The new ICOMOS International Charter for Cultural Heritage Tourism supports a more responsible and sustainable tourism management

ICOMOS is very pleased with the adoption of the newly updated ICOMOS International Cultural Heritage Tourism Charter, which was approved at its last General Assembly in October 2022 in Bangkok (Thailand), after intensive work from the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC).


The ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter was approved by the ICOMOS General Assembly in Mexico in October 1999, to replace the 1976 ICOMOS Cultural Tourism Charter. The Charter was prepared by the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee, that has again worked intensively to update it to keep up with present standards, good practices and principles when approaching the relationship between tourism and places or collections of heritage significance.


Since its last iteration in 1999, a number of significant developments have occurred, notably with the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals and the designation in 2017 by the United Nations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.


The climate emergency, the exponential growth of tourism and of visitors to cultural sites and its several degrees of impacts in the last twenty years are addressed in the document. These subjects are dealt from the perspective of right-based and people-centered approaches to cultural heritage and its enjoyment. The heritage commons perspective and their participatory governance encourage a new vision of cultural heritage tourism aimed to avoid its perpetual commercial exploitation and to encourage the fair and inclusive distribution of its positive effects.


Within the framework of the international conservation framework established by ICOMOS, the Charter addresses the primary relationships between the cultural identity and cultural heritage of the host community and the interests, expectations and behavior of visitors, both domestic and international. It promotes the engagement of the host community, including indigenous and traditional custodians in all aspects of planning and managing for tourism, particularly at heritage sites, within cultural landscapes and in historic towns.


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