The UNWTO has welcomed new Saudi legislation
aimed at protecting the country’s antiquities and heritage as well
as to give the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA)
the mandate to ensure its preservation.
Heritage conservation is today fundamental to
safeguard cultural legacy but also to promote and preserve key
tourism assets which are central to differentiating destinations
all around the world.
UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai,
congratulated Saudi Arabia for adopting legal mechanisms for the
protection of its historical sites, contributing to ensure that
tourism and culture continue to develop to the benefit of both.
“Cultural tourism – the movement of travellers motivated by the
mosaic of art forms, heritage sites, festivals, traditions, and
pilgrimages – is growing at an unprecedented rate. These are
positive news as the nexus between culture and tourism translates
into important income generation for destinations but also for
conservation,” Mr. Rifai said. “Nonetheless, such growth needs to
be managed in a responsible and sustainable manner through
adequate public policies and legislation.”
The Saudi law on antiquities, museums and built
heritage approval coincided with the recent inclusion of the
Jeddah Historical Area in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list,
recognizing the old city’s cultural value and unique model with
its distinguished urban heritage.
Historic Jeddah, the Gate to
Makkah, was among the 26 new inscriptions decided at the 38th
session of the World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), held in Qatar
(15-25 June 2014).
“UNESCO’s decision highlights the Kingdom’s
historical position and its rich heritage and shows the depth of
the Kingdom’s culture and interaction with human civilizations
throughout the centuries,” said the President of the Saudi
Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), Prince Sultan bin
The important linkages between tourism and
culture are fundamental for sustainable tourism development and
will be at the heart of the upcoming international UNWTO/UNESCO
World Conference on Tourism to be held in February 2015 in
Cambodia, the first ever to bring together Ministers of Tourism
and Ministers of Culture to debate new models of partnership.
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