Rajan Datar, the award winning TV broadcaster familiar to BBC UK and BBC World viewers, will MC opening and closing sessions at the inaugural Global Leaders Summit presented by the World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage.The summit in Valencia, 24-25 September, will address issues and opportunities where tourism, culture and heritage meet – and often collide: the management of tourism and the presentation of culture in tourism settings around the world. Mr Datar is well qualified for the summit role, having travelled the world professionally for 30 years, most famously in his capacity as reporter for the BBC’s The Travel Show where he created 30 travelogues from dozens of destinations across five continents. He is also the presenter of two long running regular shows on the BBC World Service, including “The Forum”, which specialises in global culture and history. Mr Datar has also been a culture provider in the shape of his nine piece ska and reggae band, Maroon Town, which has toured the world – from Kingston, Jamaica to Kazakhstan, from Brazil to Brunei. They have played in large venues and conducted workshops in schools, prisons and drug rehabilitation centres. “In my professional and personal observations, culture has been the very lifeblood of tourism,” said Mr Datar. “And with that comes a responsibility for all of us who partake, or are stakeholders, to protect its health. The traveller’s natural curiosity will always be drawn to artistry, indigenous customs and heritage in any destination — and their memories will be defined by these elements.” New insights from culture and heritage tourism leaders and operators, not often on the conference circuit, will be shared with a summit audience, which will include representatives from government ministries, tourism boards, leading private sector decision makers, tour operators, corporate sponsors, community representatives, NGOs and media. Mr Datar will be joined on stage by leading lights from the culture and heritage tourism sector such as Anne Grady, Head Cultural Heritage Advisor for the EU Parliament; Imad Barrakad of the Morocco Agency for Tourism Development; Karl Burrows of Tourism New Zealand; Zina Bencheikh of Intrepid Travel; and Judy Kepher-Gona the founder of Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, to name a few. “This summit is designed to find solutions with many speakers being key decision-makers,” said Mr Datar. “I am keen to gain insights from them and find answers on why certain situations have developed which threaten cultural tourism.”
He said: “I see the summit as a unique opportunity to highlight and yes, fix, long term issues, which of course include threats posed by climate change, social marginalisation and short-sighted government policies.”The summit is being hosted by Visit Valencia. Registrations for the conference are open to all. Simply visit WTACHGLS.com to register and for full programme details.
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