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The financial viability of heritage tourism attractions: three cases from rural Australia

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-06-07, 05:37 authored by Warwick Frost
Heritage tourism (whether historic, cultural or natural) is widely seen as one of the mainstays of rural tourism. Most research on heritage tourism has focussed on issues such as the protection of the physical fabric at heritage attractions, balancing authenticity and accessibility in interpretation and the meaning of heritage for people. However the issue of the viability and sustainability of heritage tourism operations as businesses has in contrast hardly been considered. This paper addresses this issue by focussing on three rural heritage tourism attractions which have experienced financial problems. They are:
1. The Toolangi Forest Discovery Centre. A government run attraction presenting the story of forestry.
2. Coal Creek Heritage Village. A community run recreation of a 1880s farming and mining community.
3. Seal Rocks Sea Life Centre. A privately operated attraction which allows observation of nearby seal colonies.
All three are between 60 to 90 miles of Melbourne, Australia.
In addition to examining the nature and causes of their difficulties, the paper explores two factors which may limit research into the financial viability of attractions. The first is that problems may be manifested in many different ways, of which bankruptcy and closure are only the most extreme. The second is the difficulty of gaining useful objective information from and regarding businesses in trouble.


Year of first publication



Working paper series (Monash University. Department of Management).

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