NEWS & EVENTS
The Second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture concludes
The Second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture came to a successful end on Tuesday, 12th of December at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center, under the auspices of H.H. Fahad Bin Mahmoud Al Said, the Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers. The event witnessed the participation of 30 ministers of tourism and culture, and 700 participants from 70 countries. Represented by the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, the Sultanate, hosted the event for two days (11th and 12th December), in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization and the UNESCO.
The opening ceremony witnessed a welcome speech by His Excellency, Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, as well as speeches by H.E. Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director General for Culture of the UNESCO, His Excellency Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, Eliza Jean Reid, the First Lady of Iceland and the Special Ambassador for Tourism and Sustainable Development, His Royal Highness, Prince Sultan Bin Salman Al Saud, the President and Chairman of the Board of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
The first day of the conference primarily consisted of the ministerial summit on tourism, culture and sustainable tourism. On the sidelines of the conference, an exhibition for a number of academic and public institutions was also held, under the auspices of H.H Fahad Bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers. Several local authorities and organizations such as the Public Authority for Crafts Industries, SMEs Development Authority “Riyada”, Royal Opera House, Photographic Society of Oman, National Museum, Natural History Museum, Bait Al Zubair Museum, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman Tourism College, Rustaq College of Education, and German University of Technology in Oman participated in the exhibition.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to panel discussions on a variety of subjects such as the role of tourism in preserving the cultural heritage, the role of tourism and culture in urban development and creativity, exploring cultural dimensions in the tourism sector, as well as presenting the conference summary and announcing Muscat 2017: conference on tourism and culture. This was followed by a press conference that addressed the Second UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture’s outcomes.
The five main aspects that the conference focused on were: cultural tourism as a pioneer and peace-maker, the importance of tourism development and preservation of cultural heritage, the role of tourism in urban development and creativity, exploring cultural destinations in world tourism, as well as achieving the objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development 2030 Plan.
The Minister of Tourism had a number of meetings with Tourism Ministers and Heads of Delegations from participating countries, on aspects related to the tourism and cultural sectors and the potential of collaboration; on the sidelines of the conference.
His Excellency, Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism said: “In addition to a rich historic and cultural heritage, the Sultanate is endowed with several diversified natural resources that are spread across the governorates of the country. In view of this, the Ministry of Tourism has formulated the Oman Tourism Strategy 2040, to accelerate the pace of Tourism and Cultural development through the appropriate utilization of these resources; while keeping in mind the principles of sustainable development. Our main long term objective is to achieve economic diversification, together with upgrading the direct and indirect contribution of the sector in GDP, provision of direct and indirect employment opportunities for the national labour force, enhancing government revenues, supporting the balance of payments and achieve the highest level of regional development.”
His Excellency, Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary General said: “The 2nd UNWTO/UNESCO Conference on Tourism and Culture represented a milestone in common efforts to bring tourism and culture closer together for the benefit of communities and societies around the world. Both tourism and culture play a key role in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda; and this conference sets a road-map in that regard. We thank Oman for hosting this event in such a magnificent way and for contributing towards the advancement of links between tourism and culture.”
Delegations from 70 countries, representing both the tourism and culture sectors took part in the conference. The conference aimed to enhance the collaboration between the countries and help execute the sector’s strategies and plans under the supervision of the United Nations.