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UNWTO & UNESCO World Conference in Cambodia discussed "Living Cultures & Creative Industries"

UNWTO & UNESCO World Conference in Cambodia discussed "Living Cultures & Creative Industries" ( One of the key sessions at the recent UNWTO and UNESCO during the World Conference in Cambodia was one about “Living Cultures and Creative Industries." This key session was moderated by Jordi Tresseras, the Director at the Laboratory of Heritage Cultural Tourism and Creativity (LABPACT), University of Barcelona in Spain.

The panel of participants for this open forum discussion were: Alain St.Ange, the Minister for Tourism an Culture of the Seychelles; Amareswar Galla, the Executive Director at the International Institute for the Inclusive Museum of Denmark; Hansjurgen Schmotzer, the Projects Director for Creative Austria; Helena Egan, the Director of Industry Relations at Trip Advisor in the UK; Jaesung Rhee, the Executive Vice President for International Tourism at Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) of the Republic of Korea; and Xu Jing, the Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific at the UNWTO.

The tabled discussion points stated “Tourism is about experiencing the world and its living cultures. Creative industries such as music, cinema, crafts, architecture or design, play an increasing role in creating a unique visitor experience, while tourism can foster innovation and the exchange of experiences that grow the creative industries and provide socio-economic benefits to local communities."

Before the open debate, Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, was the first to take the floor, and he spoke about the “Seychelles Experience” as he stated that for the Seychelles, tourism remained the pillar of its economy. “Seychelles, with its 90,000 inhabitants today has a Ministry of Tourism and Culture that ensure that the island's culture sits firmly at the center of the tourism development of the islands," said Minister St.Ange before adding that, “Through the Department of Culture in that Ministry, we have developed a comprehensive Creative Industry Policy. This is the framework that is implemented to provide the resources necessary to support artists and to expand the island's creative industry. To bring culture and to place it at the center of development of the Seychelles tourism industry, we embarked on developing events and are creating an Agency CINEA, the Creative Industry and National Events Agency that will enable Seychellois and visitors to the islands alike to experience the Seychelles authenticity through appreciating creative and performing artists," the Seychelles Minister said.

Minister St.Ange went on to say that the creative industry was the avenue to develop community-based tourism and that the island's national events opened up the potential and visibility of what Seychelles has culturally. “Through this approach we put into place our Cultural District Award Scheme thus taking tourism to grassroots level through the cultural assets we have. To achieve such a drive for Seychelles we appealed to the Seychellois to work with us to claim back our tourism industry," the Minister said before he said, “But what is culture? For Seychelles, it is the base of our tourism industry. Culture is what every country has that is branded with for each and every one of us by our very own DNA. Because when you say culture you say people, our people. No one, no country has the right to be ashamed of its culture, because this would mean being ashamed of its people. But today as we go out to protect our culture, we are realistic that no island can be an island on to itself. So we go out and cooperate regionally to help create a new tourism region. We are part and parcel of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands, the East3Route that brings together KwaZulu Natal of South Africa, the Kingdom of Swaziland, Mozambique, the Seychelles, and the Indian Ocean Commission amongst other bodies," Minister St.Ange said.

He went on to add, “Through our Department of Culture, our Heritage Section guards what we had and our Monuments Board protects what is considered national assets, and to make these visible our tourism industry is given the responsibility and mission of the need and in so doing help to generate some of the needed budgets."

The Seychelles Minister then said that during an earlier session of the conference he appealed to UNESCO to work with countries of the world to help protect assets of national and international values. “Yesterday I appealed to UNESCO to understand us. In Seychelles, we have our VENN'S TOWN at Mission Lodge which is an important tangible asset of ours, and we have our MOUTYA Dance through its Tam Tam Drums that remains one of our popular intangible assets," before explaining these assets in great details before adding, “Such assets are important to us, but also important to the world at large. One of the stated assets reflects the macabre part of our history, yes, but Africa and Europe both find themselves in this historical site of Seychelles," Minister St.Ange said.

When the Seychelles Minister touched more deeply on tourism he said: “Tourism is fragile, this we all know. This people's industry is volatile and is impacted by the slightest adversity. Today our main source market is Europe. But when their economy gets a sneeze, we immediately catch a bad flu accompanied by a severe fever. So fighting to remain visible always is important and which is why we have entered the world of events to put our culture as a key USP for our marketing campaign," said Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles.

The Seychelles Minister St.Ange was being accompanied to this UNWTO&UNESCO World Conference by Benjamine Rose, his PS for Culture.


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