Committee on Culture and Tourism

Priorities of the committee: 

  • Identification and preservation of all intangible cultural heritage and human communities that sustain them 
  • Protecting tangible cultural heritage against conflict, natural disasters, deliberate attacks and similar factors and identifying priority areas under threat 
  • Increasing local awareness and ownership of cultural heritage 
  • Taking initiative for underwater cultural heritage which is often overlooked 
  • Emphasizing the issues of cultural diversity and cultural rights with a sense of responsibility 
  • Promoting sustainable and alternative tourism models instead of traditional tourism 
  • Establishing an understanding of tourism that respects the values and resources of the local 

The MEWA region is also one of the leading tourism crossroads in the world with its rich cultural background and natural beauty. The main categories of tourism in the MEWA region are: coastal tourism thanks to its long Mediterranean coast line, the excess of the number of sunny days, its facilities; nature and sports tourism thanks to its streams and mountains; health tourism thanks to its progress in healthcare; cultural tourism with its historical sites and museums; and religious tourism thanks to centers of three major religions located in this region. The region, which is home to about 9% of the mobility of world’s total tourism (according to World Bank), is unable to fulfill its full potential although it has made some serious progress. 

Culture and tourism are two intersecting areas that must be coordinated. Expanding the role of culture in tourism is of great importance for both sustainability and qualitative development. In the middle of the 20th century, the establishment of facilities on the Mediterranean coasts gained a great momentum. The coasts of North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Europe underwent a major transformation with holiday packages and became the center of industrial coastal tourism. 

This transformation, which brings with it both possibilities and problems, also shaped the modern “tourist” identity. Culture-oriented “travelers” were replaced with consumption-oriented tourists traveling to coastal areas with economic opportunities. This makes the tourism as a serious industry branch, but also raises many problems. In this regard, the categories of alternative tourism, especially culture tourism, must be encouraged and adopted with the philosophy of “seeking qualified tourists and tourism.” Culture is influenced by two aspects in the interaction of culture and tourism: on the one hand, the fact that cultural assets are an important factor in the flow of tourists, and thus in economic development, forces local and national governments to take protective and incentive steps in this regard, on the other hand, this flow of tourists may cause harm to local culture and values and lead to their assimilation. 

Policy Paper of UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism 

Activities for 2019-2022 Period 




  • The Anthology of Documents on Culture, December 2020. 

UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism is one of the contributors to the Rome Charter which is considering accessibility to culture and cultural rights, and led by City of Rome and UCLG Culture Committee. 

President of the Committee: Girne Municipality (TRNC) 

Co-Presidents of the Committee: 

  • Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) 
  • Nevşehir Municipality (Turkey) 
  • Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) 
  • Tabriz Municipality (Iran) 
  • Beit Jala Municipality (Palestine)