Advancing Heritage Preservation: Day Two Highlights from the “Opportunities for Heritage” Conference

The second day of the “Opportunities for Heritage” international conference on 25 February 2024 at the German University of Technology in Oman was rich with discussions on the preservation and management of cultural heritage.

Keynote speaker Valéry Freland, Executive Director of ALIPH, opened the day with a focus on the role of heritage protection in peacebuilding. This was followed by a panel on “Heritage Reconstruction and Communities,” where speakers discussed the impact of heritage in crisis situations, emphasizing its role in maintaining identity and aiding in social healing.

The session on “Heritage: Governance, Investment, and Finance” brought together experts to explore the economic aspects of heritage conservation, highlighting successful models of public-private partnership in site restoration and adaptive reuse. The day continued with a discussion on “Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites,” where speakers addressed the balance between tourism and preservation, stressing the importance of community benefits and sustainable practices.

In addition to panel discussions, the conference featured focused scientific dialogues on tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with topics ranging from Oman’s soft power and traditional crafts to the challenges and opportunities in heritage digitalization.

Another highlight of the conference was a captivating session on Heritage Digitalization, steered by Professor Dr. Lorenzo Cantoni. This session gathered specialists from around the globe to explore how technology can aid in the preservation of cultural heritage.

The day concluded with insights into historic urban heritage, where researchers shared findings on enhancing visitor experiences in historic settings, the role of historic hotels in cultural tourism, and the integration of natural landscapes into urban planning for conservation and revitalization purposes.

During the day-long panel discussions at the conference, parallel poster sessions were conducted, offering a deep dive into the preservation and sustainability of cultural heritage. These sessions featured cutting-edge research and initiatives from global experts, with two presentations particularly standing out for their innovative approaches and implications.

It is worth mentioning that the “Opportunities for Heritage” conference, held at the German University of Technology in Oman, aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among international experts on preserving cultural and natural heritage.

Under the patronage of His Excellency Salim Al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism in Oman, and in partnership with key regional and international organizations, the conference seeks innovative approaches to heritage conservation and sustainable development.

The event, spanning from 24 to 27 February 2024, emphasizes the transformative power of technology and innovative solutions in facilitating the coexistence of heritage preservation and modern development.

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