Conference Report: UNWTO International Conference on Heritage Tourism - How Do We Foster, Present and Preserve World Treasures?
UNWTO International Conference on Heritage Tourism:
How Do We Foster, Present and Preserve World Treasures?
February 24-26, 2016
From February 24-26, the UNWTO International Conference on Heritage Tourism was co-organized by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) with support from the Nara Prefectural Government and focused on the question: How Do We Foster, Present and Preserve World Treasures? The conference took place in Nara, Japan home to the Monuments of Ancient Nara, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
There were 185 participants in attendance from the public and private sectors, international organizations, non-profits, and academic institutions representing 36 countries from around the world. Speakers and participants shared their experiences in developing and promoting heritage tourism and the challenges they’ve encountered to maintain sustainable levels of visitation.
Ms. Yuri Furusawa, Vice Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency opened the conference by speaking of Japan’s commitment to become “a tourism oriented country” and the importance of the election of Japan to the Executive Council of UNWTO. Mr. Hae-Guk Hwang Regional Deputy Director for Asia and the Pacific at UNWTO highlighted Japan’s impressive achievement to have a 45% growth for inbound tourism with an extraordinary 55% increase in earnings through November 2015. He also emphasized UNWTO’s commitment to further study the integration of tourism and culture with the establishment of the Tourism and Culture office UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Turuo Namikoshi, Vice Governor of Nara Prefecture, officially welcomed welcomed all of the participants to Nara Prefecture and emphasized the rich heritage found throughout the prefecture. The conference consisted of three sessions: 1) Compatibility of Preservation and Utilization 2) Refinement of Tourism Resources 3) Sustainable Utilization.