The positive power of tourism
In his keynote speech at the recent "Tourism for
Tomorrow" World Travel and Tourism Council meeting in Abu
President Bill Clinton spoke about the
positive effect that international cross border tourism can have on
"I am fundamentally optimistic about the power of tourism as a
positive force of good in the world" he said. "Peace works better
than conflict, and one of the best manifestations of that, is
He was referring to the understanding and acceptance of other
people and their cultures that can come from meeting with them face
to face and experiencing their lives and thereby reaching a better
understanding of them and their values.
Unsustainable tourism obviously can have a damaging and detrimental
effect on fragile environments and with the UNWTO predicting 1.6
Billion cross border tourists by 2020, there are critical issues
that will need to be faced in both visitor number management and in
building infrastructure to support this projected influx.
People management will be particularly important for sites that are
becoming seen as "must see" locations and where visitors often
outnumber the locals whose lives the tourists have often come
especially to experience and see.
However as Clinton pointed out, on the positive side, there are
benefits to all, both locals and visitors of carefully managed
visits to a special place. This can be illustrated in the
photographs we are sharing today of one of the world's most remote
and important landscapes - Uganda's Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park World Heritage site.
The relatively small groups of visitors who visit this park and in
particular the Gorilla sanctuary that is part of the overall site,
return home with stories and pictures which they can then share
with the wider world. This outreach increases awareness and
understanding of the site and by building a sense of stewardship in
distant viewers, can reinforce the need to protect and preserve
this special environment and the unique wildlife that lives within
it. The visits by these tightly controlled groups of tourists also
generate revenue for the local community and this reduces the need
for poaching and uneconomic land clearing.
This small but important example shows how tourism helps spread the
message about preserving and protecting the natural and cultural
assets that make up our place on our planet and at the same time
improve the lives of the local people.
If you have visited and photographed any of the sites we are
introducing today, or for that matter any WH sites around the
world, share your photos and thoughts with the wider community by
uploading them to our public access website.www.ourplacephotos.org
We will all look forward to seeing them....
Our Place World Heritage
Latest Site Galleries
Known for its exceptional biodiversity, Bwindi Park located in
south-western Uganda has many species of trees, ferns, birds and
butterflies; as well as endangered species such as the mountain
Jongmyo Shrine is a well-preserved, authentic Confucian
royal shrine, dedicated to the Joseon dynasty. Ceremonies of music,
song and dance take place there upholding traditions of the 14th
An outstanding example of the 19th- and early 20th-century
'company towns' built in Europe and North America by
enlightened industrialists to meet the workers' needs.