Part of Something Really Special: Connecting the World Through Heritage Tourism

Conference, Conference Saltaire October 2015, Events, News

Prof. Mike Robinson

That’s the title of Mike’s presentation to the audience at the inaugural conference of World Heritage UK to be held at the Saltaire World Heritage Site 14th and 15th October this year – have you reserved your place yet? Tickets

Professor Robinson holds the Chair of Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham, UK and is Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change and of the Tourism and Cultural Change Book Series.

For over 25 years Mike’s work has focused upon the relations between heritage, culture and tourism. He has published 18 books along with numerous articles and chapters on the various ways in which these realms collide. Mike wrote the UNESCO Report on Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development and contributed to the World Report on Cultural Diversity. He is a founding member of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Tourism, Culture and Development, a former member of the Culture Committee of the UK National Commission for UNESCO and was a Government appointed member of the UK’s Expert Panel to determine the UK’s Tentative List for World Heritage in 2010-2011. He contributed to the UNESCO Expert Panel for the Programme in World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism. Mike works with UNESCO offices in China and South East Asia. He works with the Council of Europe and various EU wide agencies and has held Visiting Professorships in the USA, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan and has undertaken work on heritage and tourism in a further 30 countries. He is a Trustee of Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.



As you may have seen in the media the RSA is “collaborating with the Heritage Lottery Fund to better understand the links between heritage and identity at the local scale.

They have analysed “over 100 datasets to produce a Heritage Index to help people understand local heritage assets and activities, and access relevant data through a single site. Data ranges from the length of canals and size of protected wildlife sites, through to the number of historic local businesses and the proportion of residents visiting museums and archives.”

RSA say that “the Index is designed to simulate debate about what is valued from the past, and how that influences the identity of its current residents. This can help a place achieve its aspirations to grow and prosper, socially and economically.”

You can click on their interactive maps and download the data from this website, and have a look to see whether your local World Heritage Site, or World Heritage Sites per-se are making a difference.


Britain's heritagePhoto taken from RSA Website – all copyright RSA

World Heritage Tourism: Unlocking the Potential. Programme update

Conference, Conference Saltaire October 2015, News

Spaces at the inaugural World Heritage UK Conference, to be held at Saltaire on October 14th 15th 2015, are filling up fast.

The revised programme is available here, and it is fantastic to see the variety of speakers presenting, including from Government, UNESCO, the World Heritage association of France, Ironbridge Institute, a number of our World Heritage Sites, and from all the Home Nations.   We also have an evening Lord Mayor’s reception followed by curry on the 14th and a choice of excellent tours to round off the main business on the 15th.

If you are intending to come, or know someone who is, please do go to the event booking page at

If you have any questions at all about the conference, or membership, please contact Chris on

Charitable Status approved: World Heritage UK Aims to Wake the Sleeping Giants


I am delighted to be able to announce that as of September 1st 2015, World Heritage UK has been granted Charitable status. This is great news and puts the organisation on a firm footing to start to make a real difference for our existing and Tentative List World Heritage Sites.

Below is the text of a press release sent out this afternoon – please do feel free to pass it on to your local media or other interested parties.

Many thanks for your patience, your involvement and your interest and I hope to see many of you at the conference in Saltaire.

Best Wishes

Sam Rose
Chair of Trustees



World Heritage UK Aims to Wake the Sleeping Giants

A new conservation and heritage charity, World Heritage UK, has just been created to help care for the UK’s 29 fantastic and unique World Heritage Sites; recognised by the United Nations as being of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’.

World Heritage UK has been set up by the UK’s World Heritage Sites themselves and will represent the interests of existing Sites and those on the Government’s ‘Tentative List’ for possible future World Heritage status. The new charity has three strategic aims based around:

  • networking – encouraging the sites to learn from each other;
  • advocacy – making the case for World Heritage Sites as a key resource in local and national policy, and;
  • promotion – raising the World Heritage Sites profile through education, interpretation and marketing

The charity aims to be the main voice for World Heritage in the UK and will be the only organisation that is exclusively focused on World Heritage issues. It will build partnerships and relationships across the sector, and with partners, such as national and home nation governments, UNESCO in the UK, Local Authorities and the National Trust, and it will disseminate information regarding the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention and related issues. Private organisations and individuals will also be encouraged to become members and get involved with their World Heritage Sites locally and nationally.

Dr Sam Rose, Chair of the new board of trustees said: “The UK’s World Heritage Sites are a fantastic national resource for education, tourism and for our international image. They include some of our greatest cultural and natural assets such as Stonehenge, The Giant’s Causeway, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and the Castles of North Wales. They are also great fun to visit! Other countries make far more of their World Heritage Sites and the UNESCO World Heritage ‘kite-mark’ as positive tools for conservation and regeneration – we are keen to take a leaf from their book”.

Sir Neil Cossons, a former Chairman of English Heritage and Director of the Science Museum, said:

‘”hope that World Heritage UK will help to galvanise practical action and support for World Heritage Sites in the UK, and raise their mysteriously low profile. Collectively they are the sleeping giants of heritage”

Professor Ian Wray, a new trustee said: “Almost by definition many of the UK’s greatest cultural and collective assets are found in World Heritage Sites. They are a link with our past and our future. At a time when some political developments are changing the UK’s national identity, a strong focus on our common World Heritage can help bring us together”.

Inaugural conference: World Heritage Tourism – unlocking the potential

The new charity will host an annual conference at one of the UK’s World Heritage Sites. The inaugural conference is this year at the Saltaire World Heritage Site in Bradford, October 14th and 15th, showcasing Titus Salt’s Mill and model village. The theme is “World Heritage Tourism – unlocking the potential”, and it features presentations from a fantastic range of speakers including Peter DeBrine from UNESCO, James Berresford CEO of Visit England, and pending confirmation, Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Tourism and Heritage. There are still a few places available, so for information please go to

Notes for editors

1. Full details about the World Heritage UK are available at

2. There are 29 World Heritage Sites in the UK, including sites of world significance for history, culture, architecture, economic development and the natural environment. The UKs first sites were designated in 1986. The full list of sites is available at

3. World Heritage UK is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, no 1163364 and has evolved out of LAWHF – the Local Authority World Heritage Forum.

4. Contact World Heritage UK in the first instance though its Development Director, Chris Mahon on or its Chair, Sam Rose on

5. The Saltaire conference is gratefully receiving some support from Historic England.

Jurassic Coast ‘relief’ at Navitus Bay wind park decision


The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Partnership has expressed relief at the decision not to grant permission to the proposed Navitus Bay Wind Park.

UNESCO’s advisory body IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) made it very clear that it objected to the proposed development in terms of the impact it would have  on the natural setting of the Jurassic Coast and the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The Partnership agreed with this view in setting out its case to the Planning Inspectorate, and is pleased to see that the Secretary of State concurs, stating that the proposals would “adversely affect the use and enjoyment of that Site” and “does not consider the adverse impacts … are acceptable”.

Doug Hulyer, Chair of the Jurassic Coast Partnership Steering Group agreed: “The Planning Inspectorate has made the right decision. This is a welcome result, but we must remain vigilant to similar threats in the future to this wonderful world-class coastline.”

James Weld, Chair of the Jurassic Coast Trust, the World Heritage Site’s education and conservation charity, said: “With this decision, we are pleased that the UK Government, as State Party to the World Heritage Convention, have made a decision that respects the Outstanding Universal Value of the Jurassic Coast, on behalf of the global community.”

For all Navitus Bay related press enquiries, go to

Make Heritage Fun!

News, Opportunities

piazza del popolo

‘Make Heritage Fun!’ is a distributed social media campaign started by GoUNESCO with the simple goal of getting groups of heritage enthusiasts to get together, explore heritage and share their experiences online.

Why do we need ‘Make Heritage Fun’?

While everyone loves their heritage, there is a need for newer methods of engagement to be built for younger audiences. These methods need to use the tools that the audiences are most comfortable and familiar with. Online social networks are almost a second home for youngsters these days but at the same time, they value the importance of offline interactions. The Make Heritage Fun campaign is a youth engagement tool that is built on these premises.

Through events coordinated locally by volunteers and organizations across the world, and by using a common hashtag ‘#MakeHeritageFun’ everywhere, this campaign aims to become a point of engagement for laypersons – both online and offline. The events themselves can be as simple as two people exploring a heritage site together and sharing photographs on social media. They can also be much more complex, such as a treasure hunt spread across a big area, organized with the support of tens of volunteers.

How does the campaign work?

  1. A date is picked for the campaign.
  2. Local coordinators are identified; these coordinators can be individuals or organizations.
  3. GoUNESCO connects coordinators with other volunteers who want to help coordinate and with folks who want to participate. These might include past and current GoUNESCO Student Ambassadors as well.
  4. Coordinators pick a venue, plan an activity (ex – heritage walk, treasure hunt, etc) and communicate this to GoUNESCO.
  5. GoUNESCO creates Facebook events for each city/venue and helps promote the event through social media and its partner network. GoUNESCO also shares promotional material including collateral to share on social media and at the event.
  6. Coordinators promote the event through their networks and think of ways to promote locally as well.
  7. Coordinators meet up, visit the identified venue and create a detailed plan of execution for the activity.
  8. On the day of the event, Coordinators reach venue early, engage with the other participants, explain the idea behind the event, encourage participants to share experiences online with the hashtag and execute the planned activity.
  9. After the event, Coordinators write a brief report on their experience and about the event.
  10. GoUNESCO publishes reports from different cities and distributes to all coordinators so ideas, experience, learning can be shared.

An important aspect of these events is the strong offline-online connect. The internet and social media is used heavily to plan and promote the events. The hashtag ‘#MakeHeritageFun’ unifies all the experiences, amplifies them and provides participants a connect with their global counterparts. At the same time, the offline interactions at the events help connect them with heritage enthusiasts near them.

The second key aspect of these events is their independent nature. By encouraging local coordinators to choose an activity they want to do, it is hoped that the events are easy to organize and at the same time not impeding creative ideas. Participating organizations can convert their existing activities into a Make Heritage Fun event too. We hope that this freedom will encourage more partners to embrace the idea of Making Heritage Fun. We support the coordinators by sharing suggestions, connecting them to other interested volunteers/participants, providing material for promotion and managing social media promotion.

What next?

The first Make Heritage Fun event was organized almost simultaneously in 11 cities in Asia and Europe on June 28, 2015 (full report here – link). In Delhi, participants created posters with funny one-liners to take photos with. In Italy, they dressed up in Regency era costumes and explored a heritage site. Hundreds of photographs were shared on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

The next Make Heritage Fun event is planned for September 13 and this time we are coordinating the event in more countries with the help of even more partners. Do join in!

Please write to us at in case you would like to coordinate an event at your World Heritage Site.