What impact does world heritage status have on tourism?
Unesco has added several European regions and places to its World Heritage List, including Romania's Roșia Montana area and a beech forest in the Czech Jizera Mountains. Commentators discuss whether this will encourage tourism and whether that is at all desirable.
Nothing to offer but the title
Even if the Romans panned for gold in Roşia Montana in Romania in the distant past, the UNESCO title will hardly lure many holidaymakers to this underdeveloped region, scoffs Ion Cristoiu in the Mediafax blog:
“The head of the [governing party] USR PLUS, Dan Barna, who suffers from acute talkativeness, is telling stories about how the area will now develop into a paradise for the tourism industry. Seriously? There are other Roman monuments in Romania too, not just the gold mines. Are the foreign tourists excited about them? No. Who on earth wants to travel to a region in Romania with no infrastructure where there is nothing worth seeing but the girls?”
No tourist hordes in the beech forest, please
If the award for the forest in the Izera Mountains were to attract mass tourism, that could be a disservice to nature, warns Lidové noviny:
“The matter is clear for cities inscribed in the UNESCO list for being particularly valuable: the hope is that the listing will increase tourism. But tourism would completely undermine the purpose of the designation in the case of nature reserves such as the beech forest. People may be pleased with its inclusion as a natural heritage site. But at the same time one must hope that masses of tourists will not travel there. Sounds like squaring the circle.”