On the agenda of the 3rd UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture event held December 3-5, in Istanbul, Turkey, stakeholders discussed cultural tourism as fundamental for a sustainable future.
Organized jointly by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the three-day event was focused on cultural tourism policies in line with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which is to be released soon. Decisionmakers at the Istanbul summit discussed cultural tourism’s potential to help cities transform into more sustainable and creative environments and destinations, while the second part looked into responsible tourism practices and technological advances for the protection of intangible cultural heritage. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili opened the event with this statement:
“Culture is one of the drivers of tourism growth, so protecting cultural heritage and promoting tourism for sustainable development are part of the same equation.”
More than 30 ministers from six continents pledged to cooperate for ensuring that tourism does not stifle or impact cultural heritage and its benefits for visitors and locals as well as on promoting lesser-known sites whilst managing large visitor numbers. The theme of the 2018 World Conference, ‘for the Benefit of All’, put forward two priorities:
- Creating more inclusive partnerships between tourism and culture stakeholders that contribute to SDG implementation; and
- promoting tourism development that encourages cultural interaction and ensures the benefits are shared by all communities involved.
A Video message by Mr. Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director of the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, The World Bank (above) discussed the importance of tourism in the economic sector.
The 4th UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture is scheduled to take place in Kyoto, Japan, in 2019.