Abstract: The study investigates the main motives for preservation of sites of Jewish heritage tourism (JHT) by studying three locations in Macedonia: Skopje (the capital), Štip (the largest city in the east part of Macedonia) and Bitola (the largest city in the southwest part of Macedonia). The article assesses the presence of several motivations, like: (i) Guilt; (ii) Interest in national history; (iii) Revival of a glorious Past; (iv) Economic benefits; (v) Display of sympathy; and (vi) Dark tourism development. The analysis is based on a qualitative research method and incorporates: (a) Qualitative data analysis, by conducting interviews in June 2016 with key stakeholders from central and local governments as the main policy makers; and (b) Analysis of secondary data sources, achieved by reviewing literature, historical, and statistical data related to Jewish history in Macedonia. Generally, the results point to the presence of strong iconic connection among Macedonians and the Jews that lived in Macedonia. The general findings indicate that by establishing and maintaining JH sites, stakeholders reflect sentiments of sympathy and even admiration to the perished Jewish community and a strong desire to revive a glorious past. Only in the case of Bitola, the potential economic benefits were surfaced as the main motive for initiating activities and investments in JH sites. Finally, the study recommends design and development of JHT product and tailor-made tourist packages as key elements that may boost tourism development in Macedonia alongside with commemoration of the Jews and their ties with the Macedonian people.
Abstract: Issues arise when trying to understand the motivation of policymakers to preserve the assets of cultures that do not belong to the mainstream population. Tunbridge and Ashworth's seminal study on ‘Dissonant Heritage’ and Bennett's developmental model of intercultural sensitivity (DMIS model) provide a basis to evaluate both the motivations and the existence of a cultural dissonance. As there is a growing worldwide trend towards preserving and developing Jewish heritage tourism (JHT) this study examines Jewish heritage sites in three Macedonian cities endowed with rich Jewish history. Unlike previous studies concentrating on the notion of dissonant heritage, this research focuses on the motivation for preserving such sites, an issue hardly tackled before. Previous studies suggested the prevalence of six possible motives: guilt, facing harsh history, emphasis on dark tourism, revival of a harmonious past, respect, and economic benefits. Data were obtained via face-to-face interviews conducted with policy-makers from central and local governments. The interviews were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively in order to determine the leading motives for preservation. The findings indicate that by establishing and maintaining Jewish Heritage sites, stakeholders reflect sentiments of respect and admiration for the perished Jewish community and a longing for the revival of an elusive harmonious past. The potential economic benefits and dark tourism surfaced only as minor motives. Practically, JH preservation is used to revive dialogue with a forgotten past that may also contribute to urban tourism development in the future. Conceptually, the interviews did not reveal any indication of heritage dissonance, a finding that stands in sharp contrast to the dissonant heritage theory.