The San Antonio Franciscan Missions have been named Texas’ first world heritage site and the United States its 23rd designation. The announcement Sunday followed the announcement the famous winemaking regions of Champagne and Burgundy were granted world heritage status as the United Nations deemed their sparkling wines culturally significant.
The Uneco bestowed France the prestigious status on Saturday during the World Heritage Summit taking place in Bonn, Germany. In Champagne, the status covers the vineyards of Hautvilliers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims and the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay. Production sites, underground cellars and the sales and distribution centers of Champagne are also protected by the status, Reuters reported.
"The method of producing sparkling wines was developed on the principle of secondary fermentation in the bottle since the early 17th century to its early industrialization in the 19th century," Unesco said in a statement, according to CNN.
In Burgundy, the status covers the Climats, which includes vineyards on the hillsides of Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, south of the city of Dijon.
"The property bears clear testimony to the development of a very specialized artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise," Unesco added in a statement.
France drew in 84 million tourists last year, making it the world’s most visited country. The tourism industry in France employs around 2 million people, and just last month the government announced plans to further boost the sector with a fund dedicated to bolstering the country's tourism operations, from hotels to heritage sites, Reuters reported. France hopes to see 100 million tourists annually by 2020.
With Unesco’s world heritage status, the region is deemed significant to world history and is eligible for funding for preservation. Other cultural sites that have received world heritage status this weekend along with France and the San Antonio missions are the Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape in Turkey, as well as Christiansfeld, a Moravian church settlement, and the Parforce hunting landscape in North Zealand, both in Denmark, CNN reported.
There are 1,022 properties on the extensive world heritage site list, which includes The Great Wall in China, Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. and Acropolis, Athens in Greece. Nominations for world heritage status must meet Unesco criteria and include a long-term management plan before they are considered.