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Partners ATTA & AIA Release First Version of “Guide to Best Practices for Archaeological Tourism”

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Tourism Industry Feedback Sought, Deadline for Comment July 15, 2009

(June 18, 2009) — Archaeological sites and historic places are major tourist attractions worldwide. In the last few years, visits to historical sites have ranked third—after dining in restaurants and shopping—among activities undertaken by Americans traveling abroad. The number of people that visit archaeological sites rises every year and this increase can have significant negative impacts on archaeological sites. In many instances, increased visits have led to damage at sites and often portions of sites have to be cordoned off from the public to prevent further deterioration. In extreme cases, sites have been closed to the public.

The popularity of archaeological sites as tourist attractions makes them valuable sources of revenue, but unfortunately economic exploitation of sites is often not matched by reinvestment in proper site management to ensure both protection of the site and its continued enjoyment by visitors. Archaeological sites are fragile resources and inadequate site management will result in deterioration or even destruction of the site and its related social, historical, educational, and economic potential.

With these concerns in mind the ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE of AMERICA (AIA), ARCHAEOLOGY magazine (ATTA Contributing Sponsor), and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) created this manual of good practices for anyone interested in visiting archaeological sites. The guide outlines practices that allow for proper, sustainable archaeological tourism, giving visitors the opportunity to fully experience ancient sites while minimizing any negative impact. The guide is an important resource for tour operators who wish to incorporate archaeological sites in their tour packages, for tour guides who lead people through the sites, for tourists who want to see these sites first hand, and for site managers charged with the maintenance and protection of sites. In conjunction with adequate and properly funded site management plans, these guidelines will help ensure that the public enjoy the experience of visiting ancient places for generations to come.

Tourism industry professionals are encouraged to download and review the first release of these guidelines, and to forward feedback directly to [email protected] by July 15, 2009. Feedback is requested on the overall content, structure and actual recommendations. Please email key suggestions. You may also use the “Track Changes” function as appropriate for general comment and specific recommendations and/or considerations you suggest the AIA & ATTA consider. Feedback will be evaluated and considered for guideline improvements.

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) is North America’s oldest and largest organization devoted to the world of archaeology with nearly 250,000 members and subscribers belonging to more than 100 local AIA societies in the United States, Canada, and overseas, united by a shared passion for archaeology and its role in furthering human knowledge.

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