International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism

WELCOME FROM THE CHAIR

The ICOMOS International Committee on Cultural Tourism held its annual meeting at the 11th General Assembly in Sofia. As the new chairman, I did not have any "agenda" of my own for this meeting -- only the hope that we would be able to develop a sense of direction for the next three years. The committee decided that revisions to the present Charter of the committee were needed, especially since the Charter was nearly 20 years old.

A well drafted charter should be able to withstand the test of time, and I feel as though our Charter has served the committee and cultural tourism well through the years. However, as the former chairman, Robertson Collins, has pointed out, times have changed, the nature of tourism has changed, and the ability of cultural resources managers to influence corporate and governmental decisions has changed. All the more need then to take a fresh look at the Charter and see what revisions might be necessary to make it relevant to today's needs as well as the future.

Those present in Sofia at the committee meeting decided to go ahead with a process for evaluating and revising the Charter. A schedule is being developed, which will use the 1999 General Assembly in Mexico as the target for adoption of a revised Charter. Although three years may seem like a long time, the requirements for reviews by the National Committees (twice) and the Executive Committee make the timing more difficult. We also decided to seek input from the tourism industry itself to the draft. Hopefully this will assure that the final document is well grounded, both from a cultural resources perspective, and also in the realities of market driven tourism.

Other important actions taken at the Sofia meeting include a new approach to our annual meetings. At each such meeting, we will strive to have additional activities that will benefit the locality, such as a one or two day workshop, conference or task force. With a group of experts gathered in one place, the benefits of this expertise should not be confined to committee business. Mr. Sophocles Hadjisavvas of Cyprus will be preparing plans for the meeting in fall 1997. His goal is to have a one day business meeting for the committee followed by a two day workshop/seminar. More details will be forthcoming.

Another important direction for the committee is the establishment of on-going relationships with representatives of the tourism industry. We cannot talk merely to ourselves any longer. Since the second half of the committee's name is "tourism," it is time we involved them in our work. The Charter revisions offer a good opportunity to begin establishing contacts. To this end, I have requested that committee members contact at least three to five representatives who are active in tourism and are willing to work with them. They can be tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, cruise ship operators, airline representatives, etc. The draft revisions will be sent to the people on this list to gain their input. It is therefore critical that you begin to find and establish these relationships by the beginning of the new year.

I have contacted fellow US/ICOMOS member Peter Stott who has been maintaining the ICOMOS Web site, and we will begin working on a Web site for the committee. For those of you with access to the Internet, this will be a new way of communicating our purpose, goals, and activities. Please contribute your ideas to help construct this new site.

It was a pleasure for me to attend the 11th General Assembly and to meet the members of the committee who were there. I look forward to working with you over the next three years.

Hisashi B. Sugaya, AICP


From the November 1996 US/ICOMOS Newsletter dedicated to the work of the Cultural Tourism Committee