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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Rendez-vous, du 10 au 13 mai,dans la cité des santons

by C. D., regional correspondent

Meeting on 10-13 May 2006 in Aubagne, the “home of the santons”

Translated by Patrick Bolland

Translated Sunday 7 May 2006, by Patrick Bolland

After Naples, Mexico City and Belgium, the World Congress on Social Tourism will be setting up camp from the 10th to the 13th of May in Aubagne, 15 km east of Marseilles, in the region of the world-famous hand-crafted figurines known as santons, unique to Provence.

Coming from all corners of the globe, 450 delegates, together with representatives of numerous ministries, will be meeting in Aubagne from 10 to 14 May 2006. “Within our area, we want to promote social tourism- this is one of our priorities”, according to Alain Belviso, president of the district of Garlaban-Huveaune-Sainte-Baume, north-east of Marseilles.

Éric Svoboda, president de International Association of Social Tourism (IAST) and member of the International Bureau of Social Tourism (BITS) points out: “The Congress is the occasion where all organizations involved in promoting social tourism come together, but also official institutions, such as UNESCO, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and NGOs to chart the development of social tourism in the different countries.” He added, “Tourism that is ethical and equitable is currently in fashion. Private operators have taken it up. Yet social tourism is the precursor in all this. BITS has, for instance, set up a section in Africa where ethical tourism is being developed. This should be included in the discussions on this theme”.

This Congress, organized with support from the regional tourism committee of the PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) authority and departmental tourism committee of the Bouches-du-Rhône will mark the 10th anniversary of the “Montreal Declaration” (1), a ten-year programme to develop social tourism. The Aubagne Congress should also conclude with a declaration for the next ten years.

[translator’s note]

The 1996 “Montreal Declaration” asserted the right to leisure time and holidays for “all human beings” as part of the struggle against social exclusion: tourism should create more socially responsible citizens; the rights of all workers in the host communities must be recognised; development must be sustainable; and tourist-operators must work with the host communities to achieve these goals. “The word "social" may evoke an increased sense of solidarity and fraternity, and be a source of hope for those many people in the world today who still have no leisure time”, the Declaration states. See: www.bits-int.org/declaration.asp?lang=en

Original French text on l’Humanité’s Website:

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