Over a dozen African ministers of tourism and culture are participating at the ongoing United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World conference on tourism and culture in Turkish capital of Istanbul.
The Ministers attending the conference include Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania and Morocco.
Others are South Sudan, Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Chad, Madagascar and Angola.
The conference which is in its third edition brought over thirty tourism and culture ministers with the President of Malta H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro as the special guest for the event. She said, “In today’s world, tourism diplomacy becomes more important to foster understanding, and culture is key to achieve this”
Delivering his opening remarks, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili underscored the importance of protecting cultural heritage and promoting tourism for sustainable tourism.
‘’Protecting cultural heritage and promoting tourism for sustainable development are part of the same equation” the Secretary General said.
He added that, culture is one of the drivers of tourism growth.
One of the key outcomes of the ministerial high table discussion was about how tourism and culture are indivisible.
The 3rd UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture is expected to build on the outcomes of the two previous editions of this event and their respective Declarations: the 2015 Siem Reap Declaration, which recommended closer and targeted partnerships between stakeholders of culture and of tourism; and the 2017 Muscat Declaration, which committed its endorsees to enhancing the contribution of tourism and culture in national SDG strategies.
Both declarations make clear that we must embrace the idea of not just creating tourism and culture partnerships, but also harness their potential to positively impact communities, and improve the overall visitor experience.
The theme for this year’s Conference, is ‘for the Benefit of All’, puts 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.
The Secretary General also held bilateral meeting with President Marie-Louise Coleiro of Malta to discuss tourism’s potential to secure peace and prosperity in all nations.