Published on : Friday, December 15, 2017
Culture motivates over 1.2 billion visitors to pack a bag and cross international borders every year. It is a significant mean that helps to endorse inter-cultural dialogue, generate employment opportunities, restrain rural migration and look after the satisfaction of the host communities. So far unmanaged, it can also damage the legacy on which cultural tourism depends.
Identifying that sustainable approach with buy-in from all partners is important to cultural tourism along with peace building and heritage protection. On December 12, the Muscat Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Fostering Sustainable Development was signed by UNESCO representatives, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), delegations, private sector, local communities and NGOs.
Organized by UNESCO and the UNWTO, the two-day World Conference on Tourism and Culture came to an end which was again hosted by the Sultanate of Oman. Through the Declaration, over 30 Ministers and Vice Ministers of Tourism and Culture, and 800 participants from seventy countries, reiterated their promise to fortify the synergies between tourism and culture along with advancing 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 UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, highlighted that we require to have a positive dynamic between culture and tourism “that promotes sustainability while benefiting local communities. This dynamic must contribute to safe and sustainable cities, decent work, reduced inequalities, the environment, promoting gender equality and peaceful and inclusive societies.”