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3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

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: 34 COM 5F.2
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties

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: 38 COM 7
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties

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: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision: 42 COM 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
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:  35 COM 7B.17 36 COM 7B.78 36 COM 7B.17 37 COM 7B.19 38 COM 7B.92 38 COM 7B.27 39 COM 7B.61 40 COM 7B.81 40 COM 7B.74 40 COM 7B.50
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
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:  31 COM 7B.24 38 COM 7B.27 40 COM 7B.52 40 COM 7B.50
1 - General Policies Regarding the World Heritage Convention
10. "[The World Heritage Committee] Acknowledging the contribution of sustainable tourism to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the positive impact it can have on local communities and the protection of World Heritage properties, nevertheless notes with concern that the number of properties negatively affected by overcrowding, congestion and tourism infrastructure development continues to increase;

11. Noting that the protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) must be a central objective for all World Heritage properties, requests States Parties to develop visitor management plans and strategies that address the seasonality of tourism (smoothing visitor numbers over time and spreading visitors across sites), encourage longer more in-depth experiences promoting tourism products and services that reflect natural and cultural values, and limit access and activities to improve visitor flows and experiences, while reducing pressures on the attributes which underpin OUV."
Theme: 1.2 - UNESCO standard-setting texts and synergies with other Conventions and Programmes
3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
3.6 - Tourism and visitor management
Decision: 43 COM 7.3
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
"30. [The World Heritage Committee] notes that the pressures on historic urban areas arising from inappropriate or inconsistent development controls, rapid, uncontrolled and planned development, including large development projects, additions that are incompatible in their volume, mass tourism, as well as the accumulated impact of incremental changes have continued within numerous World Heritage properties and in their buffer zones and settings, and considers that these present potential and actual major threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of properties, including their integrity and authenticity, as well as increasing their vulnerability to disasters, including those resulting from climate change;
(…)
34. [The World Heritage Committee] (s)tresses the importance of carrying out Heritage Impact Assessments to evaluate and thereby avoid or manage potential threats to the OUV of the property arising from new urban development projects."
Theme: 3.3 - Impact assessments
3.5.1 - Buildings and development
Decision: 44 COM 7.2
Threats:  Commercial development Housing Industrial areas Interpretative and visitation facilities Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
3 - Policies Regarding CONSERVATION of World Heritage Properties
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

For the impact of tourism, the World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties, prior to any development of tourism facilities (resort development, ski facilities, golf resorts, etc.) that its potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) has been thoroughly assessed and to develop and implement a clear tourism strategy (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  31 COM 7B.29 37 COM 7B.28 40 COM 7B.74 41 COM 7B.32
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
3.5 - Factors affecting properties
Synthesis based on relevant Committee decisions

The World Heritage Committee requests States Parties to take measures to mitigate the impacts of mass tourism representing potential threats to the OUV of a property (based on Case law on decisions on the State of Conservation).
Theme: 3.5.8 - Social/cultural uses of heritage
See for examples Decisions:  41 COM 7B.43 43 COM 7B.58
6 - Policies Regarding COMMUNITIES
15. g) “[The World Heritage Committee encourages States Parties to] establish and promote horizontal cooperation and understanding among various institutions that have an impact on cultural and natural heritage, also including governmental institutions responsible for UNESCO programmes implementation on national level, economy, finance, regional development/ planning, tourism, social welfare as well as local authorities”.
Theme: 6.1 - Participation of local communities and other stakeholders
Decision: 35 COM 12E

The World Heritage Policy Compendium was elaborated thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Australia.

The World Heritage Policy Compendium On-line tool was developed thanks to the generous contribution of the Government of Korea.


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