The Wadden Sea World Heritage at ITB 2015

For the first time, the Wadden Sea World Heritage was jointly presented by all three countries at this year's ITB Berlin, the world’s leading tourism fair, held from 4-8 March 2015. We were represented with a booth and a large photo exhibition in the sustainable tourism hall, as well as at panel discussions and stage presentations. In addition, every day one of the various partners presented examples of how World Heritage can be experienced in their region.

Under the motto “Protect and Prosper”, the World Heritage presentation at the ITB demonstrated to the tourism sector that much has been achieved over the last five years by working together across the three countries in developing a joint framework for sustainable tourism. This provides benefits for nature conservation and at the same time offers potential for the tourism sector to develop sustainable tourism that can contribute to the heritage values (download strategy).

The PROWAD booth at the ITB on 4 March with Juliane Reich (Wadden Sea National Park Lower Saxony) and Sjon de Haan (Dutch World Heritage Facilitator) (top) and Alina Claußen (Wadden Sea National Park Schleswig-Holstein) with Hubertus Hebbelmann (Environmental Ministry Lower Saxony) and Constanze Höfinghoff (Tourism St. Peter-Ording) (bottom) (photo: CWSS).

ITB is an ideal forum for underscoring the need to engage with the tourism sector in order to ensure that these key stakeholders fully acknowledge and embrace their role in conserving and maintaining the integrity of the Wadden Sea World Heritage property. In addition to its info booth and photo exhibition, the Secretariat, with the support of many partners from the three countries concerned, organized a number of events, such as a panel discussion on the sustainable Tourism Strategy, involving experts from all three Wadden Sea Countries as well as UNESCO and the Secretary to CWSS, Rüdiger Strempel.

The complete Wadden Sea World Heritage programme can be downloaded here.

In line with the motto Protect and Prosper, developed by CWSS, ITB therefore helped the Secretariat raise awareness of the wealth of opportunity offered by the Wadden Sea World Heritage property while stressing that protection of the Outstanding Universal Value is vital to safeguarding the unique character and value of the region, which provides benefits for present and future generations.

The activities were co-founded by “PROWAD – Protect and Prosper: Sustainable Tourism in the Wadden Sea” a project of the Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme (www.prowad.org).

The Wadden Sea exhibitions about our World Heritage, the Wadden Sea Flyway initiative with West-Africa, and the PROWAD project (photo CWSS).

The panel discussion was attended by colleagues from the Wadden Sea, Peter Debrine from UNESCO, and facilitated by Barbara Engels (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation) was attended by over 90 people and highlighted the achievements but also the challenges and responsibilities that come with World Heritage status (photo CWSS).

After the panel, the discussion was continued at the PROWAD booth (photo CWSS).

Presentation of the latest PROWAD product at the ITB Berlin: ‘glocal’ leaflets which enable visitors to experience World Heritage locally (Alina Claussen, Sjon de Haan, photos CWSS)

The English version of the book “The Wadden Sea”, the first book that shows the entire Wadden Sea World Heritage Site was launched at ITB in the presence of the Minister of the Environment of Schleswig Holstein, Robert Habeck. The book contains stunning aerial photography by Martin Stock and Peter de Vries,  and was produced in cooperation with CWSS (from left to right: Rüdiger Strempel, Henner Wachholtz, Robert Habeck, Harald Marencic, photo CWSS).

Danish oyster tasting event at the last day of the ITB with the Fanø oyster king, Jesper Voss, and Søren Christensen, Danish Wadden Sea National Park.

Many thanks to all PROWAD colleagues and supporters from the Netherland, Germany and Denmark who made this first Wadden Sea World Heritage presentation a great success.!