The inscription of a property in the World Heritage List serves as a recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Such recognition gives visitors the expectation that visiting the site would be a unique experience that would fulfil their visitation goals. Need therefore exists to ensure quality heritage interpretation at the particular World Heritage site. This is both beneficial to ensuring adequate presentation of the site’s OUV and visitor satisfaction. This paper seeks to investigate the level of visitor satisfaction with heritage interpretation at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela one of the most visited attractions in Ethiopia. The study is based on an analysis of online travel reviews of the site using Qualitative Content Analysis. The findings of the study indicate that heritage guiding and interpretation at the Rock hewn churches of Lalibela is provided mainly by the local guides. The study however, finds a number of reported / perceived challenges related to visitor satisfaction, including perceived visitor exploitation by local guides and church workers, visitor harassment, dishonesty by the guides when dealing with clients, language barriers and lack of signage and site maps. It thus argues that there is room to expand the scope of heritage interpretation beyond human guides, and recommends adoption of ICTs-mediated interpretation services at this World Heritage destination.
Ndivo, Rayviscic Mutinda Dr and Cantoni, Lorenzo
"The Efficacy of Heritage Interpretation at the Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches in Ethiopia: exploring the need for integrating ICT-mediation,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
3, Article 5.
Available at: http://arrow.dit.ie/ijrtp/vol4/iss3/5