On the 26th of April, the International Congress on Heritage Tourism Management in Inland Destinations, known as Cigestur – Cairo, was inaugurated in Cairo, Egypt. The event was created as an extension of the established and successful International Congress on Heritage Tourism Management, which originated at the University of Córdoba and will hold its third meeting in November 2023. International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS) participated as a co-organizer of this international event.
The inauguration was attended by high-level officials including the Spanish Ambassador to Egypt, Álvaro Iranzo Gutiérrez, the Egyptian Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ghada Shalaby, the President of the Sinai Institute of Tourism and Hotels, Mostafa Al Zaghl, and IICAS director, Dmitriy Voyakin. Representatives from the University of Córdoba, including Ricardo Hernández, coordinator of the International Congress on Heritage Tourism Management Cigestur-Córdoba, and professors María Ángeles Jordano and José Antonio Fernández, were also present as part of the organizing committee for Cigestur-Córdoba.
The event was held from April 26th to 28th at the prestigious Intercontinental CityStar Hotel in Cairo and featured an exceptional cultural and heritage program showcasing the rich heritage of Egypt. A total of 84 research papers were presented, with researchers from all five continents and 13 countries in attendance, including representatives from Egyptian universities. The congress included 53 research presentations, as well as three conferences by researchers from the University of Italy, the Middle East, and the Complutense University. Dmitriy Voyakin delivered a keynote speech titled 'Tourism System Based on Geocultural Branding in Central Asia: Achievements and Challenges.' The discourse centered on the concept of Geocultural branding, which pertains to the deliberate construction of a well-defined representation of a specific territory aimed at addressing socio-economic issues through the facilitation of external investment and enhancement of the local residents living standards. This process typically requires detailed (archaeological) research and the development of a strategic plan that leverages the region's natural and cultural resources for economic integration and tourism. Geo-cultural branding based on the study and popularization of historical and cultural monuments seems to be a much more promising process compared to the use of budgetary funds to create new national brands.
Additionally, two photography exhibitions were held, one showcasing heritage in Córdoba and the other featuring traditional Egyptian cuisine.
A round table was also held during the congress, with Professor Ricardo Hernández leading a discussion on the management of traditional cuisine in Córdoba and its relevance to Egypt. Professor Ibrahim Elassal, Dr. Ona Vileikis, and representatives from the University of Córdoba served as directors of the Congress.