The World Tourism Organization and the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Bulgaria jointly hosted the International Congress on World Civilizations and Creative Tourism held from the 29 November – 1 December 2016 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
According to a statement by the body, the Congress discussed how creative tourism can play a significant role in safeguarding and promoting tangible and intangible heritage as well as in generating socio-economic benefits.
It said in 2015, almost 1.2 billion international tourists travelled the world and UNWTO forecasts continued growth in the years to come. UNWTO estimates that cultural tourism accounts for around 40% of all international tourist arrivals as per the report ‘Tourism and Culture Synergies’.
It stated that the conference addressed the issue of how world civilizations can be brought back to life through the collaboration with creative industries – such as architecture, design, arts, technology and science – while contributing to sustainable tourism development.
A high level debate moderated by CNN’s Max Foster, with 20 ministers of tourism from around the world to discussed how effective partnership models can be developed to contribute to safeguarding and promoting world civilizations, while creating socio-economic benefits for local communities.
In 2015, Bulgaria received 7 million international tourists generating US$ 3.1 billion in exports. It is expected that this year the country, whose population is around 7 million, will welcome more than 8 million international tourists – up from 6 million in 2010. These results reflect the commitment of Bulgaria to tourism development, including the creation in 2014 and for the first time of a dedicated Ministry of Tourism.