Visitors' experiences of UNESCO World Heritage Site: evidence from Göbeklitepe, Türkiye
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CitationNguyen, T.H.H., Ağbay, N.C. and Çakar, K. (2023), "Visitors' experiences of UNESCO World Heritage Site: evidence from Göbeklitepe, Türkiye", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTI-05-2023-0311
Purpose: This study seeks to investigate and discuss the heritage experiences of both domestic and international visitors at Göbeklitepe UNESCO World Heritage Site in Türkiye. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative research approach was adopted in the current study. TripAdvisor's comments and reviews of both domestic (n = 519) and international (n = 186) visitors regarding their visits to Göbeklitepe were collected. The data were then subjected to content analysis by MAXQDA as qualitative data analysis software. Additionally, an abductive research approach, which consisted of three stages, was implemented for data analysis. Findings: The three aspects of visitor experiences at Göbeklitepe, including cognitive, emotional and relational experiences were found and discussed. Additionally, commonalities and differences among domestic and international visitors in terms of the heritage experience they gained from their visit to Göbeklitepe were revealed and analyzed. Practical implications: Based on the findings regarding the main aspects of heritage experiences at Göbeklitepe, including cognitive, emotional and relational experiences, site managers and destination marketers can create effective marketing strategies that focus on those characteristics to attract visitors to the site. Moreover, the study can guide destination marketers to develop targeted marketing campaigns that highlight the different historical and religious significance of the site for both groups of domestic and international visitors. Originality/value: First, the study affirms that Göbeklitepe is an important and impressive cultural heritage site due to its historical significance to both domestic and international visitors. It also strengthens the multifaceted nature of heritage experiences. Especially, the evidence of relational heritage experiences, including the connectedness to heritage and the sense of belonging to the visitor community, enriches the literature of heritage experience in this regard.