World Heritage Site is defined as a place that is considered to be of special or physical importance to a particular state (Vahtikari, 2016). It is usually listed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This list comprises lists of World Heritage Sites which are maintained by the International World Heritage Program (UNESCO, 2010). This paper describes the World Heritage Site, World Heritage Site designation and whether they are capable attracting visitors per se depending on the designated site.
World Heritage Sites comprise of: a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument or mountain. These sites are preserved by UNESCO at the legal territory of a given state purposely for cultural or natural significance as well as international community interests for the common heritage of humankind. In Africa, UNESCO has designated 135 World Heritage Sites that are located in 37 states (state parties) (Ferrucci, 2012). Mexico has hosted 33 World Heritage Sites and so far known to be the leading in America (also comes sixth in the world ranking).
When the World Heritage Sites of a given country are recorded on the list, the nation is obliged to protect those sites and maintain the outstanding value they are known for. This is very significant because tourists visiting those states have the expectation of enjoying and having great unique experience during that period. The World Heritage Sites are considered to be the most popular and heavily promoted attraction sites to tourists hence bolsters the tourism industry of many countries (Pulsipher & Pulsipher, 2011).
The benefits of the World Heritage Sites to a country in terms of market value depend on the properties such as natural features, wild animals, and coastal beaches recorded on the World Heritage list regarding these sites (UNESCO, 2012). The more outstanding the properties are presented, the more attraction to the tourists prompting them to visit those sites in large numbers. Tourism and global recognition are highly regarded for the tourism industry to attain promotion with respect to the outstanding universal value.
Significance of the World Heritage Sites
- The Great Pyramid of Giza
This World Heritage Site is known to be the oldest among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which has solely remained largely intact (Bauval and Hancock, 2011).
It is believed to have remained to be the tallest man-made structure for over 3,800 years. Being the ancient tombs of Egyptian kings commonly called the Pharaonic rulers, have brought great fame to Egypt. Numerous tourists have visited these sites for centuries since time immemorial without ceasing. No tourists have made a trip to Egypt and felt enough satisfaction without visiting these particular sites.
Giza’s Great Pyramid is not only the ancient’s site most famous monument but also the most well-known monuments in the world (Edwards, 2016, p.14). It is huge and very complex structures have never ceased to amaze all tourists who pay a visit there. The government of Egypt has made a lot of revenue from these particular sites as the tourism industry has greatly been boosted by the frequent visits of different tourists worldwide. The inability of most scientists who have visited these sites to be able to interpret the great science behind the ancient building has made most tourists have the appetite to want to know more about it. As a result, the endless flow of their visits has greatly boosted the tourism industry in Egypt (Paglen, 2012).
- Fort Jesus, Mombasa
This World Heritage Site is a Portuguese fort built in the ancient history between 1593 and 1596 and is located on the Mombasa Island. Having been built in a man’s shape (from air view) and preserved an example of the 16th-century Portuguese military fortifications has made it popular for foreign as well as local tourists to visit (Sarmento, 2010, p.250).
The site is also used to carry out various research programs, an educational department, and Old Town Preservation office.
As a result, Kenya has made maximum profits from the benefits of this site. It is also a center of tourist’s attraction which has made The Kenya Coast the main tourist hub of the nation. In the recent years, visitors from Europe and North America have visited Kenya particularly to have a view of this unique ancient designed structure (Linehan and Sarmento, 2011, p.315). This has boosted the tourism industry in Kenya, and the benefits of this site have increased the country’s market value.
- Minaret and Archeological Remains of Jam
Dating back to the 12th century, this World Heritage Site is one of the few well-preserved monuments that represent an exceptional artistic creativity as well as structural engineering mastery of the time. It is located in a rugged valley along the Hari-rudi River at the River Jam junction, Afghanistan (Clemente, Saitta, Buffarini and Platania, 2015, p.45).
Having been listed on the World Heritage list, Afghanistan government is expected to protect and preserve this property. Despite the country having issues of civil unrest, this particular site has bolstered the country’s tourism industry (Thomas and Gascoigne, 2016, p.169).
- Iguaçu National Park, Brazil
The semicircular waterfall at the heart of this World Heritage Site is recognized as one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls that are made up of numerous cascades producing large water sprays (Moreira, 2012, p. 130). There also exist a subtropical rainforest surrounding this amazing waterfall that homes over two thousand vascular plant species and typical wildlife. It is located in Brazil.
Iguaçu National Park being seventy-five years old is the second most visited park in Brazil. Tourism has generated maximum benefits to the economic structure of Brazil. The park has been hosting more than 1.5million visitors annually, and this has come with great economic benefits to the country (Jorge, Galetti, Ribeiro, and Ferraz, 2013, p.55). Brazil has dedicated to protecting Iguaçu National Park particularly because it has brought great economic significance to its market value both locally and internationally.
- Great Blue Mountains Area
The Great Blue Mountains Area encompasses of 1.03 million hectares of a sandstone plateau, escarpments, and gorges surrounded by the dominant eucalypt forest. It is a World Heritage Site located in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. Characterized by the spectacular scenery, cascading waterfalls, ancient landscapes, temperate rainforests and deep valleys, The Great Blue Mountains Area has attracted tours from all corners of the world to view its jaw-dropping features (Wright, Wright, Graham, and Burgin, 2011, p.355).
The offers regarding the various categories of tours to this World Heritage Site by the management have been irresistible to most of the potential visitors (Laffan, Ramp, and Roger, 2013, p. 576). This has yielded awesome benefits to the tourism industry in Australia.
- Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls
The Old City, being 0.9 square kilometers, is located within the modernized Jerusalem city. The current walls of The Old City were built in 1535-42 by the Ottoman Turkish sultan (Suleiman the Magnificent) (Edelstein and Milevski, 2013). The Old City of Jerusalem is currently on the World Heritage list and is ranked as the largest site in Israel (Wilkinson, 2013). With fascinating sites within the walls of the Old City: Western “Wailing” Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock, visitors find it resistive to see them. Tourists who have visited the place always experience a unique feeling of attachment to the site and prefer staying longer (Goren and Rubin, 2013). The benefits that come as a result of this visiting are very significant to Israel and its market value both locally and internationally.
- The Great Barrie Reef
Off the coast of Queensland in the north of Australia, is found The Great Barrie Reef, which is the largest living ecosystem on earth. Its breathtaking beauty makes it one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Having the most attractive features, tourism has greatly boosted the economy of Australia (Hughes, Jones, Mapstone, and Marsh, 2010, p. 18280). The site has been included in the World Heritage list presented with numerous eye-catching structural properties.
The Great Barrie Reef has supported the Australia’s tourism growth in the recent years, and more is yet to happen (Cheal et al., 2010, p. 1010). Tourists love to watch the heart of the reef from an air view to see it best. Being the world’s largest reef makes visitors have a unique feeling and golden opportunity about visiting the site.
- The Ningaloo Coast
This World Heritage Site is found on West of Australia along the East of Indian Ocean. The main terrestrial feature of this site is the striking karst system and a channel of underground caves along with water courses of the Cape Range (Catlin and Jones, 2010, p.388). Tourist number rises every year due to the soothing atmosphere and beautiful sites along the coastal region. The inviting aquatic and marine species and cave sites make the visitors enjoy a longer stay while touring the site. Australia considers tourism a very significant component as it accelerates the market value and the country’s economy (Smallwood et al., 2011, p.334). The management of the Ningaloo Coast is highly regarded to protect the structures of this site and maintain them for outstanding results.
- Ruins of Loropeni
Being the best-reserved type of fortified settlements, the Ruins of Loropeni is located in the West part of Africa, Burkina Faso. It is the first to be inscribed in the country and is a presentation of the power of the Trans–Saharan gold trade (Tinga, 2014, p. 7433). This ancient heritage site near the town of Loropeni in the south of Burkina Faso is a popular attraction site to the visitors. Tourists come to visit this site to view the most impressive architecture and uncovering the mysterious ruins in the forest. Tourism comes with the great benefits to the country’s economic value in the market (Deacon, 2014, p.15). Burkina Faso would not risk such wanting opportunities.
- Maasai Mara National Reserve
This is a large game reserve in Narok County in Kenya. It is considered as Kenya’s jewel in the viewing of wildlife areas. Known for the abundant wildlife capacity, visitors crave to come and see the big five i.e. buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino (Pangle and Holekamp, 2010, p.156).
Maasai Mara National Reserve is the most popular attraction site in the country and tourism’s destinations. Tourists paying a visit to Kenya cannot miss attending to this site. They also enjoy the various activities that are incorporated with the tour and hence leave there feeling the urge to visit again (Ogutu, Owen‐Smith, Piepho, and Said, 2011, p. 102)
The game reserve is known as one of the finest destinations of wildlife in the world. During the months of July to November, a huge number of wild beasts migrates to the country. Having this updates in the World Heritage list, numerous tourists find time to visit Kenya particularly to view the spectacular wildlife (Clerinx et al., 2012, pp.pii-20111.). Tourism serves a great purpose to the country’s economy and Kenya’s market value at large.
- Cocos Island National Park
Beautified by the serpentine coastline, roaring waterfalls, lush rainforest and sparkling beaches, Cocos Island National Park stands to be classified as the most beautiful island in the world. The beauty of this national park leaves to inspire humanity (Breedy and Cortés, 2011, p.63). It is included in the World Heritage list, and this has made it famous to most tourists worldwide. It has also been nominated in the list of the new Seven Wonders of the World. As a result, tourism has been boosted throughout the country and particularly the Cocos Island National Park (Friedlander et al. 2012, p. 325). Visitors can’t miss visiting such a unique opportunity in the Cocos Island.
- Mount Athos
This mountain, found in Greece, is cloaked by fascinating, beautiful chestnut and various Mediterranean forests. It is referred to as the ‘Holy Mountain’ and regarded as a spiritual center for the monasteries (Mantzouris et al., 2011, p.3070).
The natural beauty it possesses, and the unique artistic creation cannot miss a visitor catching an eye on this amazing site (Karapanagiotis et al., 2011, p.3220). Tourism in Greece being an essential element for the economic activity in the country makes this World Heritage Site an important sector. The natural features of Mount Athos have made Greece a major tourist destination. It is recorded to have attracted over 26.5 million visitors annually contributing to 18% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in the market (Lind, 2011). The country has enjoyed great economic benefits as a result. The only limitation to this site is that it does not allow any women into the country as the men hold their religious beliefs about the ‘holy mountain.’
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area
A World Heritage Site that is located 180 kilometers west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania (Nelson, 2012). Being inactive and intact over years, it is recognized to contain the world’s largest volcanic caldera. Fantastic wildlife is known to be present in this site and coexists with the semi-nomadic pastoralists (Maasai) performing traditional livestock grazing.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is unique in that Tanzania tourism is being utilized for economic development. It has also contributed to the growth of the tourism industry as Tanzania records an annual growth rate of 5% of the nation’s economy as a result of wildlife growth (Dobson, 2010, p.272). This revenue has greatly contributed to the economic benefit in the local market and bolstered income sources.
- Aldabra Atoll
This World Heritage Site is known to be the second largest toll in the world and is located in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles. It contains the most important habitats that are set aside for evolutionary and ecological processes (International Business Publications, USA, 2012). Being on the World Heritage list, it is known to contain the largest giant tortoise population in the world. The richness and diversity of the ocean have prompted most tourists to see the amazing array of colors and formations that make the atoll features appealing (ŠÚR, Bunbury and Van De Crommenacker, 2013, p.216).
- Mammoth Cave National Park
This World Heritage Site contains the most extensive system of a cave in the world and is geographically located in Kentucky. It is known to have the greatest and unique variety of sulfate minerals (White and White, 2013). This national park tourism has been a great facilitator in the national economy as tourists are heavily received across the country and around the world annually. Most visitors are overwhelmed by the beauty of the natural features of the cave which most importantly are only found there in the world.
Working cooperatively with the tourism partners, the management ensures the visitors experience a warm welcome as well as a series of fun activities to create an awesome tour experience. As a result, this has greatly boosted the tourists turn up in the country and hence the nation’s economy in the market. It is noted that this World Heritage Site creates $40.4 million in economic benefit (Runte, 2011).
The World Heritage Sites are significant places in most countries on the planet. UNESCO highly values these sites by listing the outstanding sites in all countries in the world as a way to capture interests of potential tourists to different nations. The World Heritage Site designation requires the country to maintain the outstanding value of the sites to have numerous tourists flowing in the country. Without doing so, tourism would not be effective to these nations.
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