Every World Heritage site you visit will have general rules for your behaviour whilst visiting the site, but what is culturally appropriate and what is not?
Behaving appropriately at any World Heritage site all boils down to respect. Respect of the place and respect of the peoples. High levels of visitation, recreational activities, illegal activities and deliberate destruction of heritage are some of the primary threats to the conservation of heritage sites.
Appreciate the Site
Be wary of destruction, deliberate or not. If you can touch, make sure your hands are clean. If you are taking photos of art or other delicate artefacts, make sure you have your flash off. Do not under any circumstances graffiti or vandalise the site. Throw your rubbish and other waste in the bin, and use the facilities provided. Make sure you are aware of the rules about standing or sitting on culturally, naturally or archaeologically significant artefacts and monuments.
Regard the Law
You must regard the law relating to cultural heritage sites. This includes no poaching, hunting or other extraction of biological resources; no blast or cyanide fishing; no extraction of geological resources including mining of fossils; no looting or stealing; no treasure hunting and excavation of sites without permission; and no camping, occupying or building at these sites without permission. Any of these acts can result in criminal charges.
Regard the Rules
The first thing you need to remember is follow the rules and regulations for each site. All World Heritage sites have their own website and if in doubt – check the UNESCO website. These rules are in place to protect and preserve the sites. They are also there to help you show respect to the cultural values the traditional people have a that site.
The most important thing you should remember when visiting World Heritage sites is to learn, explore and enjoy yourself.