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Overview and gallery of the I Meeting on Tourism as a means of sustainable development

On May 30, 31, and June 1, 2022, the First Meeting on Tourism as a Means of Sustainable Development was held at the University of Cuenca. The event left many impressions and learnings to all attendees.

On the first day before the inauguration, the Belgian delegation was received by the Department of International Relations of the University of Cuenca (Maria Isabel Eljuri and Monica Idrovo). Then the inauguration of the event was celebrated by the Rector of the University of Cuenca (Maria Augusta Hermida), the Dean of the Faculty of Hospitality Sciences (Ana Lucia Serrano), and promoters of the project (Dominique Vanneste and Freddy Espinoza).

Afterward, Dominique Vanneste (KU Leuven) gave a lecture entitled "Cultural heritage and rural tourism: a (mis)match?" in which she reflected on the links between cultural heritage and rural tourism. In addition, a round table discussion entitled "Public policy for the integration of cultural heritage in the sustainable development of communities" was held with the participation of different public and academic actors related to cultural heritage (Joaquín Moscoso, Felipe Manosalvas, Tamara Landívar, Marcos Sempertegui, Lucía Fernández). The moderator was Jorge Amaya, a researcher at the University of Cuenca and the University of Azuay.

In the afternoon, the Belgian delegation visited the authorities of the University of Cuenca (lobby of the rectorate), where they exchanged some impressions of the project. Then, Karina Farfán (PREIT-tour) presented the short film of the project "Fostering

a platform for research-based education to support sustainable development trough

Tourism in the Cajas Massif Biosphere Area (CMBA)" includes a summary of the work developed between students, teachers, authorities, and participating communities. This audiovisual work was developed by PREIT-tour, Gabriel Art, L2 Studio, Ayllu Llakta and Daniela Tigre. Then, Jennifer Pando (former tourism student and participant of the project developed by PREIT-tour) presented tourism and its relationship with culture and local development, taking as a case study the Shuar community Tsuer Entsa.

Also, there was a round table discussion moderated by Byron Alvarado between former students and members of communities and projects, such as Baños (Esthela Loja), Economuseo Municipal del Sombrero (Gerardo Machado and Sayausí (Jhonny Peñaloza). At this table, they discussed the perspectives from the communities, the relationship between students and the community, and the process that PREIT-tour developed.

On the second day, Thérèse Steenberghen (KU Leuven) gave a lecture called "Landmark chambers and passageways for tourism networks development," in which she showed how tourism products could be developed from the development of networks. Subsequently, a round table discussion called "Tourism as a means of sustainable development" was generated, in which the public sector (Angelica Leon and representative of the Ministry of Tourism), the private sector (Hugo Banegas Johana Llanes), and academia (Freddy Espinoza) participated. They discussed sustainability as a paradigm used to generate discourse rather than apply it. Ronal Chaca, research professor at the Universidad del Azuay, moderated the round table.

In the afternoon, Paulina Mejía presented a paper on social capital and associativity in the sustainable development of tourism. In addition, María Augusta Carrión and Teresa Serrano presented gender and tourism development in rural areas. They were tourism students and participants of the project developed by PREIT-tour. Afterward, they joined members of the communities of 6 de Julio (Elvis Rodriguez) and 23 de Noviembre (Fabricio Orellana) to discuss their impressions of the presentations developed and the experiences they have had with PREIT-tour.

The last day was the turn of Arie Stoffelen (KU Leuven), who developed a conference called "The role of borders in using tourism for regional development: lessons from Europe ."He showed us how border regions could work around tourism. He also showed us how one country's success could mean the success of another country. Then it was time for Monica Huasca (KU Leuven), who gave a lecture entitled "Geographies of peace and violence. A look from the post-conflict tourism in Colombia". She showed the situation of some Colombian territories regarding tourism and the guerrilla situation. Then, Xavier Contreras developed the conference called "Does rural tourism exist in Ecuador? From there, he took an in-depth look at community-based tourism in the country based on his experience as a researcher and his expertise with FEPTCE and LABemprende.

In the afternoon, Mateo Arias and Andrea Jarama showed the conflict situation between Guayas and Azuay concerning tourism development. In addition, Geovanna Abril and Jessica Tenecela showed how development and tourism have specific problems when they relate to each other, taking as a case study the community of Migüir. Then they (former tourism students and participants of the project developed by PREIT-tour) participated in a round table with the community of Migüir (Ronal Quiroz and Lorena Parra). The objective was to discuss the project and their experience from different perspectives. Afterward, the attendees were thanked for their attendance and the support of those who made this event possible. Finally, the dance group U-FOLK gave a contemporary dance demonstration in the auditorium for all attendees. The event was closed by the Vice Rector of Research of the University of Cuenca (Monserrath Jerves).

Photo credits: PREIT-tour

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