For the third year running, the Wadden Sea World Heritage organized a stand on sustainable tourism at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show. Partnering with the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme, the Wadden Sea World Heritage offered a rich and diverse programme around the motto “People Protecting Places” at the fair grounds from 8 to 12 March 2017. The programme included activities for both tourism professionals and individual visitors, professional workshops and presentations, and showcased best practices of sustainable tourism and cooperating across national borders.

“We want to show that World Heritage sites can be both flagships for conservation and extraordinary treasures to experience and inspire”, said Anja Domnick, Project Officer Sustainable Tourism Strategy at the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS). “Natural World Heritage sites like the Wadden Sea are important travel destinations and protected nature rolled into one. It is our responsibility to strengthen people’s appreciation and respect for these landscapes, and keep the public in touch with the sites and their activities. That is why our stand’s main focus is on sustainable tourism. By showcasing best practice examples, we seek to inform about the challenges of tourism in a fragile environment as well as the benefits of being a World Heritage site. Luckily, travellers are becoming more and more aware of nature conservation and asking to see the whole picture.”

“The UNESCO World Heritage Convention is one of the most successful UN instruments for promoting international cooperation and dialogue for the conservation of cultural and natural heritage. So we are especially gratified to partner once again with the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme in showcasing World Heritage-related activities,” states Rüdiger Strempel, CWSS Executive Secretary.

The Wadden Sea World Heritage and its co-exhibitors (the Messel Pit World Heritage site, Fondazione Dolomiti, Die Nordsee GmbH, PFD Publication – World Heritage Review) have created a rich and diverse fair programme with different overarching themes. One of these themes focused on how to engage the young generation. Accordingly, on Wednesday, 8 March three workshops organised by the German Commission for UNESCO, World Heritage Trainees, Zentrum Welterbe Bamberg, Young Heritage Experts, and Tourismus-Akademie Nordwest e.V. focused on education and communication at World Heritage sites.

On 9 March, the Wadden Sea World Heritage stand held a round table on sustainable development. Speakers included Harald Marencic, Deputy Executive Secretary, CWSS, Wadden Sea World Heritage, Peter Debrine from the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism programme, and Mariagrazia Santoro, President of Fondazione Dolomiti UNESCO, and its Director Marcella Morandini, representing the Dolomites World Heritage site.

The Wadden Sea Flyway Initiative was also showcased at the Berlin fair. Specialists from Sierra Leone, as well as from the Danish, German and Dutch Wadden Sea regions discussed bird watching and tourism and the importance of transboundary cooperation along the flyways of migratory birds.

During the weekend, individual visitors were able to experience the Wadden Sea through a broad range of activities, including games about beach finds and bird migration, a lottery and a photo shoot in front of a Wadden Sea scenery. There were tastings of typical Wadden Sea products, such as honey, and oysters. A highlight of the weekend was the premiere of “Clupea harengus - Der Hering”. The one-person play by “Frollein Brehm’s Life of Animals” on the herring and its habitat was performed for the first time at the adventure stage on Sunday, 12 March.

For more information, please click here: http://www.waddensea-worldheritage.org/news

About the Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is the largest tidal flats system in the world, where natural processes run undisturbed along the coasts of Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. In 2009, the Wadden Sea was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List for its globally unique geological and ecological values. Biodiversity on a worldwide scale is reliant on the Wadden Sea. It accommodates over 10,000 species of plants and animals, which continuously adapt to the area’s ever-changing environment. Moreover, the extraordinary productivity of biomass attracts 10-12 million migratory birds yearly for a stopover. To ensure the protection of the Wadden Sea, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark have been joining their conservation forces for over 30 years, taking responsibility for this irreplaceable ecosystem and preserving it for the benefit of present and future generations.