United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Regional Organization (UCLG-MEWA) Council Meeting of Culture and Tourism Committee 2019-2022 was hosted by Girne Municipality.
UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman, Girne Mayor Nidai Güngördü, and Silivri Mayor Volkan Yılmaz, Nevşehir Mayor Rasım Arı, Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality General Secretary Mürsel Sabancı and Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality General Manager İbrahim Erhan Emiroğlu attended the meeting. The meeting was also attended by the Union of Turkish Cypriot Municipalities (KTBB), Güzelyurt Mayor Mahmut Özçınar and KTBB Secretary General Hüseyin Köle. The Mayor of the Municipality of Tabriz due to the earthquake which occurred in Iran and Mayor of Beit Jala Municipality of Palestine were unable to attend the meeting.
Strategy plans and road map were discussed in the meeting; there was agreement on joint cultural heritage, intangible heritage and alternative tourism task force, events calendar, promotion via social media, including underwater cultural heritage conservation workshop and cooperation with the issue of ancient cities of Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean were discussed.
In his speech at the meeting, Mayor of Girne Nidai Güngördü said that he believes that the committee, where knowledgeable and experienced municipalities come together, will be successful. He added our country and also Turkey’s historical and cultural heritage is very rich with cultural heritage project partners to work with and this wealth will be protected and used in promotion of tourism. Güngördü stated that a common calendar can be prepared covering many subjects such as culture and art activities.
Silivri Mayor, Volkan Yılmaz, stated that culture and history is entrusted to us and should be maintained with historical textures, he expressed that culture should be protected and tourism should be developed. Volkan Yilmaz added that Silivri is a city that has a history of 7,000 thousand years.
Nevşehir Mayor Rasım Arı stated that balloon tourism in Nevşehir overtook cultural tourism and that the same situation has been experienced in Northern Cyprus where gambling tourism has preceded history and cultural tourism. Rasım Arı said that 6 municipalities should engage in joint lobbying activities in the fields of culture and tourism.
KTBB and Güzelyurt Mayor Mahmut Özçınar pointed out the importance of having a municipality from our country in an international organization. Özçınar explained that the old cities and the artefacts should be protected as they earned income from tourism, he added that historical monuments from the Ottoman period had been sold by Southern Cyprus. Özçınar said that he would like to discuss concrete projects through printed publications at the next meeting.
In his speech, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General Mehmet Duman stated that contributions can be made from the development agencies. He said that concrete cultural heritage, intangible heritage and alternative tourism task force issues will be initiated.