The main purpose of this research is to assess the potential of Haiq Estifanos Communal Monastery to become tourist destination and to identify the major hindering factors of tourism development in the site. To attain this objective, the researcher employed qualitative research method. To assess the potential and challenges of the monastery for tourism development, primary and secondary data were collected. To collect primary data, face to face personal interview and participant observation was conducted. In order to analyze the contents of documentary materials such as books, magazines, newspapers and the contents of interviews and personal observation, the researcher has employed interpretive and descriptive analysis. The research identified that the monastery has plethora tangible and intangible heritages that have a great heritage tourism potential of the country. Within the churchyard, there are different historic buildings including the remarkable museum. The museum is unique in its collection; more than 140 scriptures dating back to the 13th century are preserved and displayed for visitors. In addition to the invaluable parchment manuscripts, the museum comprises different heritages, colorful and age-old articles that have religious, historic and aesthetic values. Besides these heritages, the location of the monastery in the peninsula augmented its potential for tourism development. However, factors such as, lack of trained manpower in the field of museum study and heritage management, absence of promotion, lack of awareness among the community, inaccessibility of the museum for women and absence of tourist facility in the nearby area are the major barriers that hindered the site to contribute for tourism development.
Key words: Tourism potential, challenges, Haiq Estifanos Communal Monastery.
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