Welcome to an emerging community of practice & work in progress.

Transformative tourism & visitor management

 The following sets out an integrated, participatory & adaptive approach to transformative tourism and visitor management for heritage protection and community resilience. 

The Theory of change rests upon three independent but interconnected pillars:


There could and should be many ways to start testing and applying the VMAST, WHETS & WHAO tools and frameworks. The following is a suggested approach that could be taken by site management authorities. Other stakeholders, for instance local trade chambers would probably make WHETS their starting point. What is important is that the transformative potential will increase through collaboration among a diverse set of stakeholders. The approach will be continuously adapted upon what we learn and action research. 
1. Sign up with a VMAST account

Sign up with a VMAST account either provided through the UNESCO World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme, or through World Heritage Catalysis.

VMAST hosting plans
2. Join the community of practice 

Join the emerging community of practice supported by World Heritage Catalysis and get access to the community platform where you can engage with other VMAST users and experts across strategic objectives. 

Here you can for example access VMAST Q&A group, attend VMAST Circles and create Site Labs as a dedicated space to collaborate around strategy development and implementation.

Join the VMAST community of practice
3. Establish management baseline / assess progress

Make use of the UNESCO Visitor Management Assessment & Strategy Tool (VMAST) to establish a visitor management baseline. This will generate insight into how site management is achieving against sustainability indicators, and what could be done through ongoing management activities to protect heritage values while localising the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

VMAST login
4. Involve key stakeholders

Identify and involve key parters and stakeholders in the effort to apply VMAST in strategy formulation and implementation. Collaborating around goals and objectives set out through VMAST will ensure the consideration of World Heritage in efforts to support responsible tourism development and integrated visitor management. 

Populate the community of practice
5. Collaborate to identify & prioritise strategic objectives

Involve the identified stakeholders in a collective and anticipatory effort concerning the future of their community informing goals and priorities for the tourism and visitor management strategy. Make use of the resources and tools provided through World Heritage Catalysis including the VMAST Canvas (PEEST framework, stakeholder mapping, SWOT analysis, a.o.). 

VMAST resources
6. Co-create SMART & distributed strategies

VMAST allows for a broader spectre of stakeholders to contribute to the stewardship of World Heritage outside of the site management organisation.

Upon the identified goals and priorities, make use of VMAST to develop SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time related) strategy components and action plans. VMAST generated strategies could potentially be formulated as solutions to be presented in the IUCN Panorama platform.

7. Support participatory strategy development and decentralised implementation

Strategy implementation should not only rest upon a few, but be a collaborative effort involving a broad set of community stakeholders. VMAST include a number of indicators pointing out opportunities for collaboration, problem solving and innovation.

The WHAO (World Heritage Autonomous Organisations) set out a framework to explore how web-3 technology and a DAO could be adapted to your cause and support participatory and/or polycentric governance.

8. Strengthen local business holders ability to provide for community members and visitors

The World Heritage Exchange Trading Systems (WHETS) is a portfolio of technologies supporting exchange, trade and collaboration among World Heritage stakeholders. 

9. Transform through adaptive management

Best practice is not a status. It is an aspiration and ongoing commitment to improve practice. As VMAST focus on strengths, opportunities and achieved progress, there will always be something to celebrate as well as to improve.

Strategies and action plans should be maintained and if necessary revised as part of adaptive management. It is therefore recommended that site management authorities make use of VMAST on a regular basis, and ideally once a year.

Where significant progress has been made in the achievement towards management objectives this could be considered submitted as a solution in the IUCN Panorama platform.