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Cultural Heritage in the Case of Hoi An


In the era of rapid globalization, the traditional Vietnamese industries have declined subsequently raising such socioeconomic concerns as poverty. Only a few economies such as the agricultural industry have survived to help Vietnamese citizens (Vo, n.d.). One of the consequences of industrialization has been the reduction of the ability to sustainably preserve the country’s culture due to the failure to maintain a stable traditional basis. The Hoi An case is an example of heritage preservation that helps develop ways to battle social and economic challenges to the country (Vo, n.d.). Recognizing the city as a historical landmark, the government seeks to respect Vietnamese traditions and, therefore, improve the quality of life of the citizens.

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Hoi An is a UNESCO Landmark

Hoi An was an ancient city that originated from a trading port in the 16th century. Since its foundation, the city has been recognized as a historical landmark and interventions have been made to successfully preserve it as a cultural relic in its original condition (Vo, n.d.). In 1999, the city was recognized as a UNESCO site (Vo, n,d,). Since then, the landmark has attracted many tourists from all over the world. After becoming a world heritage site, the chosen trajectory to preserve Hoi An was identified as the city’s natural development influenced by internal and external factors rather than closely maintaining it in its original state (Vo, n.d.). The municipality of Hoi An has taken measures to protect the city from external threats in order to maintain its sustainability.

Key Stakeholders

To correctly identify the central contributors to the sustainable development of the Hoi An city, it is useful to refer to the frameworks of stakeholder identification. According to Mitchell et al. (1997), the term stakeholder can refer to different variables in the management of a firm such as “persons, groups, neighborhoods, organizations, institutions, societies, and even the natural environment” (p. 855). Additionally, Mitchell et al. (1997) suggest several definitions of the term which have been proposed by various scholars. These definitions agree that stakeholders interact with the firm and are directly influenced by its objectives.

The strategies of heritage preservation are often linked to tourism. Being a historical and cultural site, which has been well preserved since ancient times, the city of Hoi An attracts many tourists. To identify the stakeholders in the management of the city’s development, the case can be viewed through the framework proposed by Mitchell et al. (1997). The theory suggests that the stakeholders are contributors who are impacted by the firm or organization (Mitchell et al., 1997). According to this logic, the key stakeholders of the Hoi An case are tourists, the city’s municipality, its residents, and tourist companies.

Visitors of Hoi An are, therefore, not only the clients of the city’s management team, whose goal is the sustainable development of the landmark but are also its stakeholders. Tourists are directly impacted by the preservation of the city as they can travel to a historical landmark and view it in its close-to original state. They also are the contributors, who took part in the improvement of Hoi An’s economy. Therefore, they helped the city achieve the status of a popular touristic attraction which subsequently resulted in the sustainable development of the city.

The relationship between the stakeholders is key to understanding the route of the city’s development. According to Ackermann and Eden (2011), the interaction between the stakeholders is important for proposing the strategic management of the organization, and in the case of Hoi An, the developmental trajectory of the city’s preservation. The touristic interest in exploring the ancient landmark provided the city’s residents and its municipality with financial support for creating a space for developmental strategies of preservation.

The State of Hoi An 20 Years Later

Currently, the developmental strategies are still being largely incorporated into the management of the city. However, Hoi An is facing several challenges associated with the rising touristic appeal. One of such challenges is the increase of environmental dangers which also impact the ability to sustainably preserve and develop the cultural and social aspects of Hoi An (Adongo et al., 2017). The citizens of Hoi An are confronted with the increasing environmental problem of pollution (Adongo et al., 2017). However, specific measures are being proposed to maintain the prosperity of the city in terms of its environment such as the development of a working recycling system (Pham Phu et al., 2019). Environmental issues caused by tourists directly influence the lives of the city’s residents.

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The relationship between the stakeholders has become more complex. According to Mitchell et al. (1997), stakeholders are able to impact each other and the firm, which is also evident in the Hoi An case. By increasing the environmental concerns, tourists are influencing the other stakeholders. These complicated relationships lead to further challenges to the ability to incorporate efficient managing strategies into the development of the city.


Ackermann, F., & Eden, C. (2011). Strategic management of stakeholders: Theory and practice. Long Range Planning, 44(3), 179–196.

Adongo, R., Choe, J. Y., & Han, H. (2017). Tourism in Hoi An, Vietnam: Impacts, perceived benefits, community attachment and support for tourism development. International Journal of Tourism Sciences, 17(2), 86–106.

Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853–886.

Pham Phu, S. T., Fujiwara, T., Hoang, M. G., Pham, V. D., & Tran, M. T. (2018). Waste separation at source and recycling potential of the hotel industry in Hoi An city, Vietnam. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 21(1), 23–34.

Vo, T. T. (n.d.). The cultural heritage of Hoi An: Preservation vs. development. Case study.

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