(Chair: Eugen SCHERER, Austria )
Cultural tourism has long been established as a means of regional development, since Pausanias wrote his “Description of Greece” describing history and architecture of cities for the traveller, and Roman tourists roamed the Mediterranean region. “Have the pier repaired and arrange the feeding of the sacred crocodiles”, wrote the provincial governor to the mayor of an Egyptian village along the Nile, as Gaius Memmius, Roman senator and his spouse were approaching the place on their tour of Egypt. Would they later proudly tell their dinner-guests, how they had watched those dangerous animals so close by ? They no doubt left some good money behind, and – would that shaky pier have been repaired after all without those prominent visitors from the rising power across the sea ? It was an investment in touristic infrastructure, without being called that way. Senator Memmius may have turned from “people who stare” into “people who care”, as Ms. Sue Millar, Vice-President of ICOMOS, expressed it in a seminar of the Assembly of European Regions on Cultural Tourism. The specific quality of cultural tourism lies in the relation between relaxation and a self-imposed learning-process of the cultural tourist. He thus extends the local interest from a mere gastronomical investment into the sphere of historical, architectural and artistic-cultural conscience, the potential of which reaches from financial investment into the existing cultural heritage overarching the historic and the contemporary dimension alike. Nontheless this process requires control by the sciences involved as much as a strong governmental care to avoid negative impacts on the heritage itself as well as all other aspects influenced by mass-tourism.
The ICOMOS Charter defines Encouraging Public Awareness, Managing the Dynamic Relationship, Ensuring a Worthwhile Visitor Experience, Involving Host and Indigenous Communities, Providing Benefit for Local Communities and Responsible Promotion Programs as the guiding principles of its Tourism Charter. The Charter furthermore “promotes,“
- that one of the major reasons for any form of conservation is to make the significance of the place accessible to visitors and the host community, in a well managed manner (!). Furthermore,
- that both the conservation community and the tourism industry must work cooperatively together to protect and present the world’s cultural and natural heritage, given their mutual respect for it and their concern for the fragility of
And not to forget the fact, that aside from all profitable functions of the cultural heritage there still remains its own independent spiritual and human value.