“Culture is key to what makes cities attractive, creative and sustainable. History shows that culture is at the heart of urban development, evidenced through cultural landmarks, heritage and traditions. Without culture, cities as vibrant life-spaces do not exist; they are merely concrete and steel constructions, prone to social degradation and fracture. It is culture that makes the difference.” (UNESCO, 2016). Culture which widely refers to values, beliefs, knowledge and wisdom (UCLG, 2015) is recognized as a powerful source of sustainable development. Considerations for culture in sustainable development are indispensable for respecting and satisfying people before and after policy development and implementation processes.
Culture and tourism can complementarily interact with each other as tourist destinations inevitably involve the interface of their rich and diverse heritage, art, religion and other elements that represent the unique characteristics of their daily lives. With its close-knit relation of culture to our daily life, culture not only reduces barriers to economic development for local communities through tourism, but also provides easier access to cultural differences for tourists. In 2004, UNCTAD read this trend, stating “if the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are taken together, tourism is the single most important source of foreign exchange earnings". Utilizing the unique culture of a community, which is the great resource of tourism, can be a cost-effective measure of economic development with its less invested infrastructure compared to other industries.
Despite the economic benefits brought by tourism, however, many countries have been experiencing the negative consequences of reckless development, including the degradation of cultural and natural heritage, loss of cultural features and unequal distributions of economic gains. The need for well-designed plans for sustainable tourism has been highlighted to ensure the long-term economic, environmental and social benefits through tourism. Cities, in particular, which have been dramatically transformed amid global urbanization, need to recover its own characteristics, placing culture in the center of urban planning as well as tourism management, in order to achieve balanced development in the long term.
This workshop, therefore, provides a venue for participants to understand the complex relation between culture and tourism through various lectures and group activities. Best practices on cultural tourism will be presented, offering opportunities to explore well-designed tourism development cases around the world. There will be sessions to discuss good policies and practical cultural projects in line with the UN SDGs. Finally, the workshop will help local actors effectively develop relevant policies, promoting and enhancing their cultural advantages and diversification for the social, environmental and economic benefits in the long term.
The workshop aims to build capacity of participants on cultural tourism policy, while promoting awareness on the importance of culture and sustainable tourism development. Overall objectives include the following:
- Provide an opportunity for local governments and cities in the Asia-Pacific region to exchange cultural tourism policies and best practices through city-to-city cooperation
- Promote a learning atmosphere between cities and establish a strong network which can be utilized after the workshop
- Offer a venue for knowledge sharing and discussion and motivate participants to implement sustainable tourism policies, placing culture in the center of the policy
At the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:
- Recognize cultural tourism trends and policy development in the context of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda
- Utilize the lessons learned from the cases of cultural tourism policy implementation in various contexts
- Identify sustainable practices for regional/city/local development through local people’s participation
- Share the best practices of the community/local government-driven tourism projects
- Describe the economic impacts of cultural tourism on regional development, recognizing the importance of environmental and cultural conservation for sustainable tourism
- Develop partnerships to effectively promote the benefits of cultural tourism policies with civil societies, government and local entrepreneurs.
The workshop is composed of the following sessions:
- Session 1-1: Implementing Culture 21 Actions
- Session 1-2: Overview of Cultural Tourism Development under the framework of the UN SDGs
- Session 2-1: Cultural Tourism as an Economic Development Tool
- Session 2-2: Which is the priority?: Development vs Conservation
- Session 2-3: Cultural Tourism Development for Inclusive and Equal Society
- Session 3: Adequate Carrying Capacity for Sustainable Management of Cultural tourism Projects
- Session 4: Monitoring and Evaluation of Cultural Tourism Projects
- Session 5: Cultural City Planning: A case study of the Global South
- Session 6: Cultural Tourism: Case studies
- Session 7: UNITAR-Developed City-Share Methodology
The workshop will be delivered through:
- Lectures and presentations by experts
- Self-assessment exercise
- Group work and discussions
- Action plan presentations
- Field visit to cultural tourism sites
The targeted audience includes central/local authorities and representatives from NGOs, regional and community-based organizations, academic and training institutions and other local actors, who are working in the field of cultural tourism within the Asia-Pacific region.
** Participants should have sufficient command of both written and spoken English.