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Support for the annual seminar of the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development"

Tourism represents an important but double-edged challenge for World Heritage Properties, which is the subject of ongoing discussion through initiatives and programmes launched by the World Heritage Centre. In 2012, in order to encourage a sustainable approach, the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee (Saint Petersburg, 2012) adopted the "World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme" that represents a new approach centred on dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders, and where heritage management and tourism development are combined for the purpose of integrated management of the territory.

The France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement participated in this international discussion, firstly by organising an expert meeting on "Tourism and World Heritage sites", held on 6 to 8 March 2008 at the Royal Saltworks of Arc et Senans (France), and also, since 2010, by supporting the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development" to organise one day-seminars on sustainable tourism. These seminars were held mainly at the UNESCO headquarters and were highly appreciated by site managers, as it gave them a platform to exchange ideas based on theory and practice.

In 1998, the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and its Institut de Recherche et d'Etudes Supérieures du Tourisme (IREST), in collaboration with UNESCO, created the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development". The purpose of the Chair is to promote a comprehensive system of research activities, training, information and documentation that may contribute to the formulation of cultural tourism strategies to support sustainable development, ensuring the long-term conservation of sites, participation of local communities in projects and also realising the benefit of tourism, while facilitating dialogue between cultures. The Chair's activities also contribute to local, regional and inter-regional cooperation between internationally renowned researchers and professors, and the researchers and professors of the university. Subsequently, in 2002, at UNESCO's request, the UNITWIN-UNESCO network for "Culture, Tourism and Development" was created.

Since 2010, the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development" has organised annual seminars on the various links between the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List and tourism.

These seminars were addressed to several stakeholders: heritage managers and specialists (site managers of properties inscribed on the World Heritage List, the French Ministry of Culture, heritage architects, environmental officers); tourism managers and specialists; mayors and elected representatives of World Heritage cities; researchers and academics; PhD candidates and students; specialised journalists.

These seminars were organised by the Association des biens français du patrimoine mondial (French association of French World Heritage sites), ICOMOS France and the World Heritage Centre in the framework of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, and depending on the years, by Cités-Unies. The France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement, with the support of the French Ministry of Culture, provided technical support to these annual meetings, by participating in developing the programme and suggesting topics, identifying good practice and case studies, and promoting exchanges between the World Heritage site managers. The programmes and some of the seminar proceedings published by IREST are available online.

The 1st seminar of the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development", on the theme of "World Heritage Cities in France and Tourism: Protection, Management and Enhancement" was held on 27 May 2010 at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France. (The programme and the seminar proceedings are available online).

The 2nd seminar of the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development", on the theme of Monitoring and Evaluating Tourism at World Heritage Sites: Questions and Tools", was held on 30 May 2011 at UNESCO in Paris, France. (The programme and the seminar proceedings are available online).

The 3rd seminar of the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development" and the UNITWIN-UNESCO network for "Culture, Tourism and Development", entitled "World Heritage and Tourism Destination Management" was held on 9 October 2012 at UNESCO in Paris, France. (The programme is available online).

The 4th seminar of the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development" and the UNITWIN-UNESCO network for "Culture, Tourism and Development", which focused on the theme of "Visitors and Residents at World Heritage Sites" was held on 22 October 2013 at UNESCO in Paris, France. (The programme is available online)

The 5th seminar of the UNESCO Chair for "Culture, Tourism and Development", which focused on the theme of "Tourism and Economic Diversification at UNESCO World Heritage Sites", was held on 22 December 2014 at UNESCO in Paris, France. (The programme is available online).

Strategic objectives
  • Conservation
  • Communication