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Optimizing UNESCO Heritage Listed Titles for National Sustainable Tourism Development

Optimizing UNESCO Heritage Listed Titles for National Sustainable Tourism Development

The Lux Cruises Group ( aims to leverage cultural heritage cruising by drawing inspiration from historical figures like Bach Thai Buoi (1874-1932) to develop a fleet of 30 cruise ships and yachts along the coastline of Vietnam.

With 65 UNESCO titles spanning all 63 cities and provinces, Vietnam plays a crucial role in enriching, protecting, and promoting humanity’s cultural treasures. This global recognition helps international communities better understand the country, its people, traditions, and history.

Hội An City, recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1999, exemplifies Vietnam’s commitment to heritage preservation. Owning many tangible and intangible UNESCO-recognized heritage sites, Vietnam is focused on optimizing the value of these titles for stronger socio-economic development.

Vietnam’s UNESCO titles encompass world heritage sites, world biosphere reserves, world documentary heritages, global geoparks, and intangible cultural heritages, with the world heritage title being the most prestigious and oldest.

Destinations with UNESCO titles have become popular tourist attractions, helping to establish a trademark for the hosting locality, contribute to expanding livelihoods for local communities, and promote the country’s sustainable growth.

For example, the Tràng An Landscape Complex received only 1 million visitors annually until 2012. However, five years after being recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Culture Heritage Site, it attracted 6.3 million visitors in 2019.

In 2019, Vietnam’s World Cultural Heritage Sites alone welcomed 21.3 million visitors, including 10.6 million foreigners, generating direct ticket sales revenue of VNĐ3.12 trillion (approximately USD 123.17 million).

Optimizing cultural heritage resources involves developing infrastructure, services, expanding exchanges, and increasing flows of goods and labor, creating inclusive and harmonious development.

Vietnam is considered a model of harmony in preserving and promoting heritage values in association with sustainable tourism development and expanding livelihoods.


Phạm Quang Ngọc, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ninh Bình, stated that the province has leveraged its system of cultural and natural heritages and UNESCO titles as a foundation for sustainable development. Ninh Bình has adopted an economic structure model suited to a “heritage city”, focusing on eliminating industrialization that could harm cultural heritage and conflict with environmental protection.

To further promote the role of UNESCO titles in sustainable development and enhance Vietnam’s position on the world stage, experts suggest linking preservation efforts with the overall socio-economic development policy. Vietnam is one of the 11 countries selected by UNESCO to pilot the development of cultural indicators tied to the implementation of sustainable development goals based on 22 criteria.

At the local level, incorporating these efforts into tourism development strategies and investment cooperation is essential, experts believe.

Additionally, there is a need to enhance public-private partnerships and strengthen communications efforts to promote UNESCO-recognized sites, particularly through social networks and digital technology.

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