By Daniel Chigundu
THE 7th United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Global Submit on Urban Tourism is expected among other things to focus on the sustainable future of Urban Tourism.
The Summit which is jointly organized by UNWTO and the Seoul Metropolitan Government with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea, the Korean Tourism Organisation and the Seoul Tourism Organization is scheduled for the 16-19 of September in Seoul Korea.
In a statement, UNWTO said the summit will focus on urban tourism and its potential for more sustainable and inclusive cities and will be aiming to set out a vision looking to 2030 for this rapidly-growing tourism segment.
“The Summit, the first of its kind in North-East Asia, is designed to encourage new strategic approaches to the challenge of a growing tourism sector and its impact on urban destinations, through sharing of innovative ideas and experiences.
“Innovative approaches to competitiveness in urban destinations, technology’s impact on urban tourism, rejuvenation of cities, and increasing inclusion in city development are among the topics to be featured,” said the statement.
Although many urban areas in Zimbabwe such as Harare, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi, and Gweru have a rich history, the country has failed to effectively package them as attractive tourism destinations.
For example, Harare has various houses that were used by nationalists during the time of the liberation struggle which can be packaged under the Township Tourism but the project has failed to materialise despite several attempts.
Other countries such as South Africa are actually benefitting from Township Tourism and attracting many tourists who come to see the houses used during their quest for independence by such people as the late Nelson Mandela and others in the townships.
Meanwhile, BBC Travel Show lead presenter Rajan Datar is pencilled to moderate a high-level panel: Urban Tourism in 2030” with ministers and mayors from around the world.
This year’s edition will feature B. Joseph Pine II, author of the best-seller ‘The Experience Economy’, who is known for first using the term to describe the major shift in motivation for people to undertake many economic activities, including travel.
Other planned speakers include city mayors and representatives of tourism administrations from destinations such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cape Town, Osaka, San Sebastian, Singapore and Seoul, companies such as MasterCard, Google and Amadeus, and the World Bank.
The Summit also embraces the growing segment of youth travel through the UNWTO Global Youth Summit on Urban Tourism side-event (18 September).
Seoul is a world-class urban tourism destination, with tourism sites ranging from full heritage sites, including traditional palaces or markets, to state-of-the-art architecture and museums.
Recent urban regeneration projects have seen an oil depot turned into a culture park and increased tourism interest to venues used for 2018 events the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and inter-Korean summit.
Seoul as host destination will feature its fair and inclusive tourism initiative in the conference programme, promoting the importance of building inclusive cities for all.-