IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

World Heritage Listing of Australian Natural Sites: Tourism Stimulus and its Economic Value


  • Tisdell, Clement A.
  • Wilson, Clevo


Australia has 14 areas inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, on the basis of their globally outstanding natural and in some cases also cultural values. Many regard listing as prestigious and believe that it acts as a signalling device like a brand name. But to what extent and in what ways does the extra prestige bestowed by this listing translate into increased economic value for listed properties? This article deals with two main aspects of World Heritage listing. First, examines the hypothesis that World Heritage listing increases tourist visitation numbers, and available international visitor time-series data are examined to provide empirical evidence. It is found that although visitor numbers are likely to increase as a result of World Heritage listing, the increase is not as large as is often perceived. Some properties continue to experience low visitation rates despite World Heritage listing, and reasons for this phenomenon are advanced. Likely reasons for the inequalities in growth patterns of visits to different World Heritage properties are highlighted. Secondly, the article considers how the economic value of the tourism stimulus provided by World Heritage listing can be measured in principle and relates this to economic impact analysis and total economic valuation. Important and new limitations to the use of the travel cost method in this context are identified.

Suggested Citation

  • Tisdell, Clement A. & Wilson, Clevo, 2001. "World Heritage Listing of Australian Natural Sites: Tourism Stimulus and its Economic Value," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 48382, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqseee:48382

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ger Klaassen & David Pearce, 1995. "Introduction," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 85-93, March.
    2. Tisdell, Clement A. & Wilson, Clevo, 2000. "Tourism and Conservation of Sea Turtles: An Australian Case Study," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 48007, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    3. Ian J. Bateman & Guy D. Garrod & Julii S. Brainard & Andrew A. Lovett, 1996. "Measurement Issues In The Travel Cost Method: A Geographical Information Systems Approach," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1-4), pages 191-205.
    4. Harry R. Clarke & Yew-Kwang Ng, 1993. "Tourism, economic welfare and efficient pricing," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-18, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Paolo Pamini, 2009. "World Heritage: Where Are We? An Empirical Analysis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2009-31, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    2. Clem Tisdell, 2006. "Valuation of Tourism's Natural Resources," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Bruno S. Frey & Paolo Pamini, 2009. "Making World Heritage Truly Global: The Culture Certificate Scheme," CESifo Working Paper Series 2745, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Bruno S. Frey & Paolo Pamini & Lasse Steiner, 2011. "What Determines The World Heritage List? An Econometric Analysis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2011-01, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Bruno S. Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2010. "World Heritage List: does it make sense?," IEW - Working Papers 484, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Tisdell, Clement A., 2003. "Ecotourism/Wildlife based Tourism as Contributor to Nature Conservation with Reference to Vanni, Sri Lanka," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers 48956, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    7. David Wuepper & Marc Patry, 2017. "The World Heritage list: Which sites promote the brand? A big data spatial econometrics approach," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 41(1), pages 1-21, February.
    8. repec:eee:ecolec:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:215-224 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Tiziana Cuccia & Calogero Guccio & Ilde Rizzo, 2013. "Does Unesco inscription affect the performance of tourism destinations? A regional perspective," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-04-2013, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Oct 2013.
    10. Cuccia, Tiziana & Guccio, Calogero & Rizzo, Ilde, 2016. "The effects of UNESCO World Heritage List inscription on tourism destinations performance in Italian regions," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 494-508.
    11. Bruno S. Frey & Lasse Steiner, 2013. "World Heritage List," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Cultural Heritage, chapter 8, pages i-i Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    Tourism; World Heritage; National Parks; Land Economics/Use;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Q26 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Recreational Aspects of Natural Resources


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uqseee:48382. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.