World Heritage Alliance In Spotlight

Forces join to promote 25 sites

By: Dawna L. Robertson

There’s more good news from Tourism Tianguis 2006. Mexico Tourism Secretary Rodolfo Elizondo and Mexico Tourism Board CEO Magdalena Carral have signed a letter of intent with the representatives of the World Heritage Alliance to jointly promote and preserve Mexico’s 25 World Heritage sites.

The country’s governmental tourism entities have joined the founding members of the World Heritage Alliance, Expedia, Inc. and the United Nations Foundation to educate travelers and the travel industry about the importance of responsible tourism and World Heritage conservation.

It also encourages community-based sustainable tourism development in and around World Heritage sites, and promotes these sites globally.

According to Elizando, the country has long recognized the importance of preserving and promoting its valuable historic, environmental and cultural treasures. “Mexico has invested resources to conserve its World Heritage sites, create tourism services and generate more jobs for local communities,” he remarked. “This alliance is an important step in continuing our efforts to ensure that the world’s future generations can also enjoy Mexico’s World Heritage sites.”

The World Heritage Alliance will implement three main strategies to achieve its goal. As part of the agreement, World Heritage Alliance workers will train Expedia staff and travel partners in Mexico to help promote World Heritage and responsible tourism to travelers.

World Heritage Alliance staff will also work closely with local tourism businesses around Sian Ka’an to provide tools and resources to help them better prepare for increased tourism. The knowledge-sharing program between Expedia, Inc. and Sian Ka’an also includes sustainable tour opportunities provided by Community Tours Sian Ka’an, a local Mayan-owned sustainable tourism cooperative. is launching a new World Heritage vacation package to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve on the Yucatan Peninsula’s eastern coast. As with’s other World Heritage trips, profits from the Mexico destinations will be donated to the Friends of World Heritage Fund at the United Nations Foundation.

Mexico is ranked first in the Americas and eighth worldwide in UNESCO sites, a distinction given to places of historical, cultural and natural relevance to the world. The country’s islands and protected areas in the Gulf of Baja California are the most recent addition to the country’s impressive list.