Published on : Thursday, December 14, 2017
Culture inspires more than 1.2 billion tourists to pack their bags and cross international borders each year. It is an important means to promote inter-cultural dialogue, create employment opportunities, curb rural migration, and nurture a sense of pride among host communities. However, if culture remains unmanaged, it can harm the very heritage that cultural tourism relies on.
On 12 December, the Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development was signed by representatives of UNESCO, the UNWTO, delegations, private sector, local communities and NGOs.
This concluded the two-day World Conference on Tourism and Culture co-organized by UNESCO and the UNWTO and hosted by the Sultanate of Oman. Through the Declaration, around 30 Ministers and Vice Ministers of Tourism and Culture, and 800 participants from 70 countries, reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the ties between tourism and culture, and to advance the contribution of cultural tourism to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.
“Cultural tourism is growing, in popularity, in importance and in diversity embracing innovation and change. Yet, with growth comes increased responsibility, responsibility to protect our cultural and natural assets, the very foundation of our societies and our civilizations” said the UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr. Taleb Rifai.
Ministers from Cambodia, Libya, Somalia, Iraq and Vietnam discussed the role of cultural tourism in initiating peace and prosperity, and the capacity of tourism in supporting the recovery of their countries.