In­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity with cul­tural as­sets key for tourism – Zam­mit Lewis

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Dur­ing the In­ter­na­tional Congress on World Civil­i­sa­tions and Cre­ative Tourism in Sofia, Bul­garia jointly or­gan­ised by the Bul­gar­ian Min­istry for Tourism and World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNWTO), the Min­is­ter for Tourism Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis par­tic­i­pated at the High Level Meet­ing, mod­er­ated by CNN An­chor and Correspondent Max Foster.

The theme of the In­ter­na­tional Congress ad­dressed how tourism and cul­ture can bring to life the world civil­i­sa­tions in a more cre­ative way. Both tourism and cul­ture are key in safe­guard­ing and pro­mot­ing tan­gi­ble and in­tan­gi­ble her­itage as well as gen­er­at­ing so­cio-eco­nomic ben­e­fits for all stake­hold­ers. Dur­ing his in­ter­ven­tion, Dr Zam­mit Lewis opened his ad­dress stat­ing that the Dig­i­tal Age has had a huge im­pact on how cul­tural and cre­ative tourism are pre­sented to trav­ellers seek­ing the ul­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence. Dur­ing the past few years, al­most ev­ery­where in Europe has wit­nessed big ef­forts by pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions and pri­vate bod­ies for con­vert­ing the “phys­i­cal cul­tural her­itage” into “dig­i­tal”. The in­no­va­tive and suc­cess­ful des­ti­na­tion is the one which man­ages to cap­i­talise on the ad­van­tages of digi­ti­sa­tion and in­cor­po­rate them in its tourist of­fer.

In a global so­ci­ety which in­creas­ingly needs to un­der­stand its rich past to con­fi­dently face the fu­ture, the im­pact of an­cient civil­i­sa­tions on what con­sti­tutes con­tem­po­rary so­ci­eties is some­thing that needs to be pro­moted and com­mu­ni­cated. From the tourism per­spec­tive, such un­der­stand­ing can as­sist in fos­ter­ing greater hu­man un­der­stand­ing, re­duc­ing the prospects of con­flict whilst giv­ing due im­por­tance to the tan­gi­ble and in­tan­gi­ble her­itage which are the foun­da­tions of our tourism ex­pe­ri­ences, Dr Zam­mit Lewis said.

On the eve of the In­ter­na­tional Congress, the Min­is­ter for Tourism Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis to­gether with Bul­gar­ian Min­is­ter for Tourism Nikolina An­gelkova, UNWTO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Dr Taleb Ri­fai, the Jor­da­nian Princess Dana Fi­ras ad­dressed a press con­fer­ence, which touched upon the sub­ject mat­ter of the con­fer­ence and other con­tem­po­rary is­sues in Euro­pean tourism.

Dur­ing his visit in Sofia, Dr Zam­mit Lewis met Bul­gar­ian Prime Min­is­ter Boyko Borisov dur­ing a pri­vate meet­ing with the group of dig­ni­taries and tourism min­is­ters from var­i­ous coun­tries from around the globe.

Dr Zam­mit Lewis also had a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with the UNWTO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Dr Taleb Ri­fai. Two events to be held in Malta in May 2017 in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the UNWTO were dis­cussed. Dur­ing one of the oc­ca­sions UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics will be pre­sented for adop­tion by the Mal­tese travel trade. The Mal­tese Tourism stake­hold­ers and the UNWTO will be sign­ing this Code which is a fun­da­men­tal frame of ref­er­ence for re­spon­si­ble and sus­tain­able tourism.

The other event that will be com­ple­men­tary to the High Level Con­fer­ence dur­ing the Pres­i­dency of the Coun­cil of the EU, is a mas­ter class to at­tract the Chi­nese tourism mar­ket to Mediter­ranean des­ti­na­tions. This ini­tia­tive is timed to an­tic­i­pate the EU’s de­ci­sion to de­clare 2018 as the year for Euro­pean Union – China Tourism. The Malta mas­ter class will bring to­gether a range of prac­ti­tion­ers from in­dus­try in­clud­ing op­er­a­tors, air­lines, those in ac­com­mo­da­tion and other ex­perts. Dr Zam­mit Lewis said he be­lieved that Malta can play a lead­ing role in grow­ing Chi­nese Tourism to the Mediter­ranean re­gion as a means of re­vers­ing Europe’s per­sis­tent loss in lo­cal tourism mar­ket shares which needs to be halted and re­versed.

Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Dr Taleb Ri­fai ex­tended his in­vi­ta­tion to Min­is­ter for Tourism Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis to join UNWTO dur­ing the term of Malta’s EU Pres­i­dency at an event dur­ing the FITUR in Madrid in Jan­uary 2017 for the launch­ing of the In­ter­na­tional Year for Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment.

Dr Zam­mit Lewis men­tioned that Malta’s ob­jec­tive is to reach the two mil­lion tourist ar­rival mile­stone by the end of 2017, which is the fruit of hard work of in­no­va­tive ideas in im­prov­ing the tourism in­dus­try while im­ple­ment­ing new poli­cies.

In his con­clud­ing re­marks, Dr Zam­mit Lewis ex­plained that Malta’s tourism com­pet­i­tive­ness can only be sus­tained if growth is ac­com­pa­nied by the de­vel­op­ment of our hu­man re­sources. To this end, the Min­istry for Tourism has been en­gag­ing all em­ploy­ment-re­lated stake­hold­ers to se­cure their com­mit­ment to­wards mea­sures de­signed to en­hance the work­ing con­di­tions and the pro­fes­sional qual­ity of those work­ing in tourism.

Dr Zam­mit Lewis was ac­com­pa­nied by Malta’s Li­ai­son Of­fi­cer to UNWTO Les­lie Vella.

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