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World Heritage
POLICY COMPENDIUM

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3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

26. "World Heritage properties are important travel destinations that, if managed properly, have great potential for inclusive local economic development, sustainability and strengthening social resilience. Sustainable forms of tourism development, including community-based initiatives, should be accompanied by inclusive and equitable economic investment to ensure benefit sharing in and around World Heritage properties."
Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Source:  Policy for the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention (WHC-15/20.GA/INF.13)

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

7. “If undertaken responsibly, tourism can be a driver for preservation and conservation of cultural and natural heritage and a vehicle for sustainable development. But if unplanned or not properly managed, tourism can be socially, culturally and economically disruptive, and have a devastating effect on fragile environments and local communities”.

18. “World Heritage and tourism stakeholders share responsibility for conservation of our common cultural and natural heritage of Outstanding Universal Value and for sustainable development through appropriate tourism management”.

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Source:  WHC-12/36.COM/5E World Heritage Tourism Programme

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

2. "(…) The relationship between World Heritage and tourism is two way: tourism, if managed well, offers benefits to World Heritage properties and can contribute to cross-cultural exchange but, if not managed well, poses challenges to these properties (…);

Attachment A. Policy orientations: defining the relationship between World Heritage and tourism

2. (...)

Tourism is critical for World Heritage:

a. For States Parties and their individual properties,

i. to meet the requirement in the Convention to 'present' World Heritage;

ii. to realise community and economic benefits.

b. For the World Heritage Convention as a whole, as the means by which World Heritage properties are experienced by visitors travelling nationally and internationally,

c. As a major means by which the performance of World Heritage properties, and therefore the standing of the Convention, is judged,

i. many World Heritage properties do not identify themselves as such, or do not adequately present their Outstanding Universal Value;

ii. it would be beneficial to develop indicators of the quality of presentation, and the representation of the World Heritage brand.

d. As a credibility issue in relation to: i. the potential for tourism infrastructure to damage Outstanding Universal Value

i. the threat that World Heritage properties may be unsustainably managed in relation to their adjoining communities;

ii. sustaining the conservation objectives of the Convention whilst engaging with economic development;

iii. realistic aspirations that World Heritage can attract tourism."

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  34COM 5F.2

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

5. "[The World Heritage Committee] also noting that tourism development in and around World Heritage properties is a key issue for their management, strongly encourages States Parties to ensure sustainable planning and management of tourism at World Heritage properties and to contribute to the implementation of the World Heritage Centre’s World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme."

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  38COM 7

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

46. "[The World Heritage Committee] requests States Parties to develop Visitor Management Plans that assess appropriate carrying capacity of properties for visitors and address the issue of unregulated tourism."

Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision:  42COM 7
Threats:  Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation Indigenous hunting, gathering and collecting Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses Society's valuing of heritage

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee recommends States Parties to develop a comprehensive tourism management plan or a sustainable tourism strategy, including a set of measures to address the tourism pressure on the site (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
See for examples Decisions:  35COM 7B.17 36COM 7B.17 36COM 7B.78 37COM 7B.19 38COM 7B.27 38COM 7B.92 39COM 7B.61 40COM 7B.50 40COM 7B.74 40COM 7B.81
Case law:  Yes

3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

3.6 - Tourism and visitor management

Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

At sites with a high tourism pressure, the World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to put in place all necessary strategic, planning and management frameworks as well as legal regulations for cruise ship tourism, including identification of the sustainable carrying capacity of the site and an analysis of the impact on the World Heritage property by cruise ships (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme:  3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
See for examples Decisions:  31COM 7B.24 38COM 7B.27 40COM 7B.50 40COM 7B.52
Case law:  Yes
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