Tourism and Cultural Heritage

Tourism and cultural heritage
Tourism to sites of cultural and natural significance has existed at least since the time of Greek Antiquity, as reflected by Hellenistic world’s invention of the Seven Wonders of the World. In more recent times, 157 countries have ratified the World Heritage Convention of 1972 (protecting the world’s cultural and natural heritage), and 582 sites are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO’S Director General F. Mayor expressed it this way: 
“The potential benefits of World Heritage extend far beyond the sites which have been listed, since these areas can play a leadership role in setting standards for protected areas as a whole, can bring resources for training which will be of wider application, and can be” flagships “in terms of raising public awareness of conservation issues.” 
Together with other culture and nature areas, these World Heritage Sites are important tourism attractions and form the backbone of the tourism industry. Indeed, inscription on the World Heritage List can quickly cause a site to become a major tourist attraction. There is some debate regarding the exact size and growth of tourism, but it clearly is one of the largest industries in the world, if not the absolute largest. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that tourism generated 192 million jobs and $3.6 billion in GDP in 1999, which is 12% of the world total. And it continued growth, with annual rates of 3% between 1999 and 2010 for the world as a whole.
In short, tourism’s economic impact is significant and still growing. Moreover, much of the employment and associated income involves foreign exchange earnings. In addition, though there is wide variability across destinations and regions, tourism generally provides jobs of various types (from unskilled to skilled, part-time to full-time) and for both genders. Thus, tourism can make an important contribution to economic development. Tourism also generates a variety of other...