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Nago City to Host International Tourism Development Forum

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-10-19

An International Tourism Development Forum will take place from Friday, October 22nd to Sunday 24th at the Busena Resort Hotel in Nago City. The forum will be held under the auspices of the World Trade Center Association (WTCA) through its Committee on Tourism and Cultural Exchange.

WTCA, a non-profit organization, was founded as a trade promoting association in 1970. The organization consists of 336 regions from 101 member nations in the world. In 1997, WTC Okinawa was established as the fourth WTC association in Japan.

The forum will be the first international tourism conference in Okinawa that strictly focuses on the current situation of Okinawa’s tourism industry and with the view of identifying its undeveloped resources.

During the forum, the participants will be divided into four committees: cultural, historical, ecotour, and resort. These groups will make presentations, go through actual guided tours with local nationals, and hold working sessions to examine the effects of globalization on cultural identity, historical awareness, and the environment. They will also evaluate Okinawa’s tourism strategies and techniques.

The conference is mainly organized for tourism professionals, officials, and academicians. However, public, private organizations, and citizens are welcome as well. "The conference is mainly for the tourism professional…,” John Dickson, the bureau chief for WTC Okinawa said. “So, I say, all people on Okinawa should take part in it for we are all in the business of promoting Okinawa here,"

About a hundred participants, including 30 tourism industry specialists from twelve countries, are expected to assemble at the Nago forum. The forum will come up with an Okinawa Declaration, bearing a resolution on the significance and value of tourism to the preservation of culture, mutual respect of all peoples and world peace. The declaration will be presented to the United Nations.

"There are so many beautiful places and things in Okinawa, but the image of Okinawa for many people in the world is still that of the island of U.S. Military bases,” Dickson said. “This will be a great opportunity to see Okinawa’s tourism industry in another light… from an international point of view.”

Those who wish to attend the conference should contact the conference office at 873-0531.

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