Conference Day Two: Thursday, 2 November 2017

8:00 AM - 8:45 AM Start of conference registration with welcome refreshments

8:45 AM - 8:50 AM Welcome remarks from IQPC

8:50 AM - 9:00 AM Opening remarks from the conference Chair and start of conference

Star attraction: The ultimate guide to becoming a world-class heritage site

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM Do you have what it takes? The criteria selection to becoming a world-class heritage site

Anna Paolini, Director, UNESCO
A world heritage site is landmark specifically recognised by UNESCO. Once a site is recognised by UNESCO, it gains a worldwide identity and brings international attention to the site which in return ensures economic benefits to the region.
With a number of UNESCO bids coming from Middle Eastern companies, this session will discuss the criteria selection of world heritage sites as well as demonstrate case study examples from around the world.


Anna Paolini


9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Promoting a sustainable future: Sustainable and responsible planning for cultural tourism

Eng. Shatha Al Mulla, Head of Research and Studies Unit, Architectural Heritage and Antiques Department, Dubai Municipality
As the Middle East region develops their tourist industry, it has a significant impact on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. The need for sustainable and responsible planning in tourism is essential.
This presentation will delve in the 3 main pillars of sustainable tourism: environmental, economic, and socio-cultural. It will further demonstrate the advantages and principles of sustainable tourism as well as case study examples of those promoting best practice in sustainable tourism.

Eng. Shatha Al Mulla

Head of Research and Studies Unit
Architectural Heritage and Antiques Department, Dubai Municipality

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM The protection and management of Middle Eastern priceless treasures

Amel Chabbi, Head of Building Conservation Unit, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
In order to become a world heritage site, it is essential to maintain and restore the sites’ original values. Uncontrolled tourism can have negative impacts on Middle Eastern heritage sites and make it lose its value. It is essential to protect the cultural and natural heritage site to ensure the site is maintained, the tourist experience is pleasant and the local economy is boosted as a result.
This session will demonstrate how to maintain these sites through adequate strategies, trainings and practices to guarantee protection of the site whilst ensuring that visitors can benefit from the sites existence.

Amel Chabbi

Head of Building Conservation Unit
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM Networking break and refreshments

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM Project case study: Resilient ecological tourism: Combining environmental planning and cultural heritage conservation

Steven Velegrinis, Associate Principal, Perkins+Will
For tourism management, assessing and planning resilience is of growing importance, placing tourism under pressure to respond and adapt to various factors. Adaptation and transformation processes to changing environmental, social and economic conditions require initiatives by various tourism actors. It is essential that different functions in the tourism supply chain are able to assess, plan and manage resilience over time.
This session will discuss assessing and planning of resilience in cultural tourism as well as case study insights and new projects coming up in Oman, UAE, Turkey and Morocco.

Steven Velegrinis

Associate Principal

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM How technology is taking tourism to the next level

Tourism activity is actively being shaped by technology.
If heritage and cultural sites want to compete with more commercial tourist destinations they must understand how to manage innovation and technology that comes as a result of cultural change. This session will demonstrate how technology is the key to business growth and can ensure your site is more accessible, more inclusive, more creative and more ambitious.

Global perspectives: Learning cultural strategies from overseas

12:30 PM - 1:00 PM The Italian perspective: Learning from home of cultural tourism

Fabrizio Puglisi, GCC Tourism Expert, Luiss Guido Carli University
Italy has a total of 51 sites inscribed on the UNESCO list, making it the country with the highest number of World Heritage sites that are present across the entire country. This historic-artistic heritage includes hundreds of archaeological sites and over 3000 museums that can all be visited. To promote this amazing cultural heritage and increase the tourism flows to the Italian cultural destinations, the Italian, GCC Tourism Expert, Fabrizio Puglisi will give us an overview of what has been done in the Middle East from the public and private perspective.

Fabrizio Puglisi

GCC Tourism Expert
Luiss Guido Carli University
The European’s smart cities initiative aims to promote cultural heritage as a pillar of smart cities. It recognises the importance of smart tourism and highlighting the values of digital cultural heritage to enhance the potential of smart cities in the field of culture and tourism. This session will demonstrate how cultural tourism and cultural heritage is an aspect central to futuristic cities bustling with technological innovation, smart devices and data transfer.

Professor Dimitrios Buhali

Head of Department Tourism and Hospitality, and Director of eTourism Lab
Bournemouth University

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM Balancing entertainment considerations with cultural identity in cultural attraction

As tourism flourishes, entertainment is an important source for attracting tourists. The lack of entertainment facilities at a cultural site may reduce the site’s tourist potential.
Integrating entertainment will also provide a number of economic benefits. It is important not to lose the Middle Eastern identity through the use of entertainment at cultural sites. This session will discuss how to integrate entertainment whist preserving the identity of the heritage and cultural sites whilst demonstrating how to benefit commercially from the attraction.

Across the Middle East region, there is an unparalleled programme of investment and development to grow tourist numbers and revenues. With large investments in cultural tourism in the Middle East this session will discuss what the future holds.
  • How will cultural tourism evolve by 2020 in the Middle East
  • How much will cultural tourism contribute to the region’s economic growth by 2020?
  • Lessons learned: What can the Middle East learn from other countries who are successfully integrating culture and tourism



Nigel Eckersall

Design and Development Director
VE Experts

Steven Velegrinis

Associate Principal

Fabrizio Puglisi

GCC Tourism Expert
Luiss Guido Carli University

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM Lunch and networking

3:30 PM - 3:30 PM End of conference

The published programme is correct at time of printing. However, given the seniority of our speakers and the nature of their roles, speakers may subsequently substitute or remove themselves from the programme. This is always regrettable, and we will always try to replace the speaker with a speaker with equivalent insight. For the most up-to-date programme, please visit the event website.