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CTO turns to religious tourism October 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tourism.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are organising the first International Conference on Religious Tourism (ICORET 2006) in Nicosia next week.

This first-of-its-kind conference will be held at the Hilton Park Hotel on October 19-21 and aims to bring together stakeholders and organisations involved in the field as well as focus on key issues and provide networking opportunities for interested parties.

An array of renowned speakers from all over the world, experts in the field of religious tourism will be participating. The intensive, information-filled programme 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 programme will also include technical visits to sites of religious and cultural significance.

Up to date information, including the conference programme and online registration is available at www.icoret.org .

ICORET 2006 is expected to be a reference point for tourism professionals such as national tourism authorities, tour operators, destination management companies (DMCs), travel agents, and consultants dealing with religious and cultural tourism as well as national, local and religious authorities interested in developing this type of tourism in their region.

The underlying perspective of the conference is global, but with a particular focus on similarities and differences between regions of the world, representing various phases of development, systems, cultural, societal and environmental conditions.

The expected outcome of ICORET 2006 is to build stronger ties between tourism authorities, travel agents, communities and religious sectors, and to devise approaches to move towards a more truly integrated way of thinking about religious tourism; a holistic approach to a complete offering with sustainability at the centre. This is an approach that will help policymakers and business professionals, religious authorities and civil society to address the complex issues around them more effectively.

According to a CTO announcement, the conference delegates will be able to learn about how to promote synergies among authorities and agents promoting religious tourism; to utilise Best Practices in product organisation and promotion of religious tourism; to position religious tourism as a special form of tourism; to derive sustainable results for stakeholders involved in religious tourism; to maintain religious tourism as a focal point of international tourism.

Delegates will also be expected to develop this industry in their respective area according to new trends in religious tourism development; to help promote, protect and respect places of worship; to better understand the challenges and potential of religious tourism and to network and exchange views among various stakeholders, experts, practitioners and decision makers in religious tourism development and management.

Cyprus is expected to set the example as Byzantine churches of Cyprus with their important architecture, iconography, mosaics, murals and rare icons, the chapels and shrines of the countryside, the monasteries speak for the intense dedication to traditions and the close interconnection of art with religious worship through the centuries.

Visitors to Cyprus also have the opportunity to come across buildings and places of worship belonging to other doctrines and religions which co-exist in a continuous dialogue promoting the rare historic and cultural palimpsest of the island.

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