Co-organized by the UCLG-MEWA and the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT) and held under the auspices of Eyyübiye Municipality, President of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Tourism, UCLG-MEWA Forum on Sustainable Tourism and Local Development took place with the participation of nearly 250 representatives from various countries including Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Morocco, Iran, Syria and Libya.

Advocating that sustainable tourism approaches should be supported with a resilient economy, UCLG-MEWA Committee on Tourism provided a platform for all relevant stakeholders to come together and review the economic development strategies.

Speaking at the opening of the Forum, Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General, noted that the development of tourism, which is one of the most important components of development, will only be achieved if we adopt the approach of “responsible tourism”, which will eventually contribute to the environment protection and local culture.

Following the speech of Secretary General Duman, Mehmet Ekinci, Mayor of Eyyübiye and President of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Tourism, put remark on the tourism potential of the cities in the MEWA region and assessed the current situation in this regard.

During the Forum, Economic Development and National Strategy Plans for Tourism, Tourism Potential: Current Challenges and Solution Proposals, Contribution of Gastronomy to Economy, Urban Tourism and Smart Destinations and many other thematic sessions were held.

Reminding the decisions taken in the 3rd Tourism Council in 2018, Bülent Akarcalı, one of the speakers and moderators of the Forum and the Former Minister of Tourism, underscored the need for strengthened and empowered Ministry of Culture and Tourism and a special charter for tourism. He further underlined that research and development teams should be established under Ministry and the solutions proposed here should be presented to the local governments.

Following thematic sessions, the 2nd Meeting of the UCLG-MEWA Committee on Tourism was held. In the meeting, participants reviewed the administrative affairs of the committee, discussed the suggestions and adopted the Program of Activity for the period of 2018-2019. Committee members presented their technical reports on the potential of tourism. With the new membership requests, the number of committee members increased from 35 to 46. The host municipality of the next meeting will be announced soon.

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