MADRID, SPAIN – Following first edition ago held 2 yrs, the 2nd International Congress on World Civilizations and Historic Routes (15-16 November) concluded in Sofia, Bulgaria. In the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the EU-China Tourism Year, the function explored how tourism along historic routes can help safeguard and promote intangible and tangible cultural heritage.
Organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Ministry of Tourism of Bulgaria, the congress explored the role of regional and national public bodies in enhancing of historic routes, across nations particularly. It gathered Ministers from four continents, along with private and public experts representing iconic cultural tourism routes including Route 66, just how of Saint James (Camino de Santiago), the Phoenicians’ Route and the Silk Road.
“Historic routes can play a significant role in revealing the initial history, culture and natural assets of territories along them, learning to be a powerful promotional tool and a distinctive instrument to improve tourism competitiveness for most destinations”, said UNWTO Deputy Secretary-General Jaime Cabal opening the function.
Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria, outlined her plans to advance cultural tourism in Bulgaria. “Cultural tourism can play an integral role in turning Bulgaria into an all-year-round tourism destination. We have been considering creating a historical civilizations’ route incorporating UNESCO monuments, which may acknowledge and promote the Balkan region as a tourism destination better,” she said.
Discussions centred on identifying guidelines in tourism development, promotion and management which will help to harness the tourism potential of historic routes, improve the value of these cultural heritage, and preserve their authenticity. Successful examples were exchanged of managed and well-developed historic routes, with a concentrate on methods to maximize tourism’s socio-economic impacts for local communities and contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
In modern times cultural tourism has emerged as a significant driver of demand, consistent with travellers’ growing interest to immerse themselves in tourism ‘experiences’ such as for example local traditions and rituals. The congress produced a good group of recommendations that may provide guidance to all or any tourism stakeholders thinking about harnessing the potential that cultural heritage routes offer for enhancing the attractiveness and competiveness of destinations.
Video recordings of the next International Congress on World Historic and Civilizations Routes will undoubtedly be uploaded early in a few days.