World heritage and tourism in a changing climate

World heritage and tourism in a changing climate

There are more than 1000 World Heritage properties in 163 countries and a great many of them are important tourist destinations. At its best, tourism drives economic development and brings needed financial and social benefits, but, as this report demonstrates, rapid or unplanned tourism developments, or excessive visitor numbers, can also have a negative effect on the properties. Climate change is likely to exacerbate existing stresses and bring direct impacts of its own. Sea-level rise, higher temperatures, habitat shifts and more frequent extreme weather events such as storms, floods and droughts, all have the potential to rapidly and permanently change or degrade the very attributes that make World Heritage sites such popular tourist destinations.
 
This report and its case studies demonstrate the urgent need to better understand, monitor and address climate change threats to World Heritage sites.
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