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Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe Programme at the UNWTO Meeting of Experts on Cultural Tourism


On 1-2 December, at the invitation of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Comunidad de Madrid, the Secretariat of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe joined a meeting of 18 experts from all around the world to debate the challenges and trends of cultural tourism.

Mr. Ion VILCU, Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Department, stressed the importance of cultural values as a remedy to the conflicts that mass tourism is generating in cultural destinations and instead promoting tourism in lesser-known sites that can bring about positive effects for their socioeconomic development.

Mr. Daniel Martinez, Deputy Regional Minister of Culture and Tourism of the Region of Madrid, was pleased to host this international meeting and to showcase the region internationally as a tourist destination and to showcase the power of attraction of Madrid’s culture to draw tourists from all over world.

The subsequent expert meeting was moderated by Mr. German ORTEGA PALOMO, Professor of Tourism Planning at the University of Malaga. Mr. ORTEGA PALOMO has been appointed by the UNWTO to manage the ongoing process of defining new international guidelines for sustainable cultural tourism. The experts attending the meeting in Madrid are professionals from the field of cultural tourism and representatives of well-known associations and organisations from all over the world such as the Directorate General of Tourism Development for Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, UNWTO, UNESCO, Council of Europe, the Arab Regional Center for World Heritage, Netflix, Trip Advisor, National Trust of Northern Ireland, Vienna Tourism Board, Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority, University of Zagreb, National Archeological Park of Machupicchu, Directorate of Culture of the City of Florence among others.

Mr. Stefano DOMINIONI, Executive Secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) and Director of the European Institute of Cultural Routes, joined the expert discussions on how to promote lesser-known destinations through examples of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe programme.

The objective of the meeting was to identify current trends in the cultural tourism sector and governance models that harmonize interests and benefit all stakeholders in order to promote and preserve the value of the cultural heritage of the destinations. The experts drafted conclusions and recommendations for cultural and tourism destination management that will be presented in a report at the next International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) in Madrid in January.

In 2021, the Council of Europe and UNWTO signed a memorandum of understanding to work together and develop joint actions to promote the added value that Cultural Routes offer for sustainable tourism development and intercultural dialogue.

Source: Council of Europe

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