By World Tourism wire.com with Irene Gaitirira
Published November 18, 2016
Authenticity, local cultures, involvement of local communities and the use of technology are key to successful urban planning and tourism.
This is the conclusion of some 400 experts from 40 countries who attended the 5th UNWTO City Tourism Summit in the Egyptian tourism resort of Luxor to discuss the theme ‘Cities: Local culture for a global traveller’.
The event, organised by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism of Egypt, concluded that urban planning and city tourism development should go hand in hand.
Participants discussed city tourism trends such as ‘sharing economy’, the importance of millennials, emerging niche markets, building authentic cultural experiences by engaging local communities, safety and security, and congestion management.
Speakers who addressed the meeting included Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany; Minister of Tourism, Mohamed Yehia Rashed; Governor of Luxor, Mohamed Sayed Badr; Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for International Organisations, Hisham Badr; UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai and the President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), David Scowsill.
“Holding this event in Luxor shows how Egypt and its people are committed to tourism and is a very positive sign that Egypt will recover to be the leading tourism destination it has historically been,” said Minister Rashed.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai expressed the Organisation’s full confidence in Egypt’s tourism recovery, recalling that holding such an important meeting in Luxor displays the trust of the international tourism community in the destination.
The High-Level Panel of the Summit, moderated by BBC Travel Show presenter, Rajan Datar, stressed the importance of placing tourism high on the urban agenda and creating mechanisms of coordination and joint planning.
“We should never fear the growth of the tourism sector; it is the way we manage it that makes the difference,” said Rifai during the panel discussion. “A city that does not serve its citizens will not serve its visitors, thus the importance of engaging local communities and tourists.”
Participants also stressed the need to maximize the resources generated by tourism for heritage preservation and renovation, the roles of gastronomy and creative culture in attracting and engaging tourists; and how the 270 million young travellers of today demand new authentic products and connectivity around the clock.
During the Summit, UNWTO presented its City Tourism Network Action Plan as well as a new initiative–Mayors for Tourism–that will see mayors and cities’ decision-makers collaborate on tourism issues.
The 6th UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in December 2017.