Seminar on Tourism and Economic Diversification in World Heritage Sites

When, local time: 
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 -
9:00am to 5:30pm
Where: 
France, Paris
Type of Event: 
Category 7-Seminar and Workshop
Contact: 
p.debrine@unesco.org

The 5th seminar of the UNESCO Chair in “Culture, Tourism, Development” analyses projects and measures designed to protect the link between tourism and both economic and commercial diversification (types of businesses and activities, scale of companies) in World Heritage sites.
The evolution towards a single tourism activity (accommodation, dining, souvenirs, etc.) and the homogenisation of its commercial and economic fabric may be endangering the quality of World Heritage Sites and of their inhabitants’ lives.

The 5th seminar of the UNESCO Chair in “Culture, Tourism, Development” analyses projects and measures designed to protect the link between tourism and both economic and commercial diversification (types of businesses and activities, scale of companies) in World Heritage sites. It recognises that the economic diversification of World Heritage Sites encourages site management that will guarantee not only their physical preservation, but also relationships with the local communities inhabiting them. Far from being a separate, isolated activity taking place in ad-hoc spaces, tourism can indeed be a cross-cutting issue fuelling local development in a more general way. It may prove to be a vital partner in maintaining economic, cultural, social, and landscape diversity.

Round table discussions will take place throughout the day with managers of World Heritage Sites in France and other countries.

The 1st Round Table will focus on the regulation of tourism activities in support of economic diversity. In view of the fact or even the threat that certain sites are moving toward a single tourism activity, homogenisation of natural landscapes, and diminished links between World Heritage Sites and local inhabitants, what are the regulatory instruments of tourism activities allowing other economic activities to be maintained? What tools (regulations or incentives), forms of governance, and benefits exist?

The 2nd Round Table will focus on economic and commercial diversity of World Heritage Sites as development strategy. Diversification is not merely a reaction to a single tourism activity, it is also a comprehensive strategy for local development in which tourism plays an important role. This concerns the implementation of territorial strategies, cultural clusters, and the development of creative activities and industries, among others, which may integrate tourism as a way of stimulating these activities: firstly, by promoting high quality and local products on World Heritage sites (such as vineyards) and incorporating tourists as potential consumers contributing to and supporting activities that were not originally tourist related.

The seminar is intended for different audiences: local stakeholders in World Heritage properties, heritage and tourism technicians and managers, elected officials, researchers and academics, undergraduate and PhD students, journalists, etc.