What Travel Agents Need to Know about UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Written by: Sydney M on June 11, 2020

Grand Canyon Long
2
Shares
Share on Pinterest

Travelers often ask their travel agents about vacations and trips that include famous locations around the world. Many of these sites, like the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu, and the Acropolis of Athens are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. But what exactly does that mean and why are so many famous locations given this distinction?

What is UNESCO?

Taj Mahal

UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. This organization was founded in 1945 in Paris, France after bringing together 44 nations to discuss peace and global connection following World War II. The goal of the organization is to connect people around the globe through education, scientific pursuits, and cultural recognition.

What are World Heritage Sites?

To work toward the organization’s mission of cultural recognition and connection, UNESCO designates certain sites across the globe as World Heritage sites. As of 2020, there are 1,121 World Heritage Sites on UNESCO’s list. UNESCO protects these sites and recognizes them for the value they have to humanity.

Stonehenge 1

First, a site must meet one of the cultural or natural criteria. Then, one of the committee members nominates the site. The committee votes to accept or deny nominated sites at their annual committee meeting. Though this process sounds simple, it can take years and many nominations for a site to make the list.

What should I tell my clients about UNESCO sites?

For some travelers, taking a vacation is all about engaging with and exploring the world. These adventure seekers are searching for experiences that give them new perspectives and leave them with lasting memories. If your clients are nature lovers, history buffs, or someone looking to cross a bucket list experience off their list, there are sure to be some sites that they will want to add to their itineraries.

Galapagos Islands

After qualifying your client and learning more about their hopes for their trip, take a moment to see if there are any World Heritage Sites near their destinations or ports of call. With sites in 167 countries around the world, there’s a good chance there will be one nearby. You can find an easy-to-use list and map of sites on UNESCO’s website.

If you find a site, but your clients haven’t directly mentioned their interest in it, consider sharing it. This could be a great option for a shore excursion, day tour as part of their itinerary, or a destination in itself if you think it fits with their vacation goals.


Would you love to help people experience these cultural and natural wonders around the world? KHM Travel Group is a leading host travel agency. We are help people start and grow their own travel businesses. For more information, fill out the form to the left or give our team a call at 1-888-611-1220.