We live in the age of travel.
Since the 1950s, when travel was reserved for a small elite, the number of international tourists has increased dramatically.
In 2013, wanderlust inspired more than one billion international tourists across international borders and an additional five to six billion domestic tourists to visit destinations in their own country.
This development has made tourism one of the leading socio-economic sectors of our time, accounting for 9% of global GDP, 30% of the total exports of services and one in 11 jobs around the world.
Humanity’s curiosity about cultural heritage is the element that truly differentiates one destination from another.
Today, cultural tourism – the world’s mosaic of art forms, heritage sites, festivals, traditions, and pilgrimages – is growing at an unprecedented rate.
The UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture, bringing together, for the first time, Ministers of Tourism and Culture will discuss how to harness the power of tourism and culture to alleviate poverty, create jobs, protect natural and cultural heritage and promote international understanding.
I look forward to exploring the answers to this issue together with UNESCO and all of you in Siem Reap - home to Angkor Wat and the perfect setting to build a new, sustainable partnership uniting tourism and culture.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased to have this opportunity to express support to the World Conference on Tourism and Culture – Building a New Partnership, organised with the World Tourism Organization.
I can hardly think of a more fitting place for this than Cambodia, and the stunning city of Siem Reap.
UNESCO is deeply committed to strengthening the links between culture and tourism.
Our goal is to create a positive dynamic between the two -- a dynamic that is mutually reinforcing, that works for sustainability and the benefit of local communities.
Our starting point is to safeguard culture under all its forms, from monuments to living heritage, encompassing traditions, festivals and the performing arts.
We do so, because culture is who we are.
It shapes our identity and is a means to foster respect and tolerance among people.
It is also a way to create millions of jobs and improve people’s lives, a path to strengthen mutual understanding.
This is why safeguarding cultural heritage must move forward with sustainable tourism, and I see this as the core message of this World Conference on Tourism and Culture.
This vision guides our efforts to promote culture as a driver and as an enabler of sustainable development.
This has never been so important at this time of change, when countries are shaping a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015.
I wish to thank each of you for your commitment to taking this forward.
Dignitaries, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen!
On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of the Kingdom of Cambodia, I would like to extend my warm welcome to all delegates from all over the world to the upcoming World Conference on Tourism and Culture which will be held from 04-06 February 2015 in Siem Reap Angkor-Home of the World Heritage of Cambodia-Kingdom of Wonder. .
This is the first ever and historical event to be jointly organized by the UNWTO, the UNESCO and the Royal Government of Cambodia. This event will bring together Ministers of Tourism, Ministers of Culture, Cultural and Conservation Experts, and Private Sectors in order to identify key opportunities and challenges for a stronger cooperation between tourism and culture, to discuss new partnership model and to identify policy recommendations for cross sector engagement.
I would like to assure you that Cambodia nowadays enjoys peace, political stability, safety, security and development in every sector including Tourism. We are ready to welcome and serve all delegates and visitors with standardized tourism services and products, our real Khmer cuisine especially the hearty smile of Cambodia people.
I strongly believe that the 2015 World Conference will open a new page of the era and be great opportunity for all participants to exchange experiences, visions, ideas, and key strategies for the benefit of the conversation and development of tourism and culture sectors.
Once again, to witness the contribution in sustainably conserving and developing tourism and culture, I would like to invite all Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen to attend this historical event.
Thank you! .
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