|The northern Ninh Binh Province attracts a lot of tourists to visit the Bai Dinh pagoda. — Photo thegioianh.vn
NINH BINH (VNS) — The International Conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development officially opens in Bai Dinh Pagoda, Ninh Binh this morning.
Co-organised by the Viet Nam Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports, along with the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), this first-ever conference on spiritual tourism has attracted over 300 delegates from Viet Nam, Australia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Egypt, India, Iran, Myanmar, Malaysia, the US, France, Spain, the Philippines, Japan, Laos, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand.
Conference officials also welcomed Vice President of Viet Nam Nguyen Thi Doan, and Executive Director of UNWTO Zoltan Somogyi, among representatives from foreign diplomatic organisations in Viet Nam.
Opening the conference, vice culture minister of Viet Nam Ho Anh Tuan noted, "In this world, even though we are different in terms of skin colours and religions, the trust that we rely on are similar in regards to compassion, tolerance and humanity."
"It's the element of borderless-ness and the common nature of these trusts, together with spiritual beliefs, that bring about sympathy, the sense of sharing and the need for mutual understanding," Tuan said.
"These are not only needs, but also opportunities and a golden land for the development of tourism, in general, and spiritual tourism, in particular, which has a large potential."
During the two-day event, participants will focus their presentations and discussions on nature, the significance of spiritual tourism, cultural exchanges and responsible tourism, as well as the sustainability of spiritual tourism destinations.
Spiritual tourism is, in fact, a type of cultural tourism, with a cultural spiritual factor being the core concern in satisfying human spiritual demands.
With that in mind, spiritual tourism exploits cultural spiritual factors in tourism operations and relies on tangible and intangible cultural values.
In Viet Nam, the spiritual culture appeared very soon, characterised by many types of expressions. The most popular expression is to worship ancestors, grandparents, parents and relatives. In communities, local people worship the gods of the communities, heroes, and great masters who provide honour to the country. Because of the influence of religions, Vietnamese people build pagodas, temples, cathedrals, churches and practice prayer rituals.
The conference is expected to close tomorrow with an Ninh Binh announcement about spiritual tourism for sustainable development. — VNS