Viet Nam hosts 1st International Conference on Spiritual Tourism
Exploring ways in which living culture, traditions and beliefs can be integrated into tourism while respecting the principles of sustainability, the 1st UNWTO International Conference on Spiritual Tourism firmed up efforts to advance the sustainable development of spiritual tourism destinations worldwide (21-22 November 2013, Ninh Binh, Viet Nam).
Recognizing the growth of spiritual tourism, with up to 330 million pilgrims visiting the world´s key religious sites every year, the 1st International Conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development focused on sustainability and the responsible management of natural and cultural assets as a means to promote the socio-economic development of host communities and societies worldwide.
UNWTO is confident that this Conference is a turning point in advancing the segment and called for the support of governments, destinations, tourism businesses and religious leaders to facilitate networking and exchange the most pertinent good practices and case studies at the global level.
The Ninh Binh Declaration on Spiritual Tourism will serve as a reference document for advancing spiritual tourism around the world through:
- Strengthening policy framework, responsible business operations and research on spiritual tourism in close cooperation with local communities;
- Creating adequate conditions for responsible and sustainable use of living cultural assets;
- Encouraging education, training and specially-tailored capacity-building to empower communities with tourism and hospitality management skills;
- Promoting socio-economic advancement of vulnerable groups through spiritual tourism development, in particular of indigenous people, ethnic minorities, women, youth and people with disabilities;
- Cooperating at a regional level to preserve and exchange concepts of human wellbeing to ensure the survival of ancestral traditions;
- Supporting efforts to facilitate the networking of spiritual tourism destinations worldwide.
Through the cooperation of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the Conference gathered over 350 delegates from more than 20 countries.
UNWTO Senior Media Officer: Marcelo Risi
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