Building peace in the minds of men and women

4th UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Culture and Tourism focuses on future generations with Declaration

13 December 2019


Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) Japan
Hubert Guillaud © CRA-terre

More than 600 delegates from over 50 countries gathered in Kyoto, Japan from 12-13 December 2019 to discuss key issues at the forefront of tourism and culture and launched the ‘Kyoto Declaration on Tourism and Culture: Investing in Future Generations’. The Declaration outlines a commitment to implement innovative policies and harness the positive potential of tourism through supporting tangible and intangible cultural heritage, increasing community empowerment, generating inclusive wealth and strengthening capacities.

“When managed responsibly, cultural tourism can enrich the lives of both travelers and residents, promoting diversity and intercultural dialogue. The Kyoto Declaration will help us to ensure that our world’s rich heritage and diverse creativity are wonders that our children too will have the chance to discover for themselves," said UNWTO Executive Director Manuel Butler.

Xing Qu,UNESCO Deputy Director-General added, “the international community needs to seize the benefits of connecting culture and tourism as global forces that bring people together. UNESCO is pleased to be partnering with UNWTO in this venture as we look to deepen and widen our collaboration.”

Centering on cultural transmission, community and capacity building, the Conference focused on how the tourism and culture sectors can work more collaboratively together and increase public-private partnerships, while also ensuring a more sustainable future. The importance of enabling local stakeholders to have a greater voice in how tourism is managed was particularly stressed and panelists agreed that to strengthen engagement of all stakeholders and to ensure that tourism is developed in line with the Sustainable Development Goals targeted investments need to be made.

Tourism is now one of the largest and fastest growing economic industries in the world, accounting for 29% of the world’s service exports and representing around one in ten jobs worldwide. 1.8 billion people are forecast to travel internationally in 2030 and much of this growth is being fueled by the increasing interest in discovering new and different cultures.

The Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadogawa, presented the ‘Kyoto Model’ outlining the city’s approach to addressing the significant growth in tourism in recent years. In 2018, Kyoto received 15.8 million overnight visitors, representing a 60% increase since 2000. Despite this increase in visitors, the city reported it has worked to decrease waste, energy consumption and road congestion.

The Conference builds on previous editions held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2018, Muscat, Oman in 2017 and Siam Reap, Cambodia in 2015. It was hosted by the Japan Tourism Agency, the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, Kyoto Prefecture and Kyoto City.

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