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Global Debate: 'Culture, Tourism and COVID-19: Recovery, Resiliency and Rejuvenation', 28 September 2020

Monday, 28 September 2020
access_time 2 min read
Colosseum, Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura (Italy) © PYTY Shutterstock | PYTY

The ‘Culture, Tourism and COVID-19: Recovery, Resiliency and Rejuvenation’ global debate takes place on 28 September, 2020, 13.30-15.00 CET. The debate is organized by UNESCO, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

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The debate is the first event in a series that will tackle key issues relating to tourism, heritage management and COVID-19. The debate will focus on new models of sustainable tourism development for strengthening heritage resiliency and managing the COVID-19 crisis. The discussion will focus on the following questions: 

  • The global disruption to travel caused by COVID-19 has created an opportunity to reflect and reimagine new economic and social models for cultural and nature-based tourism. What are the most important changes that will need to take place within the heritage and tourism sectors to ensure tourism benefits destination communities, incentivizes protection of nature and heritage and promotes local culture?       
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the vulnerability of cultural and natural heritage that rely on tourism for survival and the need to strengthen networks, policies and systems to protect communities. As the situation evolves, which approaches and responses to the crisis have been the most effective to date, and why?
  • How can a new healthier relationship between tourism and heritage sites be sustained going forward?
  • How can we share and scale up the most innovative approaches to low impact tourism in World Heritage sites?
  • How can we change behaviour, and make sustainable tourism practices mainstreamed in the operation of World Heritage sites, so that we really do build back better?

The debate will be moderated by Mechtild Rössler, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and will feature the following speakers:

  • Ernesto Ottone R., Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO
  • Fergus T. Maclaren, President, ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee
  • Joseph King, Director of Partnerships and Communication, ICCROM
  • Mizuki Murai, World Heritage Conservation Officer, IUCN
  • Anna Pollock, Conscious Travel
  • Suleiman Farajat, Chief Commissioner, Petra Archaeological Park
  • Sisa Ntshona, CEO, South Africa Tourism Board
  • Katherine Cheng, Head, Global Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Relations at Expedia Group, Inc

The debate takes place within the framework of the new Task Force established by UNESCO together with the Advisory Bodies to the 1972 World Heritage Convention (IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM) in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Task Force is working to ensure that the recovery of tourism is sustainable, aligns with UNESCO's values and strengthens the resiliency of communities and World Heritage properties.

The audience will have the opportunity to pose additional questions to the panel of global experts via YouTube chat.