Sri Lanka attends Int’l Dialogue on Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage

25 November 2017 12:39 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka was invited to be a panelist at the high level dialogue of the International Congress on Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage that took place in Fatima, Portugal this week.


The dialogue was moderated by Secretary General of UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai. Panelists included Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, Minister of Economy of Portugal, Minister of Tourism of Paraguay, Minister of Economy of Macedonia, Minister of Tourism of Brazil, Secretary General, Mediterranean Tourism Foundation and Former Minister of Economy of Lithuania. 


The Congress was jointly organized by UNWTO and Ministry of Economy, Portugal on occasion of the centenary of apparitions of Fatima (1917-2017). The Congress reflected on the potential and role of religious tourism and sacred places as a tool for socio economic and cultural development of destinations. Delegates also discussed the ways and means of preserving the sanctity, authenticity and integrity of destinations in the way that they are managed, promoted and made accessible to all.

Speaking as a panelist, Minister John Amaratunga explained how the four major religions have harmoniously coexisted alongside each other in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years. “We have Buddhist temples, Christian churches, Muslim mosques and Hindu kovils standing side by side in perfect harmony. Our people have a profound respect for each religion and the state itself has taken upon the role of safeguarding each of these religions andensuring peaceful cohabitation through the mechanism ofa dedicated ministry for each religion,” he told the congress.


The congress which is taking place during the UN designated ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’ also discussed how effective partnerships in sacred places could benefit local communities and encourage sustainable development and socio economic empowerment in the long term.


“The participants discussed the need for specific policies for conservation and management of religious and sacred sites taking in to account the distinct culture and history associated with such places,” noted Minister Amaratunga.

Speaking as a panelist, Minister John Amaratunga explained how the four major religions have harmoniously coexisted alongside each other in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years. “We have Buddhist temples, Christian churches, Muslim mosques and Hindu kovils standing side by side in perfect harmony. Our people have a profound respect for each religion and the state itself has taken upon the role of safeguarding each of these religions andensuring peaceful cohabitation through the mechanism ofa dedicated ministry for each religion,” he told the congress.


The congress which is taking place during the UN designated ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’ also discussed how effective partnerships in sacred places could benefit local communities and encourage sustainable development and socio economic empowerment in the long term.


“The participants discussed the need for specific policies for conservation and management of religious and sacred sites taking in to account the distinct culture and history associated with such places,” noted Minister Amaratunga.

 

 

 

 

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