World Heritage Sites: Know Before You Go

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.

From the towering pyramids of Egypt, to the lively Great Barrier Reef in Australia are to name a few of the World Heritage Sites that contribute to our world's heritage. World Heritage Sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.

Machu Picchu, Peru By: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Explained

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

To sum it up, UNESCO designates sites all across the globe that embody the cultural and heritage of a destination. Because World Heritage sites are often seen as epic destinations like the Taj Mahal, this brings a great amount of tourism.

One thing we really need to remember is that many of these sites have faced environmental and cultural degradation with mass tourism. It's important on our part to be conscious of our participation in tourism and maybe take the road less traveled to some of the lesser known World Heritage Sites. Or visit such famous sites on the off season to lessen the load of tourists on these delicate sites.

Another tip if you feel like going above and beyond in being a sustainable tourist is learning about the site before you go! This is a fantastic way to learn the history and cultural importance of the site. That way you'll be better prepared to respect another's cultural heritage and create a more meaningful experience when there.

UNESCO's Mission

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are used to promote the cultural heritage of all cultures and to strengthen bonds between nations:

Vatican City By: Jae Park
  • Encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;

  • Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;

  • Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;

  • Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;

  • Provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;

  • Support States Parties' public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;

  • Encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage;

  • Encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world's cultural and natural heritage.

How to Become One of the 1073 World Heritage Sites

There are 1073 World Heritage Sites around the world that promote unique and special heritage. To become a World Heritage Site there is a selection criteria based on 10 points, but 1 point is only necessary to become one. Overall, wether it's a building, forest, city, or any place that has universal value- consider that a World Heritage Site.

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