Weaving creativity and culture into tourism initiatives can play a pivotal role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), fostering economic growth and preserving cultural heritage, Deputy Minister of Culture, Vasiliki Kassianidou, said on Tuesday. 

Kassianidou was addressing the 1st International Creative Event – The Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI) within the framework of the European Project “Let’s create an SDGs heritage – SDG Cultheritage”, at the Lefkara Conference Centre.

The Deputy Minister of Culture said that “it is essential to acknowledge that at the core of sustainable development lie culture and creativity”. Indeed, she continued, “by weaving creativity and culture into tourism initiatives, we can play a pivotal role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), fostering economic growth, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting environmental sustainability”.

She added that essential collaboration between the Deputy Ministries of Tourism and Culture has led to significant synergies, especially in showcasing cultural heritage.

“Our rich cultural heritage, promotes Cyprus as an attractive holiday destination worldwide. However, as we advocate for culturally sensitive destinations, our commitment to sustainability remains unwavering” Kassianidou emphasized, adding that this commitment involves prioritising responsible behaviour and the preservation of cultural and environmental resources, ensuring they remain intact for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

“Our commitment to preserving Cyprus’s cultural and natural heritage is a cornerstone of our efforts, aligning with the principles set forth in the International Conventions of Granada and Florence,” said the Deputy Minister of Culture.

She also said that archaeological sites and monuments transcend their historical significance to become dynamic centers for education, sustainability, and community engagement.

She explained that in this endeavor emphasis is given, among others, in transforming museums and sites into educational hubs that advocate for sustainability and green development, promoting cultural tourism as an enlightened form of travel, deeply rooted in environmental values and respect for local culture, thereby fostering a new type of tourist mentality.

The Department of Contemporary Culture, on the other hand, she continued, is actively engaging with cutting-edge concepts and initiatives in Smart Tourism and Smart Destinations, focusing on the interplay between cultural heritage, digitalisation and sustainability.

She furthermore explained that, currently, the Department is drafting a statement of principles on policies and strategies guiding the development, planning, management, operations and promotion of smart cultural tourism in Cyprus with an emphasis on contemporary culture.  Kassianidou underlined that, this initiative seeks to encourage sustainable, responsible tourism policies and actions, merging contemporary culture with innovation and cohesion.

She also added that the Cyprus Handicrafts Service (CHS) embodies “our commitment to safeguarding traditional crafts while propelling them into the future through innovation, supporting our local artisans and craftsmen in adapting to the global market’s dynamics”.

The Deputy Minister of Culture said that all departments and services within the Deputy Ministry, actively adhere to initiatives like the ‘ICOMOS International Charter for Cultural Heritage Tourism, which emphasizes enhancing cultural heritage protection and community resilience through sustainable tourism management.

Kassianidou stressed that while notable progress has been achieved in weaving sustainability into cultural and tourism initiatives, it is evident that more efforts are needed to fully achieve the goals. “The path toward sustainable development is continuous, demanding our commitment to adapt and grow,” she said.

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