IGCAT and its flagship Regions of Gastronomy Platform and Award was applauded at the 2nd UNESCO/UNWTO World Conference on Culture and Tourism, as a leading initiative fostering sustainable cultural tourism development. The World Conference, held in Muscat, Oman 11-12 December 2017, brought together world leaders including Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General, H.E. Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi, Minister of Tourism, Sultanate of Oman, Ms Eliza Jean Reid, First Lady of Iceland and good will ambassadors such as H.R.H. Princess Dana Firas.
Key topics from the conference covered tourism for peace, preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage, the role of urban and rural environments and protection of biodiversity as a core value to build sustainable tourism.
Conserving intangible culture as a means to protect the planet was the subject of the panel that IGCAT’s President, Dr. Diane Dodd took part in. She made the point that “supporting entrepreneurship, SME’s and the protection of traditional knowledge are all compatible with serving sustainable tourism.” The panel highlighted the need to bring different stakeholders into participatory processes; to empower local communities and build pride in local food and culture. It also raised important concerns about the urgent need to address biodiversity. Diane Dodd also reminded the audience that it is often lesser visible or economically developed regions that provide the most exciting and unspoilt treasure troves; and that these have the biggest potential to grow sustainable tourism initiatives.
A number of world regions expressed an interest in becoming a Region of Gastronomy and bilateral meetings were held together with Dr. Edith M Szivas, Executive Board member of IGCAT who also attended the conference. The two day event concluded with the draft Muscat Declaration being read to participants. Enormous thanks and respect were extended to the Sultanate of Oman for the generous hospitality and wonderful introduction to Omani culture.
About the European Regions of Gastronomy
The European Region of Gastronomy Platform and Award aim to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability, and stimulating gastronomic innovation. It provides cross-marketing opportunities and longer-term benefits. Being part of the European Region of Gastronomy Platform and bidding for the award brings a range of stakeholders together to confront development challenges in the region.
IGCAT is a non-profit organisation established in 2012 working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating, and supporting local leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets.
IGCAT is furthermore the official secretariat for the Region of Gastronomy Platform and provides the European Region of Gastronomy Award, the European Young Chef Award and the Innovative Food Souvenir Award.