Booming tourism is threatening world heritage sites in east Asian countries, especially China, a UN expert told a forum in east China's Jiangxi Province on Friday.
Peter Ogden, a project expert for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Beijing office, made the comments at the Lushan Forum on World Heritage Cultural Landscape in East Asia.
Ogden pointed out that about a quarter of east Asia's world heritage sites have been threatened by tourism. However, the industry has helped boost cross-cultural interactions, brought jobs to local people and promoted regional economic development.
China is the second largest owner of world heritage sites with 45 on the World Heritage List, next only to Italy which has 49.
China has the largest domestic tourism market and also serves as the world's third largest tourist destination. Therefore, the country faces more concrete challenges in protecting world heritage sites, according to Ogden.
He suggested east Asian countries maintain coordination between tourism development and world heritage protection.
The forum is scheduled to be held from Oct. 24 to 26 at Mount Lushan in Jiujiang City.