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Contact: General Park Information, 305-242-7700
Contact: Media Contact Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
To mark the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, the international treaty that established the UNESCO World Heritage List of the globe's most significant cultural and natural areas, Everglades National Park has declared Sunday, March 18, 2012, as "World Heritage Day" in the Park. To celebrate the event, the Park will be hosting a vist by Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). In recognition of the anniversary event, admission fees to the Park will be waived on March 18.
Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979, Everglades National Park was among the first of the 21 US sites that have received this signal honor. Superintendent Dan Kimball will welcome Director General Bokova to the Ernest Coe Visitor Center at the Park on Sunday afternoon. After brief remarks, the official party will tour the Anhinga Trail and visit the Park's python laboratory.
On Monday, March 19, Director General Bokova will join other dignitaries, including former Assistant Secretary of the Interior Nathanial Reed, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami for a roundtable discussion on how to increase international tourism to the United States by promoting U.S. World Heritage Sites. The World Heritage label is well known abroad and is considered a magnet for tourists. The emphasis on increasing tourism responds to a new White House travel and tourism initiative which seeks to bring more foreign tourists to the U.S. to stimulate local economies and generate jobs. Everglades National Park is well placed to receive additional foreign travelers given its proximity to the Miami metro area, a major international gateway to the U.S.
The World Heritage Convention was introduced by the United States as an elaboration and extension of the national park idea on the international level. It was adopted by UNESCO's General Conference in 1972 and the U.S. was the first country to ratify the treaty in 1973. Today, almost 190 nations participate and 936 places in 156 countries are listed as World Heritage sites.