A photo-elicitation study of the meanings of a cultural heritage site experience: A means-end chain approach

Author Identifier

Kourosh Esfandiar
ORCID: 0000-0001-6242-2899

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Heritage Tourism


Taylor & Francis


School of Business and Law




Bapiri, J., Esfandiar, K., & Seyfi, S. (2021). A photo-elicitation study of the meanings of a cultural heritage site experience: a means-end chain approach. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 16(1), 62-78. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743873X.2020.1756833


Historical heritage sites are often reminded of some events, which are sensitive to visitors, thus challenging to manage. Understanding the meanings visitors ascribed to these heritage sites helps tackling this challenge. Through the process of photo-elicitation (i.e. visitor-employed photography technique) and implementing a means-end chain (MEC) approach, the meanings visitors ascribed to Sa’dabad cultural heritage site in Iran were investigated. The meanings that visitors assigned to this site were revealed in five primary clusters of meanings, including: (1) aesthetics (2) identity (3) nostalgia (4) luxury and splendour, and (5) despotism and power. The results showed that heritage sites and visitors as a complex whole should be understood based on what meanings the visitors, as a key stakeholder, ascribe to on-site resources. Findings of this study could serve as a key basis for understanding visitor on-site heritage experience for the study site as well as other cultural sites.



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Research Themes

Society and Culture

Priority Areas

Individual, economic, organisational, political and social transformation


Article Location