The World Heritage (WH) title is an important recognition of landscapes, monuments or areas as part of the outstanding universal value of humankind. It should and could serve as a promise of protection of these sites and benefiting the people living in and around them. In reality, the title is often an entry card to the global tourism map, resulting in a steep increase in tourism numbers.
Sustainable heritage tourism could act as an important additional livelihood option for communities in and around world heritage sites. If managed properly, tourism could contribute to social and economic development. Tourism could also serve as a cooperative instrument to explain traditions and their connections to present life and thus enable mutual understanding and global learning.
On the other hand, tourism can also be a threat to the historical and present values of the sites. Fast and unregulated tourism development often destroys the cultural integrity of the sites and disturbs the livelihoods and lifestyles of local inhabitants. Overuse of scarce resources, land grabs as well as changes from gentrification or overtourism, can further marginalize vulnerable groups in and around the sites. Their right to participation in decision-making is too often ignored.
Welcome and opening remarks from Stephan Dömpke, Chairman, World Heritage Watch; Moderation by Antje Monshausen, Head of Tourism Watch, Brot für die Welt.
After the presentations, we invite you to further discussions and a small snack.