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‘Urban tourism’ is a major economic activity that stimulates local economic growth and social change due to its complementarity with other economic activities, its contribution to GDP, job creation, foreign exchange and services exports.

Tourism is a powerful engine for the local economic and social development of cities as it can also improve infrastructure, create a skilled labour force, stimulate local business entrepreneurship, develop public-private partnerships and attract other industries and services.

Tourism in the urban areas creates spatial dynamics for transforming the urban landscape through the rejuvenation of public space, public infrastructure and connectivity, development of local amenities and recreational facilities and hence builds a quality visitor experience while safeguarding and enhancing the quality of life for the local community.

A ‘2030 vision’ for urban tourism requires a new thinking to optimize the needs and expectations of the new customer and to facilitate inclusive economic and social growth, structural transformation and innovation by empowering local citizens. This vision must also address the changing dynamics of technology and its significant impact on the consumer behaviour as well as on the economic, social and spatial structures, modes of transport, new business models, governance and research tools for tourism.

A ‘2030 vision’ for urban tourism needs to focus on sustainability and competitiveness by putting in place a long-term vision and strategic planning. To achieve this, it is extremely important to address the ways urban tourism is planned, developed and managed, as well as how it is perceived by both visitors and residents. A strong, sustainable and inclusive ‘2030 vision’ for urban tourism can only be secured through dialogue, coordination, cooperation and partnerships between all the related public and private stakeholders and the civil society.

The 7th UNWTO Global Summit taking place in Seoul, a well-known smart urban destination, will bring together high level representatives from National Tourism Administrations as well as local authorities and related stakeholders, serving as a platform to exchange experiences and expertise to set a shared vision on urban tourism that embraces innovation, digital transformation and sustainability. Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum 2018 2018 will explore the ways to adopt a regional approach to tourism and economic and social development, and discuss ways to integrate local communities and other components into the tourism value chain. Also, it will be a platform to minimize the inconvenience of sightseeing in urban areas and seek ways to maximize positive impacts on both visitors and the community.

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