The role of Thai Buddhist temples in promoting sustainable heritage tourism and development: the case of The Royal Thai Monastery Lumbini, Nepal
The aim of this study was to determine the role of Thai Buddhist temples in promoting and enhancing the cultural, spiritual and natural heritage values of religious and sacred places and to provide management recommendations on how to maintain and/or enhance the features and attributes of Thai Buddhist temples for heritage conservation and preservation of cultural and religious traditions. The Royal Thai Monastery, located in Lumbini, Nepal was studied to achieve the research objectives. A combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to explore how religious tourism and cultural heritage conservation can be integrated in a sustainable manner. The primary research data were gathered from 400 visitors and 400 members of the local communities through one-on-one questionnaire survey consisting of both structured and open- ended questions, semi-structure interviews of respondents including Thai monks, and field observation. The quantitative data were statistically analyzed and presented using graphs and charts. The relevant responses to interviews were presented in quotes. The existing management regime was evaluated using on-site observation and inventory checklist. A thorough literature review of relevant published information was conducted as source of secondary data and to support the research findings of this study. The study reveals that although the Monastery has reasonable sustainable management strategies, it does not have a tourism management plan. The current management plan has to be reviewed so as to incorporate tourism and heritage conservation with the physical/spatial plan. Both tourists and local communities were satisfied with the management of the Monastery and tourism practice, although some improvements are needed. The study provides management and research recommendations to promote heritage conservation alongside sustainable tourism in the context of Thai Buddhist temples.
Architectural Heritage Management and Tourism (International Program)