Actualizado: 17 sept 2019

The World Heritage properties are mostly included in the Cultural Tourism, and this becomes an important factor to help the conservation and management of cultural heritage properties, because is considered an economic activity that could enrich or harm the cultural heritage. So that, the tourism causes diverse impacts, positives and negatives, in three different areas: economic, socio-cultural and environmental.


Due to grow of the touristic activity around the world numerous studies are being conducted to study the negative and positive consequences that this activity generates in the different destinations, regions, places and countries where it develops. So, the objective of the governments, institutions, NGOs, international organizations is to reduce the negative impacts and to increase the positive aspects.

Cultural tourism management must be based in the principles of sustainable development that itself is based in four pillars: economic, environmental, social and cultural. For this reason, the impacts (positive and negative) above mentioned could be analyzed from three different points of view: economic, socio-cultural and environmental. In the following points the general impacts of tourism are divided into positive and negative.


  • Generating of cash-flow for all type of services.

  • Generating of incomes to the State and municipality for taxes.

  • Generating of private investments in hotels and business, creation of employments and improvement of living standards of the inhabitants of the cultural site.

  • Public investments to create activities, events to attract tourists and infrastructures to facilitate the travels as road, airports, train stations, etc..

  • Develop of small towns, cities and rural communities for the increasing of the tourism demand and for the creation of activities and business by the inhabitants.

  • Recovery of ancient crafts and traditions that could create interest for the tourists, such as handicrafts, rituals, dances, etc.


  • Inflation of the local economy in basic services and products for the daily life.

  • Outflow of profits if the investment companies are foreigner

  • Lower category jobs for the local people when the creation of business is of foreign investments that prefer international person to work with them.

  • In developing countries the public investment normally need aid and debt, given the lack of economic resources and the capacity building.

  • Increase of land prices, creating difficulties to buy houses and to create smalls businesses for the inhabitants of the city, causing depopulation and neglect of the historical cities.


  • Creations of employments in different sectors as culture, travel agencies, creation of activities and events, hospitality, gastronomy, shopping, etc.

  • The infrastructures built for tourism could be used by the local population, for example airport, theater, parks, concert halls and the beautification of the city.

  • Demand of skilled jobs to offer best services and to realize management projects in all sectors and this increase investment in education and training for local people.

  • Cultural exchange between visitors and local communities

  • Valorization of local culture

  • Investment in the conservation and protection of the touristic places.

  • Recovery of handicrafts and ancient traditions as dances, rituals, celebrations, etc.


  • Loss of interest and displacement of local culture and traditions. The local culture and traditions become a consumption object.

  • In some developing areas, discrimination in the employment due to the preference of foreign people for the education, training and languages levels, etc..

  • Over – exploitation of the cultural and natural resources

  • Important changes in the life of the local population. (ex. lack of basic services as markets, parking, etc, and displacements at moderns cities with cheaper services).

  • Growth of social problems such as traffic, violence, thefts, heath problems, sexual exploitation, etc.

  • Loss of cultural identity. The inhabitants lose their traditions.


  • Environmental awareness

  • Interest for natural areas and conservation of the places and sites

  • Minimization of pollution and street-cleaning

  • Creation and launch of conservation projects


  • Overcrowding of destination and place

  • Excessive landscape impact by building out of control

  • Generation of waste and pollution of air and water


After analyzing the negative and the positive impacts of Cultural Tourism upon World Heritage Properties, I would like to make some recommendations to achieve a type of cultural tourism where the stakeholder’s interests are respected and based in the principles of sustainable development.

  • Cultural Tourism should not limit to the historical buildings, it should include the intangible heritage and the new creative industries.

  • To encourage the communication between local government and the communities, and consequently, awareness of the needs and interests of the local community.

  • The collaboration between all stakeholders: governments, communities, owners, business, NGOs, etc.

  • Creation of campaigns to raise public awareness about the impacts of tourism in World Heritage properties and protected areas.

  • Creation of management plan where the conservation and preservation of the properties and the use of these are compatible.

  • Creation of creative policies that promote tourism and give life to the city, respecting the traditional celebrations and the cultural identity.

  • Determine the type of tourist at the side and his needs.

  • To encourage the creation of innovative business that offer services for all type of visitors based in the traditions and lifestyle of the community.

  • To facilitate the creation of business with economic aid and administrative


-UNESCO, 2015. World Heritage List (on-line) http://whc.unesco.org/en/list

-ICOMOS, 1993. Tourism and World Heritage Cultural Sites: The Site Manager’s Handbook. Madrid: World Tourism Organization.

-UNWTO, World Tourism Barometer, 2015 (on-line), http://mkt.unwto.org/es/barometer

-Robinson, M (1999) Is Cultural Tourism on the Right Track?. In UNESCO the Courier, July-Augusts.

#Turismo #PatrimoniodelaHumanidad #CulturalHeritage #Turism

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