Explore both fun and innovative World Heritage resources while also discovering organizations involved in the conservation and protection of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Centre
The World Heritage Centre is the coordinator within UNESCO for matters related to World Heritage. The website provides the list and significance for the 800+ natural, cultural, and mixed World Heritage sites.

Google Earth- World Heritage Sites
Use Google Earth to “fly” over the world and learn about World Heritage sites along your way. Just download Google Earth, and under “Layers” select UNESCO World Heritage Sites within “Community Showcase.”
[Google Earth required]


Sacred Sites
Admire the beauty and serenity of Martin Gray’s collection of photographs of many of the world’s most renowned World Heritage sites.

World Heritage Tour
Explore World Heritage sites in 360 degree panography imaging.

There are three Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee. Read how each aids in World Heritage protection.

The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
ICCROM provides expert advice on the conservation of enlisted properties and trains in restoration techniques.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
ICOMOS provides evaluations of cultural and mixed world heritage properties.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
IUCN provides a network of specialists and reports on the conservation of natural world heritage properties.

World Heritage sites are located in more than 130 countries. Below are just a few of the resources to explore the World Heritage of different nations.

Canada’s World Heritage Sites
There are 8 natural and 5 cultural World Heritage sites in Canada, including the Historic District of Quebec, a nearly 400 year old walled city on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

Mexico’s World Heritage Sites
Mexico has 27 World Heritage sites, ranging from the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino to the Ancient Mayan City of Calakmul.

U.S. World Heritage Sites
The United States was the first signatory of the World Heritage Convention. Currently there are 20 World Heritage sites in the U.S.

Many NGOs support World Heritage site conservation and sustainable tourism development, but sometimes it is difficult to determine where to begin your journey of knowledge. Below you will find organizations that offer valuable resources and information.

Conservation International
Read about how tourism affects biodiversity and found out ways Conservation International assists local communities develop sustainable tourism.

Earthwatch Institute
Earthwatch supports scientific field research to promote environmental sustainability.

National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations
National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations provides resources and tools for communities, travel professionals, and travelers looking to build the geotourism experience. Of particular interest, explore National Geographic’s Geotourism Charter, the Geotourism: A New Trend in Travel survey, and the Destination Scorecards that rate the sustainability of travel destinations around the globe.

Great resource for ecotourists, developers, and policy makers that want to learn more and stay updated in the sustainable tourism industry.

Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance offers an eco-index on sustainable tourism businesses and certification systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.

RARE Conservation
RARE offers an ecotourism manual for conservation managers, an interactive ecotourism map and resource center to promote ecotourism as an incentive for nature conservation.

Responsible Travel
Provides travel tips and information to help tourists respectfully experience the local culture, community and environment.

Sustainable Travel International
Sign up to receive STI’s monthly e-newsletter with informative industry updates. Also, learn about STI’s tourism initiatives like tourism certification and carbon-offset programs.

The International Ecotourism Society
TIES is the oldest ecotourism organization in the U.S. and provides educational materials to inform travelers, tourism professionals, influence policy. TIES also provides technical resources and statistics to build business support for ecotourism.

The Nature Conservancy
TNC promotes the preservation of diversity of life on earth through community based initiatives, including ecotourism.

Tourism Cares for Tomorrow
Promotes the conservation of our world’s natural, cultural, and historic treasures through grants, education, administering sustainable tourism awards, and other initiatives.

Wildlife Conservation Society
WCS devises initiatives to positively influence individual attitudes toward nature and sustainable interaction of humans and wildlife through awareness and education.

World Monument Fund
WMF works to protect the endangered monuments that are part of the world’s built cultural heritage.

Travel decisions can promote the conservation of World Heritage sites and sustainable tourism. The resources below will help you get the
most of your travel experiences as well as positively influence the destinations you visit.

Responsible Travel Handbook 2006
This handbook is a comprehensive resource for both travelers and travel providers alike. The world’s leading responsible travel organizations offer guidance and instructions on how to research, select, and help create a valuable sustainable travel experience. Information includes definitions, travel tips, articles, case studies, research, and more.

WTO’s The Responsible Tourist and Traveller
The World Tourism Organization offers tips for enriching your travels based on the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.

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The UN Foundation is a public charity created in 1998 with philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic gift of $1 billion to support UN causes. It is the world’s largest private supporter of World Heritage. Since 1999, the UN Foundation has contributed more than $40 million, and catalyzed an additional $150 million, in support of World Heritage conservation and sustainable development in the developing world.

World Heritage Centre at UNESCO

For more than 30 years, UNESCO and its partners have worked through the World Heritage Centre to identify, assess and protect places of outstanding universal value. To date, 184 countries have adhered to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, making it one of the most universal international legal instruments for the protection of cultural and natural heritage. Whilst fully respecting the national sovereignty, the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention recognize that the protection of our World Heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole. There are currently 851 properties including 660 cultural, 166 natural and 25 mixed properties in 184 countries.

© Friends of World Heritage