The Sultanate of Oman hosted the 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations which took place from October 10 to 12, 2010 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Muscat. The country's Ministry of Tourism organized the event in collaboration with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, a post-graduate training and research centre in the UK's Leeds Metropolitan University. Minister of Tourism Dr. Rajiha Abdul Amir Ali hosted the Conference together with Dr. Harold Godwin from the Centre who acted as co-chair.
The Conference discussed topics previously unaddressed in responsible tourism conferences and presented real-world experiences. The participation of prominent international organizations such as UNWTO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provided a broad global perspective on the future of sustainable tourism. The forum discussions focused on four interrelated themes: 'Tourism, Livelihoods, Local Economic Development and Human Resources;' 'Responsible Tourism in a World of Finite Resources;' 'The Responsible Tourist, Tangible and Intangible Heritage;' and 'Responsible Destinations and Marketing.'
"Oman's hosting of this prestigious international tourism event reflects the country's commitment to sustainable tourism development and its emphasis on the delivery of socio-economic benefits to local people while preserving and enhancing cultural and natural heritage. It provided a great opportunity for stakeholders including the government and private sectors as well as academic institutions and decision-makers to share ideas, discuss new developments and set new directions for principles and practices related to the development of responsible tourism," said Salem Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Promotions, Oman Ministry of Tourism.
Around 500 participants from around the world joined international and regional tourism organizations and various international experts during the conference. Government officials, heads of tourism companies, senior tourism experts and representatives from universities, colleges and research centres also attended.
Oman's main objectives for the forum were to contribute to the establishment of a general framework and relevant policies for responsible tourism in cooperation with international experts, to review and discuss the responsible tourism strategy of Oman, specifically its effective planning and management and its role in achieving economic development and the conservation of the Sultanate's environment and cultural heritage, and to enhance the international status of the Sultanate in general and the position of its tourism sector in particular.
Registered delegates who attended the exhibition had the opportunity to see the latest and best available technologies and services for managing tourism responsibly. They were provided with pre- and post-conference tour options specially prepared for them to discover the natural beauty and rich heritage of the Sultanate of Oman.