Kazakh capital to host 2019 UNWTO Urban Tourism Global Summit on SDGs

NUR-SULTAN – The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Nur-Sultan Akimat (city administration) will organise the eighth UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism under the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations theme in the Kazakh capital Oct. 9-12. The summit will contribute to the UN New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Photo credit: 24.kz.

The summit will bring together representatives from national tourism administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders to exchange expertise and set a shared vision to advance urban tourism. Participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, innovations and inclusion of tourism in the urban agenda contributing to the progress of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The gathering will focus specifically on Goal 11, which is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Photo credit: unwto.org.

“According to the UN, in 2015, 54 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas and, by 2030, this share is expected to reach 60 percent. Along with other key pillars, tourism constitutes a central component in the economy, social life and the geography of many cities in the world and is, thus, a key element in urban development policies… Tourism is intrinsically linked to how a city develops itself and provides more and better living conditions to its residents and visitors,” reported the summit’s website emphasising the importance of the chosen topic.

The summit will focus on how developing smart cities can address urban challenges. The participants will discuss sustainability, accessibility, urban management, innovation and technology, stressing the importance of including tourism in the wider city agenda as a contributor to inclusive, resilient and sustainable urban development.

During the summit’s first day, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) will give a masterclass on trends in the convention industry, focusing on topics such as how to be a successful destination for meetings and organise sustainable meetings.

The second day will start with an opening ceremony including Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Altai Kulginov, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and other higher officials. The participants will adopt the Smart Cities, Smart Destinations Declaration. This will be followed by the mayors’ meeting, where “mayors from around the world will share insights on how to translate a smart city into a smart destination,” and other panel sessions and on the topic.

The summit’s last day will be dedicated to innovative and technological solutions in tourism, the role of public and private partnerships in technologies to develop the sphere and urban destinations’ accessibility through “increased awareness of the opportunities it brings and the emergence of new innovative solutions.”

The decision to have the event in Nur-Sultan was made at the seventh UNWTO Global Summit in Seoul last year. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and the then Nur-Sultan Akim (Mayor) Bakhyt Sultanov signed April 5 an agreement at the UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism in Lisbon, where the akim presented information about Nur-Sultan’s infrastructure.

The UNWTO is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism around the world. It promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to advance knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. The organisation has 158 member countries, six associate members and more than 500 affiliate members.

The UNWTO Global Summit is designed to encourage new approaches to tourism and its impact on urban destinations. Previously, the event took place in Seoul (2018), Kuala Lumpur (2017), Luxor (2016), Marrakesh (2015), Barcelona (2014), Moscow (2013) and Istanbul (2012).