The Overlooked Contribution of National Heritage Designation in City Branding and Tourism Management

T. Dai, Ji Li, Gül Aktürk*, Jian Jiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


The designation of cultural heritage, especially the World Cultural Heritage Site, is extensively discussed regarding its impacts on tourism destination branding. However, the impact of the designation(s) of World and/or National Cultural Heritage Site on affective city image and behavioural intention is still under-researched. This study aims to investigate the respective impact of visitors’ awareness of the world and national heritage status on existential authenticity perceived at the heritage site, affective city image, and behavioural intention. The quantitative research method was employed to test the proposed structural model. A structured questionnaire was sent, and 363 valid responses were collected from domestic visitors at the Xiaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty, China. The results demonstrate that cultural heritage designation, whether it is a world or a national one, when recognised by domestic visitors, determines the shaping of a positive affective image of the city hosting the heritage site, as well as visitors’ future intentions. However, visitor awareness of the world status and national status does not condition the affective city image and behavioural intentions in the same manner. This research takes the lead to stress the significant role of national heritage status in city branding and urges managerial attention
Original languageEnglish
Article number8322
Number of pages17
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • visitor awareness
  • World Cultural Heritage Designation
  • National Cultural Heritage Designation
  • existential authenticity
  • affective city image
  • behavioural intention


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