Sustainable Tourism


World Heritage sites are unique treasures of humanity. These natural and cultural wonders have outstanding universal value, represent our past and present, and belong to all. These sites are also important travel destinations with huge potential impact for local economic development and long term sustainability. Travel and tourism is one of the largest industries and heritage tourism is its most rapidly growing international sector. With millions of tourists visiting World Heritage sites each year, tourism has become an important cross cutting issue and management concern at most World Heritage sites.

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has developed the World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme (WH+ST Programme) to catalyse positive change to protect and conserve the sites while enriching the lives of local communities and at the same time enhancing the experience of travellers.

“Linking Tourism and Conservation of World Heritage Sites to unlock economic opportunities for the rural communities in Africa”

Sustainable tourism 1

Mosi oa Tunya – Zambia

Sustainable tourism 2

Lake Malawi

Sustainable tourism 3

Maloti Drakensburg

Sustainable tourism 4

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Programme

African World Heritage Fund five-year programme on Sustainable Tourism and World Heritage Sites to mitigate threats to World Heritage Sites in Africa.

The proposal is aimed at mobilizing sources of finance to initiate activities at World heritage Sites in line with sustainable tourism.

Main objective

The main objective is to use tourism as a positive tool in the management and conservation of World Heritage Sites in Africa.

To achieve this there is need to explore the potential of developing tourism on World Heritage Sites to create economic opportunities for the rural communities in Africa.

Long-term objectives

  • To enhance skills, management capacities, resources and support for World Heritage Site Managers enabling them to better use tourism as a tool for the conservation of World Heritage Sites.
  • To encourage active and long term participation and technical assistance by the tour operators and stakeholders in the management of World Heritage Sites.
  • To enhance local support for management of World Heritage Sites. Sharing of experiences and the creation of networks between, site managers, local, regional and national authorities and the tour operators.
  • Create awareness among the international tour operators and decision-makers in each country about the needs of World Heritage Sites and the benefits of sustainable tourism.
  • Increased knowledge and a sense of pride about Africa’s rich Cultural and Natural heritage.
  • Create awareness among stakeholders of the problems affecting World Heritage Sites.