Asia-Pacific Focal Point

for World Heritage Managers

Implications of World Heritage Listing


Inscription of a property on the World Heritage List can produce many benefits for nations and, in particular, for local communities. In Australia, for instance, World Heritage properties are now clearly identifiable as part of their heritage, and have featured in promotions that have resulted in greatly increased tourist visitation from overseas and within Australia. In addition to possible increases in employment opportunities and income, local communities could also expect benefits from improved planning and management of the region. World Heritage listing also cultivates local and national pride in the property and develops feelings of national responsibility to protect the area.

Ownership and control

World Heritage listing does not affect ownership rights. Ownership remains as it was prior to nomination and relevant laws still apply. Nor does ownership of these World Heritage properties pass to any international body or foreign power. World Heritage properties can comprise a wide variety of land tenures.

Land uses

Governments have an international obligation to protect, conserve and present their World Heritage properties, but there is no impediment to existing land uses unless they threaten the outstanding universal natural and cultural values of the property. Experience in Australia's World Heritage properties, for example, shows that listing does not necessarily limit the range of activities that can be carried out on a property. For instance, grazing occurs in the Willandra Lakes Region, NSW, and Shark Bay, Western Australia, and there is recreational and commercial fishing in the Great Barrier Reef.


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