The UNESCO World Heritage program aims to protect cultural and natural sites considered important to the common heritage of humanity. However, many of these sites are now threatened by excessive tourism, according to Christina Cameron, professor at the Université de Montréal School of Architecture and holder of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage.
A case in point is Machu Picchu in Peru. “This site should receive no more than 2,000 visitors per day, but it currently welcomes twice as many,” says Cameron, who sounded the alarm while speaking as a panelist at a celebration commemorating 25 years of Old Québec being such a site.
“The UNESCO World Heritage convention was established in a spirit of solidarity and international cooperation in order to share best practices for conservation,” says Cameron. “It was the post-war era and people were seeking for a way to bring together members of the international community. Tourism was never an objective of the convention. In fact, these sites were meant to be protected from it.” (more…)