The Great Wall is one of China's, not to mention, the world's most famous historic sites and a well known UNESCO World Heritage Site. China is home to more world heritage sites than any other country at 43, and they have become increasingly under threat because of tourism, according to CNN.
At one point, the remoteness of the sites made it more difficult for tourists to travel to them, but with increase of Chinese residents making more money, they are traveling to World Heritage Sites around the country.
Neville Agnew, group director of the Getty Conservation Institute said to CNN, "Places that were previously very remote and didn't see a lot of tourists are now seeing enormous numbers arriving because they have the money to travel. It's an interesting phenomenon because it's in complete contrast to the experience in Egypt, where almost all the visitors are foreigners."
World Heritage sites in China include, The Ancient City of Ping Yao, Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Dazu Rock Carvings, Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dyansties and more. Unesco sites are places of conservation and preservation and serve as a historic place for people to visit and learn from.
The Unesco World Heritage website states, "What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity."
For China, world heritage sites also bring in a great economic benefit, the challenge being how to balance out economic benefit without harming the historic sites. There have been measures taken by Chinese authorities such as increasing ticket prices, which have not seen much effect and some sites are trying to reduce the number of daily visitors allowed on site. For example, the Mogao Grottoes in Northwestern China plans to allow only 6,000 visitors a day, down from an upwards of 11,000 at present.
The Great Wall is reportedly collapsing because of mining, a man made threat and 160 sites including one UNESCO site were damaged because of rainfall in Beijing.
For a full list of China's UNESCO World Heritage Sites See here.