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World Heritage Day celebrates global cultural heritage

World Heritage Day celebrates global cultural heritage
April 18, 2017

With 18th April marking United Nations World Heritage Day, the International Day for Monuments and Sites, Mechtild Rössler, the Director of the Division for Heritage and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, has explained how the day’s theme, ‘Cultural Heritage & Sustainable Tourism’, links with the United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development while backing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking to Australasian Leisure Management, Rössler explained “in designating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the United Nations General Assembly noted ‘the importance of international tourism in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world’.

“On the occasion of the International Day for Monuments and Sites this year, the World Heritage Centre wishes to join ICOMOS in encouraging local communities and individuals to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities, and to promote awareness of its diversity and vulnerability and the efforts required to protect and conserve it.

“Cultural tourism presently accounts for close to 40%  of world tourism revenues. Cultural heritage sites in general, and those inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in particular, generate substantial revenues and employment from tourism. Tourism is the most significant link between heritage assets and sustainable development. Due to its capacity for job creation, poverty reduction, human development and environmental sustainability, tourism can benefit countries in a number of ways, offering an important contribution to the overall national growth in many counties.

“When undertaken responsibly, tourism is a positive force for sustainable development, conservation and environmental protection - but if unplanned, tourism can be socially, culturally and economically disruptive, and have a devastating effect on fragile environments. Poorly managed and uncontrolled tourism can be a major threat to the values of heritage and long-term economic development.

“The UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2012 at its 36th session has established an international framework for the cooperative and coordinated achievement of shared and sustainable outcomes related to tourism at World Heritage properties, including sustainability, national pride, community benefit, economic development and heritage conservation.

“In 2015 the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention also adopted a policy on the integration of a sustainable development perspective into the processes of the World Heritage Convention, which allows States Parties, practitioners, institutions, communities and networks to harness the potential of World Heritage properties, and heritage in general, to contribute to sustainable development.

“To address critical policy issues, we will be developing a research and policy framework on issues linked to conservation and visitor management, communities and interpretation, and will launch an assessment tool to help practitioners establish a baseline for better tourism management.

“Working with National Geographic and co-funded by the European Union, we will be creating thematic journeys to raise the profile of World Heritage in certain tourism source markets, particularly in China and North America, through a tourism focused web platform which will educate and inspire people to travel sustainably, partake in local cultural experiences and support creative industries.

“To help further people’s awareness and understanding of our heritage we are adopting Open Access for much of our content. This work continues UNESCO’s collaboration with the Wikimedia community to improve World Heritage content on Wikipedia across many languages, now as part of the Connected Open Heritage project.”

Mechtild Rössler is the Director of the Division for Heritage and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. An expert in both cultural and natural heritage and the history of planning, Rössler was appointed in 2013 to the post of Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre.

World Heritage Day is an initiative of the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee backed by the participation of the worldwide ICOMOS network.

Click here for more information.

Images: Tasmania's Port Arthur convict settlement is a World Heritage site (top) and Mechtild Rössler (below).

18th April 2017 - WORLD HERITAGE SITES THREATENED BY CRIME

2nd April 2017 - REPORT HIGHLIGHTS VALUE OF INDIGENOUS RANGER PROGRAMS

3rd February 2017 - UNESCO AND UNWTO COMBINE TO LAUNCH 2017 AS INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

29th October 2016 - OLYMPIC STADIUMS TO BE RECOGNISED AS UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE BUILDINGS? 

10th September 2016 - UNITED NATIONS DECLARES 2017 AS THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM FOR DEVELOPMENT

3rd March 2016 - UNITED NATIONS MARKS WORLD WILDLIFE DAY WITH A GLOBAL CALL TO SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES

2nd July 2015 - UNITED NATIONS CALLS FOR BAN ON LOGGING AND MINING IN TASMANIA’S WORLD HERITAGE AREA

22nd April 2015 - WORLD’S PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS RECEIVE EIGHT BILLION VISITS A YEAR

27th January 2015 - FUNDING CUTS TO IMPACT TASMANIA’S PARKS AND WILDLIFE SERVICE WORLD HERITAGE AREA MANAGEMENT 

18th January 2010 - WORLD HERITAGE NOMINATION FOR NINGALOO


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The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

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