Welcome to World Heritage Catalysis

- a commons oriented & transformative community of practice

“Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed”

- preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO adopted 1945

Let us gather around our wonderful and shared natural and cultural heritage to build and defend a Culture of peace as a set of values, attitudes, modes of behaviours and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups and nations (United Nations General Assembly 1999)

 Our shared heritage

World Heritage, natural and cultural heritage recognised through the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (1972) for their 'Outstanding Universal Value' to humanity, embodies the wonders of nature and the creativeness of humankind. These precious sites and popular visitor attractions, bring us together in awe of the past, appreciation of presence, and hope for the future.

Travel & tourism

Travel and tourism has developed into a flourishing global growth industry benefiting individuals, communities and heritage protection around the World. But continued growth can also eventually lead to too many visitors harming the heritage sites, deteriorating the visitor experience, overwhelming the host communities, and exhausting limited resources. Before 2020, when most projections suggested continued growth in global tourism, few could have anticipated the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic exposing the vulnerability of tourism dependent communities. 

Need for a new & transformative approach

As many see the end of pandemic restrictions, there is an eagerness for tourism to recover. While culture and nature will continue to attract visitors and enable growth in existing and new tourism destinations, the effects of climate change, loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity and increasing social unrest are dark clouds on our horizon and already significant. Living on a planet of finite resources our future depends on our individual and collective abilities and efforts to cope with disruptions, adapt to changes, and transform away from unsustainable practices. 


In the future, thriving communities are adaptive and peacefully living within planetary and local boundaries. Long term sustainable wellbeing is prioritised over short term profit and exploitative growth.  

Tourism as a transformational pathway

Tourism as a transformational pathway needs to decouple the host-visitor relationship from the exploitative and extractive economy and instead support non-exploitative reciprocal exchanges. In the future, tourism can be generative by creating new products and services that contribute to the wellbeing and sustainability of the local community, or restorative by helping to maintain and strengthen ecosystems. Tourism products and services in a circular economy involving both resource and financial circularity, could contribute to a regenerative development paradigm.

Commons & commoning in transformative tourism 

Transformative change requires more than simple scaling-up of sustainability initiatives. It requires systems change through a people-centred and inclusive approach, where each and one us re-establish our relationship with nature and culture as vulnerable premises for life. To realise the transformative potential of World Heritage we believe they must be recognised and managed as commons - natural and cultural heritage belonging to humanity and cared for through community. As 'peace tables' they offer unique platforms to engage a diversity of stakeholders and specifically civil society in the practice of commoning involving a) on-going cooperation and capacity development, b) participatory problem-solving and governance, c) integrated and innovative management shaping possible and desired futures.

World Heritage Catalysis

World Heritage Catalysis supports an emerging commons oriented community of practice applying strategic and innovative approaches in tourism destination and visitor management aiming to protect natural and cultural heritage while building adaptive, resilient, and peaceful communities.

Our mission is to realise the transformative potential of World Heritage through strategic visitor management (framed by VMAST), foresight (shaped through WHTF), circular economics (supported by WHETS) and collaborative governance (enabled by WHAO).

UNESCOs Visitor Management Assessment & Strategy Tool

Helping site management authorities assess and improve visitor management for heritage protection and localisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

> Improving practice 

World Heritage Tourism Futures


Bringing stakeholders together to anticipate and co-create different futures.



> Improving foresight 


Join the collaborative community of practice.

Everyone are welcome!

We believe everyone has the potential to be a change agent - a 'catalyst'. To join please identify the stakeholder group you feel most associated with and sign up with one of the plans. The Community plan is free allowing everyone the opportunity to take part. The Club and Catalyst plans are more specific and allows for a more active engagement. As this is an emerging community and a continuous work in progress, please let us know if you have suggestions on how the plans and content can be improved to better serve your needs and speak to your interests.


Catalyst sites & collaboratories

Catalyst sites and collaboratories invites a broader stakeholder involvement in the stewardship of World Heritage. Check if "your" site or community are among the catalysts.

Catalyst sites & collaboratories
THE HUB - resources
THE CLUB - community