The Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) is delighted to host Internationally acclaimed specialists from the Getty Conservation Institute to participate in a landmark study of carrying capacity and sustainable visitation at thePort Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania.

Dr Martha Demas and Dr Neville Agnew are both senior project specialists at the Getty Conservation Institute who have been directly involved in the development of strategies to conserve and manage iconic World Heritage-listed sites around the world.  Dr Demas and Dr Agnew are in Tasmania all this week to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site and participate in a two-day workshop with the PAHSMA Board, senior managers and stakeholders to look at the impact of increasing visitation on the heritage values of the historic site as well as the impact on the visitor experience.

Professor Sharon Sullivan, AO FAHA, Chair of the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority said:

“This strategy for sustainable tourism requires participation from all stakeholders, including the community, to identify and measure impacts on the heritage fabric and the Outstanding Universal Value of this World Heritage site.  As an iconic tourist attraction, achieving sustainable tourism also means a high level of visitor satisfaction to ensure a meaningful experience and future visitation. It is not simply a matter of how many visitors but rather of good processes and management.”

The workshop will inform the development of a carrying capacity and sustainable visitation strategy to be presented in a symposium later this year.

While in Tasmania, Dr Demas and Dr Agnew will also be presenting two public lectures on the impact of mass tourism on historic sites, the first at Port Arthur on Tuesday 26 February at 5:00pm and the second at UTAS Law Lecture Theatre in Sandy Bay on Monday 4 March 6:00pm – 7:00pm.

Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Marketing and Communications Manager


Dr Martha Demas is a senior project specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). Since 1990 she has been involved in many of the institute’s international field projects in China, Egypt, the Mediterranean, Belize, and Tanzania. She has a principal interest in conservation and management of archaeological sites, with a recent focus on visitor management and carrying capacity.

Dr Neville Agnew is a senior principal project specialist at the GCI. At the Getty, his initial work was in earthen architectural preservation research, and later responsible for many early field projects of the institute in China, Egypt, and other countries. He is completing the project for the conservation of the tomb of King Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings and exploring ways to develop a network of professionals and private enthusiasts, for the protection and promotion of rock art.

Public Lecture: Tourism: A Good Servant, A Bad Master
Tuesday 26 February 209 5:00-6:00pm
Junior Medical Officer’s House, Port Arthur Historic Site
Monday 4 March 2019 6:00pm – 7:00pm
University of Tasmania, Law Lecture Theatre 1, Grosvenor Crescent, Sandy Bay Campus
Click here for more information.  ​

A Getty Conservation Institute Lecture that explores the impact of mass tourism on historic sites presented as part of the 2019 Public Lecture Series by the University of Tasmania, in partnership with PAHSMA.

The World Heritage site of the Mogao Grottoes is China’s preeminent ancient Buddhist site on the Silk Road, comprising nearly 500 cave temples (4th and the 14th centuries) with magnificent wall paintings and sculpture. The Getty Conservation Institute has been working with the Dunhuang Academy since 1989 on strategies to conserve and manage the site. Having flourished for a thousand years and survived abandonment for four centuries, the site faces a new threat from mass tourism leading to an unsustainable situation for management and an uncomfortable and unsatisfying experience for visitors, as well as causing irreparable damage to the fragile, ancient Buddhist art. This talk will look at a visitor management approach that began in 2000 and whether it has been a success.