BEIJING, March 28 -- China's Mount Huangshan World Heritage Site becomes the focus of an international study on sustainable tourism development. The UN World Tourism Organization set up an observation post at the site in east China's Anhui Province on Wednesday. It is the first of its kind at a Chinese World Heritage Site.
UNESCO's World Heritage List cites 851 locales. These sites are considered precious to Humanity and are in need of protection. At the same time the sites offer immense potential for tourism. The objective must be to balance the two interests, which often appear in competition. The UN World Tourism Organization started to build observation stations in 2005 to study the means of protecting the heritage sites while creating a sustainable basis for tourism.
Anhui Province's Huangshan city, where Mount Huangshan is located, is the home of the world's first heritage site in both the culture and nature categories. Protection measures set in place there have become the model for the other heritage sites in China. And they are also being copied around the world.
An International Conference on Sustainable Tourism Management at Heritage Sites, has just wrapped up at Huangshan city. The conference, sponsored by UNESCO and the UN World Tourism Organization, concluded with the "Huangshan Declaration" - a call for worldwide concern over the challenge to preserve the past, while creating opportunities for tourism.
China entered the top four countries among tourist destinations last year. 2007 saw over 50 million visitors come to China. It's estimated that by 2015, that number will nearly double, to 100 million. How to balance the preservation and development? The establishment of the observatory provides a useful and instructive means of finding out.