Visit Valencia has partnered with The World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH) to host the world’s first tourism summit dedicated to the protection and preservation of culture and heritage in tourism destinations. The summit, called GS23, will take place in Valencia, Spain, on 24–25 September 2023.

The overarching aim of the event will be to raise awareness and ensure that the unique attributes, history, cultural assets and values that attract tourists to locations around the world are preserved on behalf of future generations.

“We want to show Valencia’s support for a new kind of tourism that is inclusive and cherishes the magnificent diversity of culture and heritage on our planet,” says Sandra Gómez, Vice Mayor of Valencia.

The agreement to host the global summit was sealed on behalf of WTACH by its President & CEO, Nigel Fell and Sandra Gómez, at the Visit Valencia stand at the World Travel Market in London, on 7 November.

“This inaugural summit is the expression of a movement whose time has come,” says Nigel Fell. “Our aim is to inspire good governance and for travel and tourism to be the protector of global culture and heritage assets, particularly for local communities, who are often the creators and custodians of those assets over millennia. Valencia is a leading light in this field, so it was a natural fit for WTACH to work with Visit Valencia to introduce our inaugural global summit.”

Valencia has a strong track record of breaking new ground on cultural matters. It is currently both European Capital of Smart Tourism 2022 and World Design Capital 2022. It has also recently been named European Green Capital 2024, due to its past and current achievements in the field of sustainable tourism, climate neutrality and green transition.

“The sensitive and wise preservation of both our past and living culture is very much a part of our ‘smart tourism’ ethos,” says Sandra Gómez. “Delegates will experience a dynamic city renowned for both its modern and traditional culture.”

GS23 aims to attract representatives from government ministries, tourism boards, leading private sector decision makers, tour operators, corporate sponsors, community representatives, NGOs, media and others.

The GS23 conference programme and information for delegates will be hosted on the WTACH website in the coming weeks.