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Published on : Thursday, November 24, 2016
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Alexis Tam, attended today (24) the opening ceremony of the ‘International Gastronomy Forum, Macao 2016’, organized by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), under the theme ‘Power of Gastronomy’, with the activities of the event running between November 23 to 26. The Forum gathers members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, experts and academics, to connect with and share their successful cases. MGTO organizes this Forum as part of the work in forging ahead to develop Macao as a gastronomy city, on the road to transform the city into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure.
The opening ceremony of the ‘International Gastronomy Forum, Macao 2016’ was held this morning at MGM Macau, with Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam, delivering a welcome speech and the Secretary-General of China National Commission for UNESCO, Du Yue, presenting a keynote message to the event.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network members and experts gathered in Macao
The guests of honor of the opening ceremony also included MGTO Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, the Mayor of Dunedin, New Zealand, Dave Cull, the Deputy Mayor of Phuket, Kosol Taeng-Utai, the Deputy Mayor of Östersund, Sweden, Christina Hedin, the President of the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), Fanny Vong, the Vice President of IFT, Florence Ian, MGTO Deputy Directors Cecilia Tse and Cheng Wai Tong, the Acting Deputy Director of Education and Youth Affairs Bureau, Leong Vai Kei and the Dean of the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management of Macau University of Science and Technology, Philip Xie.
Other participants and guest speakers attending the Forum include representatives from around the world from 17 city members of UNESCO Creative Cities Network in Gastronomy and Literature, the World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for the Asia and the Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO, China Cuisine Association, Tourism Development Committee members, tourism academics, Macanese food experts and others, in a total of over 200 delegates.
The city members of UNESCO Creative Cities Network joining the Forum include mayor, deputy mayor, tourism director, executive managers-level and other representatives from 16 of the existing 18 Gastronomy Cities – namely, Belém and Florianopolis (Brazil), Chengdu and Shunde (China), Popayán (Colombia), Rasht (Iran), Parma (Italy), Zahlé (Lebanon), Ensenada (Mexico), Bergen (Norway), Jeonju (South Korea), Dénia (Spain), Östersund (Sweden), Phuket (Thailand), Gaziantep (Turkey) and Tucson (USA), as well as one Creative City of Literature, Dunedin (New Zealand).
Alexis Tam welcomed the participants to the event stating that “amid other infrastructure and tourism-related projects in the pipeline, we have attached great importance in our ongoing work for the application to become a UNESCO Creative Cities Network member. We strongly believe that the City of Gastronomy designation is the best way for us to seek recognition of our culinary distinctiveness.” The Secretary added that “the discussions generated from this forum will facilitate our task at formulating a model of destination management that will unleash the potential of gastronomy and other cultural and creative resources.”
The Secretary-General of China National Commission for UNESCO, Du Yue, noted on his keynote message that “by applying for joining the Creative Cities Network in the field of Gastronomy, it will help Macao to showcase its diverse culture to the world while promoting exchanges and mutual learning of civilizations. I believe Macao fits the criteria and potential for application to bid as a Creative City of Gastronomy and the National Commission of China for UNESCO shall give its full support to Macao’s bid to UNESCO. To the representatives of other Creative Cities of Gastronomy present with us today, I invite you to meet and exchange perspectives with your Chinese counterparts and support Macao to be designated a Creative City of Gastronomy, to add a new shot of vitality to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.”
Themed sessions and experience Macao tours
The activities of the ‘International Gastronomy Forum, Macao 2016’ started yesterday (November 23) and will run until Saturday. The event includes two discussion sessions themed ‘Creativity and Gastronomy’ and ‘Sustainability on Gastronomy and Cultural Development’, along with a Round Table session. During the different sessions, members of UNESCO Creative Cities Network and experts will share their practical cases and insights on using creativity as a transformative driver for development, on how to integrate gastronomy and culture in order to make them sustainable in the new era, and experience sharing in forging ahead as a gastronomy city.
Another important part of the program of the International Gastronomy Forum is to enable participants to experience the city’s gastronomical diversity, cultural heritage and new tourism attractions. The program of the Forum include a visit to the 16th Macau Food Festival, participation in a Macanese cooking demonstration, embark upon a walking tour through the city’s heritage districts to Anim’Arte Nam Van, visit old Taipa Village, an evening tour of the city’s new tourism complexes and more.
Mission and vision to create an annual Forum
Organized for the first time this year, MGTO plans to make the Forum an annual event, as part of its work in forging ahead to develop Macao as a gastronomy city, on the road to transform Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure.
The Forum’s mission and vision is to promote and raise public awareness that creativity as a strategic factor enhances sustainable urban development. It wants to provide a platform for participating cities to communicate and understand the strengths of cultural assets, creativity and sustainable development. The Forum aims to connect cities to share their successful experience and learn from each other so as to boost the development of gastronomy in the creative field. It also aims to provide tours of culinary excellence to introduce Macao’s tradition, heritage and gastronomy-related industry. The Forum endeavors to demonstrate that food has become a common language shared by cities all around the world.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network
The Creative Cities Network is currently formed by 116 member cities from 54 countries covering seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Music and Media Arts. Created in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.