Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Investigating Space Heritage for Tourism and Environmental Preservation: A Case Study of Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Fri31  Mar02:45pm(15 mins)
Melville Room


Guillaume Tiberghien1
1 University of Glasgow, UK


The Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the world's first and largest operational spaceport for orbital and human launches, stands out for its historical significance in the space heritage but remains largely unknown to the wider public and for its environmental impact on surrounding environments. While there is emerging research on heritage and sustainable tourism development in Kazakhstan, limited attention has been paid to the commodification of space heritage and its interpretation for tourism and environmental preservation. In particular, space heritage is not yet valued as an important asset in the national tourism agenda.

Using a qualitative research approach, this study explores how post-Soviet Baikonur heritage is commodified, interpreted and environmentally preserved by various stakeholders including policy makers, tour operators, museum curators and guides, environmental NGOs and historians of the space industry.

The research questions focusing on this exploration are: how do stakeholders utilise and manage space heritage in the visitor experience at Baikonur? How is the historical interpretation of Baikonur shaped and contested for tourism? In what ways can Baikonur space heritage influence the planning of tourism and environmental preservation in Kazakhstan?

This study seeks to advance understandings of tourism and environmental preservation of space heritage sites for dependent communities.