Too Many World Heritage Sites?

New York Times runs an interesting story worth reading if you’ve ever visited such World Heritage sites as the Statue of Liberty, Angkor Wat, the Jiuzhaigou Valley or any of the other 800 plus cities and landmarks. At one time in 1978 there were only 12 sites listed and as the list continues to grow and grow folks are starting to wonder if the program’s meaning is beginning to get lost. Once making the World Heritage list several places are using the opportunity to increase tourism, which can often damage the cultural and natural sites of “outstanding universal value,” the list was designed to protect. A good handful of people are also starting to suspect the list is doing more harm than preservation. Enormous hotels soon get constructed, admission prices shoot up and a sea of camera toting and flash snapping tourists are certainly changing the look of the places, but what is one to do? Curiosity of the named sites would certainly drive me to visit places like the Takht-e Soleyman (Iran), Bahla Fort (Oman), or the Simien National Park (Ethiopia), but I’m sure concern comes for some of the more popular destinations like the ones mentioned in Mexico.