Travel Daily News International
Oct 30 2012

Lina Rokou - 30 October 2012, 08:53

The Conference debated topics ranging from the balance between the
integration of universal values in responsible tourism with the
preservation of core cultural values, to the protection of cultural
heritage sites and the links between tourism and intangible cultural

There is a need for increased recognition of tourism's role in
strengthening intercultural understanding and mutual respect. This
is one of the conclusions and calls for action reached by tourism
officials, heads of leading tourism companies and representatives from
international organizations meeting at a UNWTO conference in Armenia
(Yerevan, Armenia, 18-19 October 2012).

"The one billion travelers that cross international borders each
year translate into opportunities for intercultural dialogue and
understanding, tolerance and respect; the building blocks of universal
values," said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the
International Conference on 'Universal Values and Cultural Diversity
in the 21st Century: How can tourism make a difference?'.

Concluding the Conference, participants adopted the Yerevan Declaration
highlighting the role of tourism in advancing intercultural dialogue
and understanding.

"In line with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, the Yerevan
Declaration not only underscores the vital role tourism plays in
fostering intercultural understanding, it also sets out the steps
that all actors need to take to further strengthen this role," said Mr.


These steps include avoiding the over-commodification of local
cultural heritage, encouraging community-based tourism projects, and
the training of tourism staff on how to involve local communities in
tourism development.

On the occasion of the Conference, five of Armenia's most prominent
tourism companies signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO
Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Representatives of Armenia Marriott
Hotel Yerevan, ARM Hotels, Tufenkian Hospitality, the Union of Incoming
Tour Operators of Armenia (UITO) and Zvartnots Armenia International
Airports, signed the Commitment in the presence of the Minister of
Economy of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Tigran Davtyan, and Mr. Rifai.

In signing the Commitment, the five enterprises joined the ever growing
list of private sector companies and associations that have publicly
pledged to uphold, promote and implement the values advocated by the
Code of Ethics.

From: A. Papazian