Tourism 'can unite cultures'

A United Nations conference has stressed the importance of tourism in uniting cultures and societies.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is holding a conference in Cordoba, Spain, underlining the important part that the travel industry can play in bringing different cultures, societies and religions together.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon said that he strongly supported the work of the UNWTO and backed the organisation to promote peace and mutual understanding through responsible and sustainable tourism development.

"Tourists and visitors can become the connecting thread between cultures, bring economic development to remote or depressed regions and reduce prejudice, distrust and hostility," he said.

Francesco Frangialli, UNWTO secretary general, said that tourism is more than simply an economic concept.

"It shares with the great religions its environmental, social, ethical and cultural content," he explained.

The three-day meeting, which concludes on October 31st, is the first ever conference on this issue and brings together public and private stakeholders, religious leaders from all faiths and academics from over 80 countries.

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Tourism 'can Unite Cultures'