Tourism – a tool to preserve Cultural Heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean

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Tourism can play an important role in the effective management of cultural and natural heritage, which can draw from tourism income for preservation concluded The International Seminar on Tourism Destination Management in Cultural Heritage Sites, organized by the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic and UNWTO (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 17-18 February 2014).

The two-day International Seminar on Tourism Destination Management in Cultural Heritage Sites gathered leading experts from both cultural and tourism public and private sector, academia and the UN system, to address tourism’s role in safeguarding and promoting cultural assets and engage local communities in heritage protection and management in the region.

Opening the Seminar, President Danilo Medina, who on the occasion was presented the UNWTO/WTTC Open Letter on Travel and Tourism by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, reaffirmed its commitment to tourism as vital sector in the economy and the society of the island nation, highlighting the importance of promoting the cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic as a means to preserve the country’s rich heritage and build a more competitive and sustainable tourism sector.

“There could be no better occasion to present this Open Letter to you Mr. President than today as we gather here to discuss the link between culture and tourism, and particularly the prominent issue of tourism management in cultural heritage sites, considering the commitment that the Dominican Republic as placed in promoting its cultural heritage as a key competitive tourism factor”, said Mr. Rifai.

On the occasion, the Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Francisco Javier García, explained that the country’s tourism sector has advanced significantly due to the efforts and commitment placed on the sector. As an example, Mr. Francisco Javier Garcia highlighted the recent legislative change proposed by the President to the Tourism Incentives Law which will from now onwards benefit the whole country and not only some areas.

Participating in the Seminar, which was followed by a Ministerial Roundtable on Tourism and Air Transport, a key issue in the region, were the Ministers of Tourism of Costa Rica, Haiti and Paraguay, the Vice Ministers of Tourism of Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala and Venezuela, the Director of the World Heritage Centre of UNESCO as well as representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank.

On the occasion, further highlighting the commitment of the Dominican Republic in addressing tourism’s, social, cultural and economic impact, 16 Dominican tourism companies and associations signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, pledging to implement and promote the ethical principles of the Code in their policies and operations.

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