National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis opens Centennial College Symposium on Heritage Tourism Strategies, June 9 & 10 in Toronto



    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - "Maintaining the integrity of culture is not an
act of sentimentality; it's not an act of nostalgia, it's much more than an
act of human rights. It's about maintaining the integrity of civilization
itself," declares National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence and cultural
heritage expert Wade Davis, who has established an international reputation as
one of the world's most articulate and influential advocates for the
preservation and protection of the world's cultures.
    Centennial College's one-of-a-kind Culture & Heritage Institute will host
the renowned Canadian scientist, author and explorer, as well as other
international experts in built heritage and cultural tourism, on June 9 and
10, 2008 at its second annual Cultural and Heritage Tourism Symposium.  The
event will be held at the Centennial College Residence and Conference Centre
at 940 Progress Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.
    This year's theme is "Built Heritage Preservation Challenges: Sustainable
Tourism Strategies". The event brings together tourism industry leaders,
cultural representatives and public policy officials in heritage, culture,
tourism and economic development who are seeking innovative strategies to
develop Canada's heritage sites for tourism. UNESCO has identified the
cultural tourism market to be the fastest growing sector in tourism, growing
at 15 per cent per year.
    "In spite of the unprecedented growth in this tourism sector, Canada has
been complacent about developing our cultural and heritage assets, relying
instead on our natural beauty, such as Jasper and Niagara Falls," says Shyam
Ranganathan, Dean of Centennial College's School of Hospitality and founding
Dean of the Culture & Heritage Institute. "This year's Symposium brings
together experts from Canada and around the world to explore strategies and
lessons from international success stories in built heritage in the United
States, Europe and Asia, to help position Canada to benefit from this growing
trend."
    "The Cultural and Heritage Symposium exemplifies the innovation
Centennial has become known for: creating exciting opportunities that can
transform lives and communities," says Ann Buller, President and C.E.O. of
Centennial College. "Through these discussions and by training the workforce
that will staff the growing global tourism market of the future, Centennial is
making positive contributions to the economic health of Toronto, the province
and the world."
    "Centennial's Symposium is both timely and relevant," says David
Whitaker, President and C.E.O. of Tourism Toronto, which is a sponsor of this
year's gathering. "It has never been more important to come together to
generate ideas and connections to support the growth of tourism and economic
development of this city."
    In addition to the Symposium and its existing programs in hospitality and
tourism, Centennial is launching a two-year diploma program in Cultural and
Heritage Tourism Management to start this September. It is designed to train
professionals who have a deep understanding of Canadian history, customs,
ethnicity and architecture and who are ready to work in this fast-growing
industry.

    Symposium Schedule:

    In addition to Davis' opening presentation on Monday, June 9,
    at 9:15 a.m., highlights of the Symposium include:

    
    Monday, June 9, 2008:

    -   Panel discussion on Built Heritage: Sustainable Models features
        panelists from North Carolina's renowned Biltmore Estates and
        Toronto's Elgin & Wintergarden Theatres.
    -   An address by Dr. Maria Amelia Paiva, Consul General of Portugal in
        Canada, who will speak about Portugal's thriving built heritage
        tourism industry.
    -   A presentation by representatives from the Acropolis Restoration
        Project in Greece.
    -   Monday evening features a reception hosted at the historic Guild Inn
        Gardens on the Scarborough Bluffs

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008:

    -   A keynote address by UNESCO Special Advisor Katherine Berg.
    -   Presentations on grassroots initiatives in built heritage
        preservation, protecting nautical heritage sites and sacred
        Aboriginal spaces.
    -   Sessions feature a diverse range of panelists, from The Canadian
        Foundation for Chinese Heritage Preservation, the Malian Association
        of Canada and Ontario heritage destinations such as Fort York and
        Discovery Harbour.
    

    A complete Symposium agenda is available upon request.


    Backgrounder

    Annual Symposium, June 9 & 10, 2008
    Culture & Heritage Institute

    SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY, TOURISM AND CULTURE and
    CULTURE & HERITAGE INSTITUTE (CHI), CENTENNIAL COLLEGE

    
    -   Centennial's Culture & Heritage Institute is a multi-faceted
        educational, training and community outreach facility dedicated to
        teaching the management of Ontario's and Canada's cultural heritage
        resources, and expanding understanding of the world's cultures and
        heritage.
    -   The Institute's Advisory Council involves industry leaders, including
        representatives from the City of Toronto, Ontario Arts Council, the
        hotel industry and cultural organizations.
    -   The School of Hospitality, Tourism & Culture offers exceptional
        hands-on programs, including Travel and Tourism Management, Tourism
        Administration, Hospitality Services, Accommodations Management and
        Hospitality Operations (among others).
    -   In Fall 2008, the School will offer a new two-year diploma in
        Cultural and Heritage Tourism Development, unique in Canada.
    -   450+ students are enrolled in full- and part-time programs at the
        School.
    -   The School operates a former hotel as a residence and conference
        facility, including Horizons Restaurant, providing hands-on
        experience for students serving the public.

    CENTENNIAL COLLEGE

    -   Four campuses located in east Toronto are home to eight Schools with
        programs in business, communications, community and health studies,
        general arts, English language studies, engineering technology,
        hospitality and transportation.
    -   Offers the unique "Signature Leaning Experience," designed to provide
        a holistic learning experience centred on diversity, social justice,
        environment and technology.
    -   12,000 full-time students enrolled in 100 full-time programs,
        including 3,000 apprenticeship students enrolled in 19 apprenticeship
        programs, plus 28,000 part-time learners enrolled in 1,200 continuing
        education courses.
    -   Nearly 1,000 international students studied at Centennial College in
        2007; partnerships with schools in India, China and United Arab
        Emirates, and authorized representatives in 15 additional countries
    -   90,000 alumni worldwide
    -   Diverse student and staff population, representing 100 ethnocultural
        groups and speaking more than 80 distinct languages.
    -   Ontario's first community college, founded in 1966.

    TOURISM : RECENT FACTS & FIGURES

    Source: Canadian Tourism Commission, except where noted.

    -   The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
        (UNESCO) has identified the cultural tourism market to be the fastest
        growing sector in tourism, growing at an unprecedented 15 per cent
        per year. (UNESCO)
    -   Cultural and heritage tourism represents the fastest growing segment
        of the Canadian tourism industry.
    -   New wealth in new places, such as China and India, is producing rapid
        growth in visitation from those points of origin. Travel to Canada
        from China reached a record high in 2006, growing 40% in two years.
        The greatest increase in activities for Chinese travellers was to
        visit a historic site.
    -   Tourism spending in Canada totalled $66.8 billion in 2006, a 6.5%
        increase compared to 2005. Canadian residents accounted for 75.3% or
        $50.3 billion while foreigners spent $16.5 billion or 24.7%.
    -   Foreign residents made 18.1 million overnight trips to Canada in
        2006.

    -   Employment in Canada's tourism sector reached 633,600 jobs in 2006,
        for an increase of 1.9% over the previous year.
    -   With a median age of approx. 40 years and an average retirement age
        of 60, 150,000 to 200,000 cultural workers will need to be replaced
        just to meet the current level of labour force demands in Canada by
        2027. Qualified tourism workers are cited as a limiting factor in
        current industry growth. (Sources: Statistics Canada Employment
        Survey & Ontario Business Conditions Survey, Ministry of Tourism,
        Ontario)

    -   In 2007, Toronto had a record 10,660,000 overnight visitors. (Source:
        Toronto Tourism)
    -   Visitors to Toronto spent more than $4.5 billion on hotels,
        restaurants, attractions, performing arts, shopping, taxis and
        meeting facilities. (Source: Toronto Tourism)
    -   Tourism to Toronto supports the employment of nearly 100,000 people.
        (Source: Toronto Tourism)
    

    Media contact: Kathleen Powderley, 416-803-5597 or
    e-mail powderley@primus.ca





For further information:

For further information: Media contact to arrange attendance &
interviews: Kathleen Powderley, (416) 803-5597 or e-mail powderley@primus.ca


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