The Most Popular Heritage Sites

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The number and quality of TripAdvisor reviews has been touched on a few times in CD-Traveller. the mantra is virtually distrust the few, only pay attention to the recent and disregard the overly critical or praiseworthy. In conjunction with UNESCO, TripAdvisor has been trying to raise awareness of world heritage sites and has gathered 244,690 comments on its website about them. This is biggest analysis of what how people view the 789 world heritage sites (there are 911 in total).
So which are the most recommended?
Angkor in Cambodia is the most recommended. The seat of the Khymer empire lasting four centuries up until the thirteenth, has the ruins of over 1000 temples including the most famous, Angkor Wat. It regularly tops travel writers’ lists of the place to see before you die. Two million people regularly visit the area and, unsurprisingly, it is Cambodia’s biggest tourist draw.
Rome and the Vatican City are the next most recommended places followed by Florence and Istanbul then comes Edinburgh, one of two entries from the United Kingdom, the other being the area round Westminster abbey in London. There are only 28 world heritage sites in the UK and just 2 in Ireland and only Italy gets gets more entries, their third one being, Venice. Surprisingly, Pompei doesn’t make the top 10 but then nor does the Great Wall of China, Versailles, Baalbek, Petra or Machu Picchu.
As well as those recommended there are two other lists from this study. Those sites in best condition which includes Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, (the home of Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd president of the USA)and Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. More worryingly is the list of those needing most attention. The Kasbah in Algiers is followed by the St Luis in Brazil. I can see only 3 reviews of the Kasbah on TripAdvisor, two of which were posted this year. Does 3 really justify inclusion? I don’t know as I have not been there. But I would be sceptical about drawing conclusions from 3 reviews. What of St Luis? At least here there are 102.
UNESCO says that the comments help them understand the perspectives of visitors. Helpful enough you may think but what do they plan for those sites people think need most attention. If they do nothing what’s the point of analysing it?

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