Officials at the UNWTO and UNESCO have announced the first World Conference on Tourism & Culture.
The event will bring together, for the first time, ministers of tourism and ministers of culture from around the world, experts and stakeholders from both sectors to explore new models of partnership.
The event will take place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from February 4th-6th next year.
Cultural tourism can contribute to inclusive economic growth, social development and cultural preservation.
The first UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture will provide an unprecedented global platform for policymakers, experts and practitioners in tourism and culture to meet and identify the key challenges and opportunities for stronger cooperation between these highly interlinked areas.
Over the course of two days, participants will explore different roles and mandates on five key topics – governance and partnership models, cultural preservation, living cultures and creative industries, cultural routes and urban regeneration through cultural tourism.
Confirmed speakers include King Simeon II, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations high representative for the Alliance of Civilisations, John Delaney, senior vice president of Seabourn, and Elizabeth Becker, award-winning author and former correspondent for the New York Times.
UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai, said: “This milestone event will provide a unique opportunity for tourism and culture stakeholders from all regions to discuss how to further harness the power of tourism and culture to alleviate poverty, create jobs, protect heritage and promote international understanding, contributing to the post-2015 development agenda.”
Hosted by the Kingdom of Cambodia in Siem Reap, home of UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, the conference will count on the presence of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Baromneath Norodom Sihamoni, king of Cambodia, and Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO director general: “Culture shapes our identity and is a means to foster respect and tolerance among people.
“It is also a way to create millions of jobs and improve people’s lives, a path to strengthen mutual understanding.
“Safeguarding cultural heritage must move forward with sustainable tourism, which is the core message of this conference.
“This vision guides our efforts to promote culture as a driver and as an enabler of sustainable development, and is especially important at this time of change, when countries are shaping a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015.”