Egyptians celebrate World Tourism Day
World Tourism Day festivities got underway yesterday in the city of Aswan with a series of events celebrating Egypt holidays and the tourism sector. The 2011 theme Tourism - Linking Cultures was the focus of the debate at the High Level Think Tank.
The city of Aswan kicked off the celebration of World Tourism Day two days ago, on 27th September as experts in the travel and tourism industry visited the Egyptian city to take part in the festivities and events under the 2011 theme - Tourism - Linking Cultures.
Industry professionals took Egypt holidays to the city to join in the events that are taking place in Aswan including the High Level Think Tank where tourism ministers and academics debated the role of tourism in today’s world at one of the most popular Egypt hotels on the River Nile, the Cataract Hotel.
Peter Debrine, a representative from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said: “Cultural heritage is ultimately an expression of the people.
“This expression is shared with tourists and it is this interaction which makes tourism such an important vehicle for promoting cross-cultural understanding.”
The debate was moderated by CNN TASK’s Anita Mendiratta and issues that were repeatedly highlighted included the importance of involving and engaging with local communities so that cultures could be linked through tourism.
The Managing Director of Songa Africa, Rosette Rugamba, said that tourism should be “personal and relevant” not just for visitors, but also for hosts.
The former Minister of Tourism of Indonesia, I. Gde Ardika, commented: “We need public-private-community partnerships in order to maximize tourism’s role in intercultural understanding.”
Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary-General, spoke about the relevance of hosting World Tourism Day in Egypt.
He said: “Egypt has played an extraordinary role in bringing peoples, cultures and religions together through tourism over thousands of years and it is this process that is at the heart of today’s celebrations.”
Speaking at the opening of the World Tourism Day celebrations, the Minister of Tourism of Egypt, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, said: “The importance of this day cannot be underestimated. Tourism has become one of the most important components of nations, economically, socially and culturally, and this needs to be recognised.”
Egypt is one of the world’s oldest tourism destinations and travellers from around the world have been taking Egypt holidays for decades to explore its fantastic archaeological sites and tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids, the River Nile, ancient temples, museums and the High Dam in Aswan.
Earlier this year, travellers were forced to cancel or postpone holidays to Egypt following the violent protests that took place throughout the county’s major cities. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian residents took to the streets and called for the overthrow of President Mubarak’s regime. The President stepped down from his role in February this year and ever since the country has been working hard to re-establish its image as a desirable and safe holiday destination.
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