Storytelling as a Tool for Safeguarding and Marketing The Intangible Cultural Heritage (Ich): The Case of Nubia City, Egypt



Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Alexandria University, Egypt




Over the past decades, the intangible cultural heritage has been alarmed by an increasing number of challenges such as globalization, modernization, economic booms and finally changes in life styles and cultural contexts. As a result, many forms of intangible cultural heritage are being lost. So, there is an urgent need to safeguard it and ensure its sustainability, as it is considered an important component of tourist attractions in many destinations.

Recently,  storytelling  has  gained  much  attention  as  an  innovative  means  of  competitive destination  marketing,  as  stories  can  give  emphasis  to  the  unique  aspects  of  a  place  or  a destination that cannot be replicated. Therefore, this paper focuses on exploring how storytelling can be used as a new tool for documenting, safeguarding and marketing the intangible cultural heritage, especially in local communities.

Accordingly, the study is structured as follows; first, it presents the theoretical background; followed by the methodology section. A qualitative approach is employed in this research, based on adapting semi-structured interviews with the local community inNubia city in 2016. The interviews aim to identify the threats that face the ICH in Nubia as a local community. Then the study applies a modified theoretical model to illustrate how the storytelling can be used as a tool for safeguarding and marketing Nubian ICH. Results show the potential of stories and skillful storytelling practices as an innovative tool for documenting, safeguarding and marketing ICH through events.  Finally,  the  study  ends  with  some  implications  for  the  government,  local

authorities and tourism managers and marketers to take them into consideration.


Keyword: Intangible cultural heritage, Safeguarding, Marketing, Storytelling, Nubia City.




Local communities are considered as the creators of Intangible Cultural heritage as it always related to their setting, their history, and their existence in a specific context .In this respect, ICH gives the local community the feeling of belonging and shapes a part of their identity. So, ICH is  considered  as  "a  living  form  of  heritage"  which  is  interpreted  by  local  community  and transmitted from generation to generation  (UNESCO, 2003c).Intangible cultural heritage has great values, UNESCO has mentioned that ICH has two values firstly, social value which gives communities the feeling of belonging and a sense of identity, secondly, economic value which results from the consumption of its products and its role as a tourist attraction especially for local communities (UNESCO, 2003b).

Furthermore, the ICH has been alarmed by an increasing number of challenges such as globalization, modernization, economic booms and finally changes in life styles. In this context, preserving and documenting intangible cultural heritage became increasingly important and necessary for the sake of sustainability. Efforts to preserve ICH within a community context face many challenges. There is a need to create a balance between collecting, documenting and archiving ICH, and the ability of communities to interpret, use, reshape and share this heritage .But in fact, the local communities are still sharing and passing on their ICH informally by word of mouth (Jarvis,

2012). On the other hand, there is an obvious shortage of literature especially concerning the threats faced by the communities for documenting and preserving their ICH in the globalizing world (Mackinnon, 2012).

Since 1990's storytelling has got a wide attention in several fields; management sociology, and marketing. Therefore, many researchers started to explore the role of storytelling in a different context (Akgün et al., 2015). Indeed, storytelling has vital roles for an organization as well as tourism destinations.

In the context of travel and tourism industry storytelling has various positive impacts as the stories are considered as an essential component of the memorable travel experiences e.g. stories about the local cultures and traditions, stories from tourists themselves and stories from native guides about the mysteries of some places (Choi, 2016).Although of this importance but till now the power of storytelling is undervalued in tourism and destination marketing.

This paper focuses on the Egyptian Nubia, the area of southern Egypt extending from the town of Aswan, approximately 560 miles south of Cairo, to the border of Sudan. (Abdel Meguid,

2008). Nubia city is famous for its distinctive culture either tangible or intangible and its unique people. Gradually, Nubian culture became a very important attraction for many visitors, but unfortunately, Nubians were forced to leave their homelands as they have been threatened by the construction of the Aswan High Dam. This shift in place has negative impacts on Nubian intangible heritage. It caused many loses and changes in their traditional practices customs and their economies, which has strong connections to their historical lands. (Elcheikh, 2013).

In this respect, the research questions can be summarized as follows:

1.   To what extent storytelling can represent a medium and long term solution for safeguarding the Nubian ICH and, re-present and market it as a new tourist attraction?

2.   How appropriate storytelling for making travelers excited about experiencing all destination offers?

These questions will be answered based on a qualitative approach.

The paper aims to identify Nubian ICH and stories worthwhile to be told, within a destination. Then the paper highlights the threats that facing the Nubian ICH. Moreover, the objective of this paper is to examine storytelling in detail and how storytelling is used as an innovative marketing tool. Consequently, this paper applies a modified theoretical model to explain the potential of using and applying storytelling in safeguarding and marketing Nubian ICH.

The study is divided into three main sections.  The first one is concerned with the theoretical background of the topic. In the  second one, the methodology, results ,and discussion are presented, and finally, the third section highlights the conclusions and recommendations of the study.





Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

In last decades, the term “cultural heritage” has become different in its content. So it doesn't include just physical elements such as monuments and objects but it also includes intangible elements such as customs, traditions or living expressions which are transmitted from ancestors to descendants (UNESCO, 2003a).

In the 2003 UNESCO convention, which was about safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, it defined (ICH) as The practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage"(UNESCO,2003b,p.2) .

Intangible cultural heritage takes many forms. Article 2.2 of UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003) defines intangible cultural heritage as it takes five forms (Figure 1)


Figure 1: Intangible cultural heritage forms

Source: Researcher adopted from UNESCO, 2003d; UNWTO, 2013


UNESCO is playing a vital role in order to safeguard ICH. Since 1952 UNESCO efforts have begun and they are continuous till now. The role of ICH has increased after realizing that many traditions and customs in several local communities all around the world were lost and disappeared especially in the globalization era (Bakar et al., 2014) .Moreover, The UNESCO convention of safeguarding ICH and its international decree was a fundamental step and many countries signed it, others have not yet; but since then the protection of ICH became extremely important and many researchers and practitioners gave more attention to this topic.)Mackinnon, 2012)

It's very important to preserve and document all forms of ICH, especially for developing countries which are famous for their richness and diversity of ICH that give them a unique identity particularly among tourist destinations .In this context, sustainability should be a vital principle in safeguarding and documenting ICH to make it accessible to present and future generations. (Pereraand and Chandra, 2014).

Furthermore, The UNESCO convention of 2003 mentioned to the role of indigenous communities and groups in transmitting, safeguarding, maintenance and recreation of ICH, without their support and help nobody can decide the value of this heritage (Cominelli and Greffe, 2012). Thus, UNESCO (2003) confirmed the importance of protecting the practitioners of the ICH as it's so difficult to transmit it without those practitioners.  So, safeguarding ICH not requires just attention towards the heritage itself but also the craftsmen and artists (Bakar et al., 2014).


Nowadays,  documenting  ICH  is  becoming  simple  and  easy  due  to  the  technological revolution and multimedia development, so professionals can use digital tools to capture voices or videos of daily life rituals. The digital tools for example, tablets, digital cameras and smart phones became effective tools for recording. On the other hand, community members can make  an inventory and make it available online. (Perera and Chandra, 2014; Jarvis, 2012)


Storytelling and Tourism

Since 1990's storytelling has gained much more attention in different sciences and fields,

education, psychology, sociology, management and marketing. (Akgün et al., 2015).Storytelling can be defined in many ways, many researchers put different definitions for storytelling in general and in tourism in particular. Storytelling is defined as to share knowledge or experience through a story and episode to deliver a complicated idea, concept, and casual relation” (Lee and Shin,

2015, p.281). It has been defined as a narrative about a character overcoming some obstacle to achieve some important goal” (Haven, 2007, p.100). Jim Signorelli explains that he has found over eighty two definitions of the word storytelling; he mentioned that "it's hard to give the exact definition of the word because people have a slightly different understanding of the word". (Signorelli 2014, p.28) .The attractive story can draw the attention of the audiences by immersion and they can become a part of it through participation (Ferraro, 2016).

Storytelling as a communication tool has different forms depending on the context, so it doesn't take an oral form only, but it can be in a printed one like a novel and in screen forms such as a movie or a video (Lee and Shin, 2015).In other words, it is a tool for transmitting and interpreting experiences in a way that attracts those you are sharing the story with. As well as, an evolutionary mechanism that helped keep our ancestors alive. Additionally ,storytelling has been defined in the context of marketing  as  a  tool  of  stimulating  consumer  loyalty  through  emotional connection or entertainment (Choi,2016).

Stories have an impressive role in live; they inspire people and creating the human and emotional connection. Stories can transfer the values, the history and the culture to the future generations. They can, further, be utilized to introduce a new topic or a complicated idea and sharing it with different types of audiences (Mossberg, 2008;Geneske and Hattaway, 2014).

On the other hand, there is an international trend in the "experience industry". This trend depends  on  creating a  story related  to  the  business  as  a whole  or a  part  of  it.  This  may be appropriate for a single product, an organization or a destination. Thus, it was clearly shown that there are several types of stories for example, advertising stories; stories about organizations or products, or destinations such as branding stories; consumer stories and traditional stories which include folktale, legend, and myth (Mossberg, 2008; Miller ,2011).

Furthermore, storytelling in tourism industry was examined from different points of views, firstly, storytelling which related to tourism destination; Chronis mentioned that "the story can transform places into attractive tourism destinations" (Chronis, 2012, p. 445).   Therefore, storytelling may offer unique competitive advantages and a tool to create storyscapes in tourism destinations. Moreover, it can create memorable and authentic tourist experiences which concentrated on stimulate visitor's senses such as seeing, smelling, hearing and tasting. In addition, it may create conditions for cooperation among destination stakeholders (Jensen and Prebensen,


Storytelling can also be used for tourism destination development, Mossberg, Therkelse, Huijbens, Björk and Olssen (2010) developed a theoretical model which shows that stories can form essential elements of destination marketing and development (Lund, 2012). There are many cases which depend on storytelling for developing destinations e.g. organizing events based on stories and

myths (Mossberg, 2008). On the other hand, tourism storytelling can reinforce the destination's value through encouraging tourism activities as well as creating new value which depends mainly on the developed individualized experience process concerning a story of a tourist attraction (Choi,


Secondly, the storytelling of tourists; nowadays a lot of attention has been given to the storytelling of tourist. Many tourists  became  storytellers  about  the  destinations  they  had  visited  and  the experiences they had lived. Customers started to share their stories and experiences in different forms of travel blogs such as videos, photos, and texts about their travel experiences through social media. Popular websites like, Trivago and Trip Advisor started to use storytelling in the form of consumer reviews these reviews can be considered as word of mouth recommendations and always have their influences on perceptions and reputation (Ferraro, 2016; Lund, 2012)

As a rsult of the technological revolution, digital storytelling became a new form of narratives which depends on multimedia technologies but in a simple way. Digital stories are small scaled, they last between two and five minutes (Alcantud et al., 2014) .They are taking various forms such as simple text, virtual and real Guides/storytellers, audio narration, movies and interactive forms (Lee and Shin, 2015).


This kind of stories should consist of some essential elements which are: actors ;place; time ; the objective  of  the  story  ;  sensory  elements  :  smells,  flavors,  colors  ,  sounds,  emotions  of  all participants ;  objects such as clothing; narrator's point of view (who is telling the story? ; narrator's tone of voice, attitude, style ;quality of the images , video and other multimedia elements; finally, the stories should be short, simple ,unique and clear with easy language (Alcantud et al., 2014 ; Albom ,2016)

Travel, tourism and adventure are the main concerns of digital stories. They can be in several forms such as, stories about cultural events, a personal experience in travel, places, a restaurant, a heritage site and other different forms. Thus, it can be said that digital stories can facilitate the relation between outsiders and local community; they can create a better cross-cultural understanding (Alcantud et al., 2014). Furthermore, many virtual cultural heritage sites depend on digital storytelling which often represents stories about event and characters related to these sites (Lee and Shin, 2015).



Storytelling as a Tool for Safeguarding and Marketing the Intangible Cultural heritage

In recent years, many researchers and academics recognized the significant role of storytelling in marketing and branding either for a product, a service or a destination.

According to its vital role, many researchers mentioned to the necessity of using storytelling as a marketing approach (Akgün et al., 2015). Storytelling is a significant component of modern marketing that can improve the product or service when used effectively (Ferraro, 2016). Furthermore, storytelling can put the information in a new form to be memorable, meaningful and understandable. It is an effective technique to shape brands and to create an emotional investment in a product or service (Aaker and Smith, 2011;  Akgüna et al., 2015) Otherwise, storytelling does not only create an emotional response; it also gives the brand a personality. Baker (2012 claims that storytelling  is  the  new  tool  of  branding  because  the  consumer  becomes  more  attached  and connected to various digital platforms. Additionally, storytelling, can be channeled through several communication tools (i.e. stories, social media, videos and films, reviews and word of mouth) that have a vital role in a content marketing strategy which gives life to brands and driving market changes (Fog et al.,2005; Akgüna et al., 2015;  Ferraro, 2016).

On the other hand, using stories in branding creates a strong connection which can build a long lasting customer brand relationship. In other words, stories have the ability to engage people and communicate a message and this is a very important tool for the marketer (Ferraro, 2016).

As well as, the importance of storytelling as a branding notion, the attention of storytelling has been increased as its vital role in tourism marketing.

As mentioned in tourism literature, storytelling has two significant functions, firstly, it can create a unique competitive advantage for the destination secondly, it can give the tourist a memorable experience (Mossberg, 2008). In addition, utilizing storytelling approach particularly in tourism has created the ripple effect through social networking technologies (Akgüna et al., 2015).

Preserving and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage has faced many challenges and problems. Accordingly, there is a necessity to balance between collecting, documenting and archiving ICH and the ability of local communities and tradition bearers to use, reshape, share and transmit it. Since several years ago, intangible heritage had been shared within communities at an informal level, passed on by word of mouth .In fact; it summarizes many meanings and concepts of identity, history and culture (Jarvis, 2012).


Therefore, stories have a powerful effect as they can turn the intangible attractions in destinations into tangible tourist experience creators. Nowadays, tourists behaviors have been changed, they are always looking for secret and myths stories to feel immersed within the local culture of the tourism destination. As a result, it becomes very important for any tourism destination to have attractive, positive stories and effective storytelling channels (Yavuz et al., 2016).


Accordingly, developments particularly in place branding clarify that the storytelling and ICH can play an important role for destinations, they can represent a value added which enables the creation of a sense of place and identity for both residents and tourists (Mitsche,2013). Additionally, storytelling can provide many different ways of seeing the same attractions in several contexts and it can shed light on the hidden and intangible meanings to attract new tourists. In this perspective, effective interpretation through storytelling has an important role in safeguarding and marketing ICH( Figure 2); it should involve the people who use spaces, local communities, tourists and stakeholders (PÎNZARU,2012; Mitsche,,2013)

Figure 2: Storytelling as a tool for marketing ICH

Source: Researcher




Qualitative analysis is considered as a suitable way in order to understand life styles, stories, people's behaviors, and changes in social life (Yavuz et al., 2016). Thus, a qualitative approach was employed in this research, based on adapting semi-structured interviews to achieve the study objectives and to answer the research questions. The qualitative method was used primarily to gain detailed information from the interviewees. Besides, open-ended questions were used as the nature of open- ended questions enables the interviewees to give answers that are most important to them ( Ferraro,2016) .25 semi- structured interviews were conducted in Nubia city, especially the Nubian village of Gharb Soheil as this area wasn't affected directly by the construction of High Dam in the1960s. It still remains an authentic Nubian community has its own intangible cultural heritage and it was recently chosen by many travel agencies as an important part within package tours to southern Egypt.



The interviews were carried out by the researcher and trained postgraduate students from January 2016 until October 2016 in Nubia city and in the Nubian club in Alexandria. They were conducted with the local community, as well, as native tour guides and officials in Aswan Governorate. Initially, all interviews were transcribed into written material in order to start the thematic analysis. The researcher used thematic coding as a tool for analyzing and interpreting the interviews.


The interviews revolved around four main themes; Firstly, the Nubian ICH as a tourist attraction. Secondly, the challenges and risks that threaten the Nubian ICH.Thirdly, the projects and initiatives that interested in documenting and safeguarding Nubian intangible cultural heritage. Finally, the proposed stories represented the Nubian ICH through storytelling. These stories showed the most important characters, places and objects in Nubia. Moreover, they clarified the meanings and experiences which are transmitted to visitors by Nubia stories. The data reflected other sub-themes under each main theme. Next section will display briefly all these themes.



The Nubia City

Nubia was the region extending from the south of  Aswan in  Egypt  till Dongola in the

Northern Sudan .Historically, Nubians - who had lived there for thousands of years-, have long been considered a distinct population especially in their physical features and their culture (Elcheikh,

2013).In the past, the region was famous for its natural resources and moderate weather, these characteristics motivated many people to stay there. Additionally, distinctive early settled cultures flourished in this region (El Aali , 2003).

In Nubia, there are more than fifty Nubian villages, each village marked by their own history. Nubians are speaking two different languages Kenzi and Fadicca and they couldn't understand each other. As a result of the forced displacement that Nubians faced since the early twentieth century due to the construction of dams near Aswan, very few Nubian villages still exist in their original locations .The original villages that do still exist are located near Aswan city and West Aswan(Robinson,2004&Nicholas, 2017).

As  a result  of constructing the  High  Dam,  Nubians  today are divided  into  two  groups. Therefore, the research focused on the Nubian communities of Southern Egypt (in Gharb Soheil).These communities are so related to the tourism facilities and activities where Nubian heritage and culture are displayed (Elcheikh, 2013).

Gharb Soheilis situated on the western bank of the Nile, approximately 15 Km south of Aswan. This village is Kenuzi Nubian village; its name due to the island of Soheil opposite to it. Gharb Soheil was not affected by the High Dam as it is situated to its north (Abdel Meguid, 2008).

The culture of the Nubians as a unique ethnic group - has long been a focal point of scholarly interest to cultural anthropologists, archaeologists, architects   and   urban   planners alike. Although the archaeological   sites   and   artifacts,   Nubian culture has become a tourist attraction and it's both tangible and intangible heritage have been increasingly lost (Elcheikh, 2013).




Firstly: The Nubian intangible cultural heritage

Nubians mentioned through interviews that Nubia city is rich of its ICH but majority of them

confirmed that many elements of their ICH has been lost due to displacement and they are doing the maximum efforts to safeguard the rest . They classified their ICH into  main three domains:

·        Nubian language

The Nubians explained that there are two distinctive dialects in Egypt and the Sudan, which

Define two different Nubian groups: Kenzi (Matoki) and Fadija (Mahas). They referred during interviews that the Nubian language is the most intangible element facing threats due to globalization and modernity.  They confirmed that the Nubian dialects were mainly spoken but unwritten since the middle Ages.

·        Folklore and Music

They emphasized that Nubian ceremonies are usually accompanied with music, such as aragid

(for weddings)  and  zikr  (religious  festivities).    They    are    traditionally    based    on  the performers' interaction  with  the  audience,  through  singing  and  clapping e.g.  kaff dance), and accompanied by their traditional instruments:  tar,  kisir ,tanboura and noggara.

·        Handicrafts

They  mentioned  that  they  were  famous  for  their  handicrafts  (necklaces  and  accessories),

colorful bags and hats. They confirmed that some of these traditional crafts still remain till now and using them in their daily life and in their house. The Nubians explained the diversity of their intangible culture heritage as follows (Table1)


                            Table 1: Classification of intangible cultural heritage in Nubia city                                                                                     





Customs and traditions


Traditional crafts.




Performing arts(dances

,music and songs)





- El- Kenzya.

- El Fadyga.

-Child christening



- Customary rituals. (Marriage, child Birth, death rituals)


- Food rituals (Such : Gakod - alskhanh - Aldokh bread - bread solar - Alkhmarit- yakhny - Alsorad

- Aloslaad- poetic milk - aseeda - Akarmdid - Jerasah - Alobray

-alcabd- Alobrigg).

-Crocodile breeding (to expel Evil spirits)

Most of Nubian handicrafts made from  reeds  and river palm leaves

-KUTA TABAGA(colorful spread mat) LASHIRA       (field mat)

-Afro trays , laundry baskets


-Silver    and    Brass


-Leather  and  Bread


-Buffalo horn


-Precious stone


-Colorful Bags.

-Wicker making.

- Henna drawing

-Women          cloths


- Men cloths

(Glbab Amma)

- Religious' ceremony.


-Sibir al-lubiyya (Festival           of beans).


-Festival           of


(At   the   end   of

rainy season).


-Kambala festival (for harvest season).


-Festival of painting (drawing the Nubians houses).

Music instruments

-Tar,           Kisir,

Tanboura       and



Nubian dances interaction with the audience, through singing and clapping .e.g.

- Kenoz

 (Kaff  dance)


- Fadyga

(Aragee dance)

Most of stories related to displacement

-Alblachon Swarm.




Source: Researcher depending on the interviews


Secondly: The Risks and Challenges that Facing the Nubian ICH

Interviews with Nubians people clarified that they are facing many risks that threaten their culture,

customs, traditions and their source of livelihood, the risks include the following:


1- The Forced Nubians Displacement (Relocation Nubian Community)

The majority of the interviewees mentioned that displacement had the most harmful effects on Nubian life in many aspects. They clarified that during the 1960s, they were forcibly displaced from their homelands as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam. According to their point of view this shift in place caused many changes in their traditional practices, their economies, as well as, in their cultural identity and resource of income. It appeared through personal interviews that the majority of them had different point of views towards the displacement. Older people saw this displacement as a reason for losing their language, customs, traditions and ethics, although the younger Nubians found it as a mean for better education. In addition, the interviewees explained that the Egyptian government relocated around 40 Nubians villages in new houses at Kom Ombo

50 km north of Aswan.


The impacts of displacement on the economic activity and the Nubian intangible cultural heritage

The interviewees explained that they were divided according to the experience of displacement in the 1960s into two groups; some Nubian villages were not affected by this displacement and they remained without any changes and some other Nubian villages were forced to relocate three to ten kilometers from the Nile. According to the Nubians point of view, the Egyptian government didn't respect the Nubian Identity as a distinctive ethnic group. Due to this forced displacement, many changes accrued in their economic activity and in their culture and traditions.


· Impacts on economic activity:

All the interviewees confirmed that they are so attached to the River Nile as there are many

aspects of their life related to their existence beside the Nile. The Nubians emphasized that the agriculture was the main economic activity and after displacement some changes happened in the economic structure and they moved to work in other jobs. As a result, the traditional practices of agriculture have been endangered as they no longer practicing them. So, according to their point of view the forced displacement had negative effects on their economic activity.


· Impacts on Nubian intangible cultural heritage:

During the interviews, Nubians confirmed that the displacement was the serious risk which affected the extinction of their intangible cultural heritage (ICH). They mentioned that they lost their costumes and traditions due to the displacement as most of their intangible cultural heritage was related to their existence beside the Nile. They said that "The River was an important part of our lives as it was the focal point of many of our daily activities: communication, ceremonies of marriage, death, birth, and many other private and community rituals". They referred to theirsense of loss” especially after this shift.


2- Internal and external Nubian labor migration

The majority of the interviewees explained as a result of displacement they decided to leave

their city searching for a better job. They divided into groups; some of them stayed in cities, such as Cairo and Alexandria and many of them living outside of Egypt in the Gulf, Europe, and the United States. The interviewees emphasized further that there is a young generation of Nubians who have never even visited Old Nubia". They confirmed that this migration created a conflict: Nubians searching for urban life, meanwhile they are thinking back to their homeland to save their identity. Finally, they referred that, this movement means less opportunities to transmit the cultural traditions through generations.



Nubians confirmed during the interviews that the tourism industry has caused critical changes

in their culture and lifestyle. They referred that the number of tourists has been increased especially when Nubian houses and villages became a part of their program.

Additionally, they mentioned that the construction of the Abu Simbel airport was a reason for many changes in Nubia. Nubians confirmed that they started from several years ago to benefit from their cultural heritage to attract and accommodate tourists. They clarified that tourism has its effects on Nubian economic activity and on Nubian Intangible cultural heritage.

All the interviewees stated that due to the growth of tourism in Gharb Soheil, many Nubians left their traditional sectors such as fishing and agriculture and they depended on tourism as a source of income. They worked in some jobs related to tourism facilities such as souvenirs shops, hotels, café and restaurants, bazaars, camels, feluccas, taxis, brokers, Nubian houses, and folklore dancing performances. Furthermore, they indicated that they used to host researchers and anthropologists in their houses, and gradually they rented rooms for tourists.

Finally, the Nubians confirmed that the tourism has its impact on their intangible cultural heritage especially the traditional practices in building and Nubian handicrafts. For example, they mentioned that they made some changes in Nubian architecture in order to adapt it with the tourist function. They stated that they added various elements and extra shapes in the design. Above of this, they didn't use the traditional symbols in decorating. So, in their views the traditional Nubians decorative arts became more fake and commercial.

On the other hand, the Nubians explained that many handicrafts disappeared as a result of displacement. They added that tourism was a reason for many changes in the traditional shapes and designs of handicrafts, additionally; the shops in Gharb Soheil are selling Chinese-made souvenirs.


Thirdly, the projects and initiatives that interested in documenting and safeguarding Nubian intangible cultural heritage

Through  personal  interviews,  it  was  clearly  shown  that  Nubians  facing  difficulties in

safeguarding their intangible cultural heritage and identity, especially after the forced displacement. They also mentioned that the government did not help them to survive and recover their rights and their land and heritage lost.

Although, they explained that there are few governmental projects and some individual initiatives for documenting and safeguarding ICH .These initiatives depend mainly on the local community and some nongovernmental associations. These are:


1- Nubian Museum

The officials in Aswan Governorate stated that the Nubian Museum was opened in 1997; it

was built as a powerful presentation of the UNECO's international campaign in order to safeguard and preserve the Nubian identity. It presents many aspects of daily life in old Nubia. Furthermore, they clarified that the museum includes an area for outdoor exhibits and activities which allow presenting the authentic Nubian performances and sometimes hosting handicraft workshops. In their point of view, the Museum is one of the most important projects for safeguarding and marketing the Nubian culture and makes it sustained.


2- The Public Nubian Club

It's clearly shown through interviews with the officials of the club that it is a project that aims

to gather the Nubian people who became separated after the forced displacement. Its main objective is to train young Nubians in order to collect, document and digitize their heritage especially the intangible heritage. Young  Nubians  confirmed  that  the  Nubian  club  helps  them  to  arrange interviews with experts from the older Nubian community to discuss and listen to the old stories about Nubia.


3- Nubia Tube Program and Media

They mentioned that the Egyptian media has only one Egyptian series called "Bakkar". This is

the only series which talked about Nubia and Nubian life, and it had a significant impact upon children and young people.

The Nubians highlighted that they have a creative initiative to document, preserve and market their heritage, this project called "Nuba tube".  It started in 2015aims to empower the Nubian minority to keep their special identity through social media and to improve Nubian kids and new generations to rebuild their own identity and language. The Nubians explained that "Nuba tube" broadcasting daily in Nubian language is translated into several languages. They added that this channel includes special program (Nubian women, historical shows, cultural, documentary, literary, and heritage arts).

Finally, the Nubians clarified that most of the efforts for documenting all aspects of the intangible heritage depend mainly on Nubians themselves. Additionally, through interviews with officials in the investment authority and tourism promotion in Aswan, it became clear that there are no future projects or initiatives from the Egyptian government to preserve the Nubian ICH.


Fourthly: The proposed stories which can safeguard and market the Nubian intangible cultural heritage through storytelling.


During the community survey, the Nubians identified the most important stories being told to tourists about Nubia. They are composed of a blend of tangible and intangible aspects of the city. In their point of view, these stories can transmit values and ideas about Nubian's unique identity and can market their intangible cultural heritage. They explained the importance of telling more stories of loss and put them in priority. These stories fall into a number of categories or themes which can be labeled as "historical" , "intangible cultural heritage ",  "architecture" , "gastronomy ",  "tourism" and "entertainment " ( Jeannotte,2016) as follow :-

1-Historical event stories:  stories about Nubians and displacement Nubians–early civilization. Stories about the life of the Nubians before and after displacement, and how their lives have become after this forced displacement.

2-Cultural group Stories: stories about who is Nubian? The physical and personal characteristics of Nubians as an ethnic group have its own identity and culture.

3- Nubian handicrafts and craftsmen story

4- Nubian language and delicates story

5- Nubian local and traditional food stories

6- Oral  traditions  and  customs  stories  related  to  wedding,  death,  birth  and  other  daily

lifestyle traditions.

7- Local cultural activity and arts stories: Stories about Nubian festivals and events, story shows Nubian music songs and Nubian dance.

8- Places and neighborhoods stories: stories about Gharb Soheil and west of Aswan,story about kom ombo “New Nubia

9- Story about the Nubia Museum

10- Story about the traditional ways of construction the Nubian house.


If these stories are developed and promoted in storytelling context, they will be an effective tool for documenting, safeguarding and marketing Nubian intangible cultural heritage. They will promote the most prominent characters in Nubia stories, also they will mention about the most famous places related to symbolic meaning in Nubian cultural. Furthermore, they can clarify the most important meanings and experiences which will be transmitted to visitors through these stories.

Finally, from the previous results it can be concluded that the Nubia city is famous for its diversity and richness of ICH which can be utilized in innovative ways to attract more tourists. Moreover, the Nubian ICH is facing many threats and risks which are mostly related to tourism, modernization, displacement and labor migration. It was clearly shown that most initiatives of safeguarding the Nubian ICH depend mainly on the Nubian's efforts.


This confirms what UNESCO convention stated in 2003"the indigenous communities and groups have a vital role in safeguarding and transmitting ICH". Additionally, there is a shortage in government's role to document and safeguard the Nubian ICH and it usually deals with Nubians as a minority group and didn't give them much attention.

On the other hand, there is a great potential to utilize the Nubian ICH and its stories in creating  a  competitive  advantage  for  Nubia  and  support  the  destination  branding.  This  is consistent with the study of Jensen and Prebensen (2015) .Also, the community survey clarified the most important stories that help to define Nubian's unique identity and this is consistent with the opinion of (Elcheikh,2013) who emphasized the importance of the community based stories in destination branding.



How to Apply Storytelling as a Tool for Safeguarding and Marketing the Nubian Intangible

Cultural Heritage


The study applies a modified theoretical model adopted by the researcher depending on the theoretical model in (Mossberg, et al.,2010).The model sheds light on the proposed ways in which storytelling activities can be practiced. This can lead to safeguard and market Nubain ICH by organizing  an  event  depending  mainly  on  the  storytelling  concept  .The  model  clarified  how different stakeholders can cooperate together for using storytelling as a tool to make Nubian ICH more sustainable. The authentic story of the Nubian ICH can integrate the storytelling concept in arranging the event as a whole .The arrangements will be planned around one theme for servicescape, so that the tourist experience will include various senses not just seeing and hearing but also smell the place, taste local food and touch handicrafts. The event will be held in Gharb Sohil, South of Aswan and Kom Ombo. The choice of place will depend on the event theme and the ICH that will introduce.

This model focuses on seven main elements in order to prepare and apply storytelling event in Nubia city: objectives of storytelling event, types of stakeholders involved; stages of the storytelling process; outcome of the storytelling process; destination development dimension, tasks before and during storytelling event and finally, evaluation of storytelling event (Table 2).

Table 2: How to Apply Storytelling as a Tool for Safeguarding and Marketing the Nubian Intangible Cultural Heritage


Objectives of

storytelling even


Participants (local / non local) (public / private)



Outcome of

storytelling process

(year 1, 2, 3…)


development dimensions

Tasks before

and during storytelling event

Evaluation of

storytelling event

- To  give  a  fell  for  a

period  in  Nubian history

- To provide added value to Nubian intangible cultural heritage and document it in an innovative way

- To        provide        an entertaining performance for tourist

, youth and children

- To promote Nubia city as an authentic destination and create new brand

- To inspire Nubians and make them proud of their ICH

A. Initiators & Decision


- Ministry of culture

- Ministry of Tourism

- The Egyptian Supreme

Council of Antiquities

- The Aswan Governorate

- Local community


- Nubia Museum

- Local non- profit


- The duration of the event

One off

Drop in


- The place of the event


(Nubia   museum,   Aswan

cultural    center,    Nubian house)


(Gharb  Soheil  ,  west  of

Aswan )

- The    way    of    audience participation



-Large audiences

-Small groups (workshops)

Further concept development

- Revive GharbSohail

- Increasing  number  of visitors to Nubian city

- Increasing  knowledge and  skills  in  the Nubian community

- Native             guiding innovation

- Nubian                artist


Marketing output

- Good media coverage

from different channels and press

- Promote for Nubia as authentic destination

- Financial sustainability for local community


Inter-organization outcome

- Cooperation      among

Nubian actors and storytellers

- Knowledge and  skills transfer

- Developing           new networks

- New  ways  of  using existing local resources and use of new ones


- Increased      visitations

during summer season.

- Extended season.

- Destination brand

- Theming of the region

- Increase the number of work places

- Municipal collaboration

- Sustainable business

The          week before

- Confirm


- Confirm arrangements for payment

- Check     travel arrangements

During the event

- Welcome   and

orientate storyteller  and tourists

After the event

- Give   the   storyteller


- Forward           visitor comments


B. Steering committee

- The Aswan Governorate

- The Nubia museum

- Tourism Board

- Private companies

The number of audience


- None

- A little

- Some

- A lot

Sort of participation

- Music

- Art

- Story building

Kind of stories will be told

- Folk tales

- Legends

- Myths

- Historical stories

Social and culture:

- Preserve   the   Nubian identity

- Training programs for locals.

- Local proud.

- Image    and    regional identity.

- Employ locals

- Growing awareness of the Nubias potential as a tourist destination

- Community      tourism


- Safeguarding           the

Nubian ICH





Objectives of

storytelling event


Participants (local / non local) (public / private)



Outcome of storytelling

process (year 1, 2, 3)


development dimensions

Tasks before and

during storytelling event

Evaluation of

storytelling event


C. Actors

- Hotels in GharbSoheil  and

Gharb Aswan

- Restaurants

- Tourists

- Boats & feluccas

- Bazars

- Folklore                 dancing performances

- Nubian native guides

Agenda setting

- One  main  theme  e.g. the "displacement       story"

- Arrangements carefully selected by the event committee.

- Stories    identified    by


- The Stories are selected in terms of relevance to the site using Nubian  actors









- Sustainable tourism.

- Storytelling  activities will make the tourists more environmentally aware and change behavior patterns in destination

- New    facilities    and infrastructure will be developed




Types of Storytellers

- A local storyteller

- A storyteller of traditional tales

- A costumed storyteller

- An historical storyteller

- A performance storyteller (Ex:Nubia Museum, Nubian native guides,

Nubian Volunteers, Nubian Musicians, Nubian Lecturers, Elder People ,

Tourism services providers)

Target groups: