulges in less deteriorative activities to the garden, stays on designated routes and pathways not eroding the grass and landscape.

This Visitor management approach is not intrusive it takes a measure of hard and soft line management in the garden, the interpretation and signage guide the crowd on intended measures evasively. Kew Gardens has realized the approach as Timothy (2011) contends “interpretation is a valuable management tool it can help all cultural heritage sites to manage crowds conserve the past and educate the public.” (pg229)

DISTINCTIVENESS Myra Shackley (1998) states that one of the criteria a world heritage site must have is ‘uniqueness’, which these sites must provide the visitor with a suggestive encounter and goes on to say that. ‘Such sites nominated must have an attribute of distinctiveness’. (pg194)
In approach it is safe to suggest that a site or attraction maybe perceived as distinctive with its product offer, its authenticity and the experience it provides via the attraction and the interpretation of the attraction. Kew Gardens is a site that has no real comparison in terms of parks or gardens because of its attributes as a forefront in plant conservation,
The site upholds 90% of the plant species of the planet some cannot be viewed anywhere else in the world. In my personal visit I encountered the sensation of visiting a conservation organisation in practice with tangible and visible efforts in the form of a gallery or museum however also not quite the same, due to the openness and vast space and landscape of the venue. The authenticity and the product by nature give a large image of uniqueness to the attraction. The crowd management approach is multileveled the visitor does not feel strained and can have a whole day activity without discomfort. The experience made is one to be spent during a whole day rather that a short visit, there is too much to see in a huge area. The fact that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site also provides an additional sense of accreditation according to Timothy (2011) countries willingly capitalise the UNESCO brand as a competitive advantage on world-class sites over alternative destinations.

In light of the evaluation and personal experience it is not extensively appropriate to draw distinguishable lines between authenticities, distinctiveness, interpretation and visitor management, the concepts are related and a successful Heritage site must correlate all elements and be effective in all areas to promote the success of all experiences. In the Instance of Kew for the experience of authenticity and interpretation are intertwined, and the product itself via positive visitor management is exposed to the visitor for the optimum experience establishing the Gardens uniqueness and furthermore its brand identity. A higher purpose and call to the attraction rather that simple revenue ambitions, conservation matters override the monetary trajectories and that intensifies the distinctiveness of the attraction to the visitor and heaves great competitive advantage especially with the rise in ecotourism and environmental awareness…

APPENDICES
Appendix 1
Source the Guardian.

Appendix 2

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Timothy, J, D,. (2011). Cultural Heritage and Tourism; An Introduction. Bristol: Channel View Publications. * Selwyn. T,. (1996) The Tourist Image: Myth and Mythmaking in Tourism. Chichester: Wiley. * Leask, A. and Yeoman, I,. (1999).Heritage Visitor Attractions An Operations Management Perspective. London: Cassel. * Shackley, M,. (1998). Visitor Management case studies from : world heritage sites. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann * Kew Royal Botanical Gardens., [online] available at: http://www.kew.org/index.htm accessed [6th of July 2013] * Kew Royal Botanic Gardens,. (2013). Annual report and Accounts: for the year ended 31 march 2013. [online] Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Available from <http://www.kew.org/ucm/groups/public/documents/document/kppcont_080464.pdf> accessed [6th of July 2013] * Visit London,. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [online] London and Partners. Available from < http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/place/58711-royal-botanic-gardens-kew> accessed [6th of July 2013] sourced text and video * Bates, S,. (2011). British tourist attraction visitor’s figures: who's up and who's down?. 23/02. [Online] The Guardian. Available at: < http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/feb/23/british-tourist-attractions-visitor-figures#data> accessed (6th of July 2013) * Kew-YouTube official channel (2013) Kew Gardens-The Breathing planet campaign.[online video] available at : < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4-EkRL-J2M> accessed [6th of July 2013] * Pictures – personal camera.…...

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...Topic: Heritage management (manage visitors. services. safeguarding built heritage. from tourism point of view Introduction Tourism is a major industry and strong economic vehicle that makes a significant contribution to overall national economy. (Nicolette de Sausmarez, 2007) Tourism for many individuals is about enjoyment and having fun, for governments tourism is generator of important foreign exchange and job creator for allied industries. Tourist industry has a major impact on host country’s civil society and social landscape. Tourism provides economic benefits and influences the local residents in many other ways as well (Oui, 2005). Tourists are exposed to local politics implicitly by being exposed to conditions that are present for local residents. Only countries with safe and stable image draw tourists in abandon, so in other ways increasing levels of tourists imply an endorsements of concerned location’s ambient environment. Political regimes are indirectly bolstered by tourists, therefore tourism not only aids in economic development but for international support of governmental policies (Oui, 2005). In case of a crisis or disaster, economy is disturbed and livelihood of many may be affected. Crisis indicators may be useful in highlighting areas of concern and minimize affects on tourism. The damage to tourist destination may be substantial, as in the case of SARS outbreak or Bali bombings and full recovery may take a significant time and effort.......

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