ISTANBUL, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations conference on Wednesday urged tourism representatives across the globe to create more "inclusive partnerships between tourism and culture" to ensure sustainable development of the sector.
The third world conference on tourism and culture in Istanbul, organized by the UN World Tourism Organization and the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, drew ministers from 32 countries as well as tourism and culture stakeholders.
During the three-day event, culture was highlighted as one of the key factors driving the growth of tourism, with recent studies showing that cultural tourism is growing at a faster rate than global tourism.
The conference, under the theme of "For the Benefit of All," aimed to ensure the gains are shared by all parties involved.
"We are living in a period in which cultural tourism is expanding rapidly, forcing sector representatives to produce innovative tourism ideas," said Firuz Baglikaya, chairman of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies.
"These ideas are vital to sustainability in tourism, which in the end contributes to the economic growth of the countries," he told Xinhua.
Addressing the conference, Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy said tourism has an undeniable contribution to the national economies as "40 percent of all the travels in the world are tourism-oriented."
The minister said Turkey has started to benefit from its development of tourism by promoting cultural interactions.
Turkish travel agencies have attributed significant importance to the country's UNESCO World Heritage sites.
"Cultural heritage attractions have seen a boost in their appeal thanks to technological advances that make them more accessible, better understood and promote them to ever larger audiences," said a press release.