Cyprus hosts 1st International Conference on Religious Tourism
Nicosia, Oct 19 - Cyprus is now hosting the first International Conference on Religious Tourism. It is taking place in Nicosia.
The conference, the first of its kind, aims at bringing together stakeholders and organizations involved in the field as well as focus on key issues and provide networking opportunities for interested parties.
It is organized by the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) in cooperation with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with delegates from Cyprus, Greece, Britain, USA, Luxembourg, Norway, Tibet, Egypt, Mexico, Israel, Japan, the Czech Republic, Spain, Russia, Portugal and Syria.
In his inaugural address, Cyprus Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Industry Mr. Antonis Michaelides noted that the conference will promote religious tourism and reassured that the government of Cyprus will systematically work in this direction.
He also called upon all delegates to exert their influence in order to help save the religious history of the churches and monasteries now under Turkish occupation, which are part of the world heritage and are under a serious threat from the Turkish army.
In his speech, CTO President Mr. Panos Egglezos said that religious tourism should respect all religious sites of every country and added that CTO's aim is to make Cyprus an example of religious tourism.
On behalf of the General Secretary of the World Tourism Organization, Mr. Luigi Cabrini, who is the Regional Representative for Europe, described the conference as very important and congratulated Cyprus for its initiative.
In his address on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew and the Holy Synod of Cyprus Bishop of Tremythous Vasilios said that the motives of religious tourism should not be economic or commercial, but rather spiritual and should contribute to combating fanaticism among religions.
The intensive, information-filled program topics to be covered include the development of special interest tourism, best practices, new trends and the respect and protection of places of worship.
The program will also include technical visits to sites of religious and cultural significance in Cyprus.