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Cultural Heritage Tourism Standard of Ethics


Internationally, the tourism economic sector is dominated by small to medium enterprises (SMEs) that provide goods, services and experiences to a visiting tourist clientele. Generally, these are supported by visitor centres, signage, museums, cultural centers and/or other forms of exhibits generally operated and funded through dedicated government departments or private/philanthropic entities. 


Cultural Heritage Tourism (CHT)

Cultural Heritage Tourism (CHT) refers to tourism activities that contribute to the ongoing wellbeing of communities by supporting sustainable practices that protect the livelihoods, values, socio-cultural traditions, natural environment and cultural heritage resources of our world’s unique people and societies.

CHT involves partnerships designed to deliver economic and social benefits to tourism businesses and cultural communities. It also offers support for those tourism and related enterprises that aim to secure the ongoing welfare, safety and collective wellbeing of communities involved in tourism. 

CHT Principles

  • Respect local culture, traditions and values. 
  • Involve and empower communities to ensure that ownership and transparent management are maintained.
  • Protect heritage resources and traditions with appropriate and agreed income flows provided to the community as a means of improving socio-economic standards and wellbeing. 
  • Have minimal impacts on the community.
  • Establish partnerships with relevant stakeholders. 
  • Gain recognised standing with relevant authorities.
  • Improve social wellbeing and maintain of human dignity.
  • Include a fair and transparent benefit-sharing mechanism. 
  • Enhance linkages to local and regional economies. 
  • Contribute to natural resource conservation. 
  • Improve the quality of visitor experiences by strengthening meaningful host and guest interactions. 
  • Work towards financial self-sufficiency to improve socio-economic conditions while protecting traditional cultural values, rituals and practices.

The WTACH Standards of Ethical Conduct

Cultural Heritage Tourism (CHT) is becoming increasingly popular, with ‘authentic’ experiences the primary focus of expanding international markets and visitor arrivals. However, it is clear that increasing demand can also have a negative impact on cultural communities unless clear guidelines, regulations and policies are established to manage any potentially harmful actions or activities. The WTACH key ‘Standards of Ethical Conduct’ have been developed to empower cultural communities to manage tourism growth and achieve community aspirations relating to wellbeing including economic, social and environmental development. 


The WTACH Standard of Ethics must be observed and adopted by all WTACH/CHT members.

They should also be applied to all CHT initiatives as a performance benchmark.  


WTACH/CHT Ethical Standards Scope

The WTACH/CHT Ethical Standards provides umbrella performance indicators for the coordinated management of tourism and related products offered by all CHT stakeholder businesses, organizations, institutions and communities. Specific product standards adopted by WTACH members and relevant to CHT initiatives form an integral part of the ethical standards designed to improve cultural awareness, while ensuring the ongoing sustainability of cultural practices, traditions and environments.

The intent of the Ethical Standards is to provide direction to communities on the quality of service needed for tourists to experience a consistent level of authenticity, interpretation and quality of service around the world, and that appropriate cultural safeguards are in place to ensure the sustainability of the host community. 

WTACH reserves the right to refuse and/or terminate membership of any organization or business proved to be operating outside the Ethical Standards.


© WTACH Standard Of Ethics