At present, there are myriad concerns about tourism and sustainability at cultural and natural world heritage sites. Based on an analysis of 811 evaluations written between 1980 and 2010 by two official advisory bodies to the World Heritage Committee, this paper charts the timing and extent to which such concerns have become central to assessing the value of heritage sites. We find that, over time, issues related to tourism and sustainability expanded considerably in quantity and variety, and recommendations for managing and developing sustainable tourism became a routine feature of site evaluations. Despite the growing prevalence of such concerns, the conceptualization of sustainable tourism and related recommendations provided by the advisory experts remain somewhat ambiguous. Furthermore, our findings reveal regional disparities in the degree to which tourism is seen as a threat to the sustainability of heritage sites and in the likelihood that a state is considered a model of sustainable tourism.
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