Tourism promotes intercultural understanding, Secretary-General says

Tourism promotes intercultural understanding, Secretary-General says

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Tourism can play a key role in advancing understanding among cultures, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Tourism can play a key role in advancing understanding among cultures, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

“In a global environment marked by rising intolerance and cross-cultural tensions, often exacerbated by the economic divide between nations, tourism can foster spiritual and cultural respect among and between peoples, while creating economic opportunities to benefit disadvantaged populations,” he said in a message to the International Conference on Tourism, Religions and the Dialogue of Cultures.

The three-day Conference, which is taking place in Cordoba, Spain, has been convened by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which became the world body’s newest specialized agency in 2003.

“The universal longing for peace and mutual understanding, coupled with the legitimate aspiration for prosperity and economic development, are common values of humanity shared by all societies,” Mr. Ban said.

Among those attending the event is Jorge Sampaio, the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, which brings together leaders, institutions and civil society to try to reduce fear and suspicion and overcome prejudices and polarizations that have emerged between Islam and the West, especially in recent years.

Also participating in the Conference is Federico Mayor Zaragoza, a former Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).