Promoting international understanding through cultural tourism

Ton van Egmond, Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences

Ton van Egmond studied social psychology at Leiden University. He has been working in tourism education at NWIT / NHTV since 1974. In the early nineties he founded the international course called ITMC. Currently he is dedicating himself to sustainable tourism development, working for NHTV’s Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport (CSTT). He published six books about international tourism and sustainability issues.

During the nineties Ton van Egmond did a lot of tourism training and consultancy in Eastern Europe (Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia), Latin America (Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador) and Africa (Lesotho, South Africa, Tanzania, including Zanzibar). In 1999 and 2000 he founded a Macao-Europe Centre for Advanced Tourism Studies (Me-cats) with the Institute of Tourism Education in Macao, China, and the Hotelschool The Hague. This Centre is organizing training courses in advanced tourism studies in the Asian-Pacific region.

In 2000 and 2001 he conducted courses in sustainable tourism planning and development for civil servants and tourism teachers in Macao and Xi’an (China) en Guayaquil (Ecuador).

Ton van Egmond is conducting several projects related to sustainable tourism, both for governments like Dutch ministeries (Foreign Affairs, LNV (‘nature’), VROM (‘environment’)), development organizations like SNV and the industry like ANVR, the Dutch umbrella organization of the travel industry. For ANVR tour operators Ton van Egmond has designed a ‘product-oriented environmental management course’ (PMZ), including a digital on-line examination.

In 2003 and 2004 he conducted a project in Bali to develop a tool kit for sustainable package tours to long haul tourist destinations in Asia. Several students participated in this project. In 2004 he was also involved in a EU project called “Multi-stakeholder European Targeted Action for Sustainable Tourism & Transport” aiming at uncoupling growth of tourism and of transport related environmental degradation.

In January 2006 Ton van Egmond got his PhD, based upon the thesis Understanding the Tourist Phenomenon. An Analysis of ‘West’ – ‘South’ Tourism. Towards Sustainable Tourism Development Strategies for Third World Tourism Destinations. A large number of students has been involved in conducting field research. This thesis was published in the United Kingdom by CABI Publishing in May 2007. Title: Understanding Western Tourists in Developing Countries.

In March 2008 he developed a module on Management of Meetings and Conferences for the Universidade Católica de Moçambique in Pemba, Mozambique. In June/July 2008 he prepared train-the-trainer in tourism programs for the Ministry of Tourism in Morocco and STP Bali International.

PRESENTATION TITLE: “Understanding western tourists in developing countries”

Most African and Latin-American countries are dependent upon Western markets for the desired economic impacts. Many are in an unfavorable competitive position. The better destination areas understand their markets, the better are they able to develop the “right” products and to communicate with their markets effectively.


Anna E. Papanicolaou, PhD Candidate in Transnational Studies, University of Southampton, England

Anna E. Papanicolaou her first degree, in Psychology, from the University of St Andrews, Scotland and went on to obtain an MA in Transnational Studies from the University of Southampton. Papanicolaou is now a second year MPhil/PhD student in Transnational Studies and her research focuses on tourism and culture, particularly, on tourism to Mexico from the United States and on the role of guidebooks in the presentation/representation of Mexican peoples and Mexican culture.

PRESENTATION TITLE: “Representing Mexicans: tourism, culture and the myth of the nation”

At the IIPT conference, Papanicolaou presented a paper discussing the ways in which tourist discourses, encompassed within guidebooks, reproduce the myth of the nation – the idea that nations are made up of largely homogeneous culture, society, and people – a myth that is contiguously reproduced in arguments supporting the exclusion of immigrants by rendering them inexorably “other.” Papanicolaou’s focus was on guidebooks to Mexico and United States discourses opposing the legalization and socio-political inclusion of Mexican immigrants in the United States.


Ole Pihl, Department of Architecture and Design. Aalborg University. Denmark; Arkitekt/Graphic designer MAA

Ole Pihl works in architecture, graphic design and illustration, primarily with programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop, In Design and 3D MAX. After graduating in 1979 from Danmarks Designskole with a masters in graphical design, Pihl worked as a professional graphic designer in his own studio “Mand over bord” working with magazine layouts and concept CD covers, music videos, scenography and comic books. His work was featured in newspapers and magazines such as Extrabladet, Politiken, BT, MIX, and Blitz, and covers for EMI and
Medley Records.

Pihl has illustrated and written books for kids and teenagers. He has also worked as art director for LEGO with the magazine “Klick.”

In 1990, Pihl started on the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture at Professor Henning Larsen’s department of Architecture, Space and Form, and graduated from the architectural master program in 1997.

He has worked as an architect with buildings design and construction, urban plan and visualization.

In 1997, he made a TV program for the Danish television DR1 on future bridges to Copenhagen, discussing new possibilities in urban planning using bridges for traffic and pedestrian bridges.

In 1998, he wrote and drew a weekly series of articles to the newspaper Politiken on historic building in Copenhagen.

From 1999 to 2008, Pihl has been employed at Aalborg University Institute, first as a research fellow, PhD, in architecture and design, with a focus on virtual architecture and digital worlds and later as an associate professor in digital design and virtual architecture.

PRESENTATION TITLE: “Bridging the north-south: cross-cultural understanding in tourism; Queen’s Garden and Writer’s Path an experience of simultaneous visions”

1. Five squares of the five monotheistic religions introduced: Christianity, Buddhism, Islam Judaism and Hindu.
2. The two islands contain parts of Greek mythology and Shinto.
3 Nordic mythology is a part of the Crystal Forest
4. “The writer’s path” leads from east to west, introducing past and contemporary writing and storytelling through an online interactive multi-medial platform. You can walk the book or poem of the day or the writer of the week. The park becomes a book.
5. The lake and the canals are the core of the park and lead from east to west and further south.
6. The orangery and echo house introducing exotic plants and flowers. It is all about creating a representation of heaven on earth, but heaven has a counterpart and it has to be represented as well, but in a learning context that offers a place for reflection.

"The IIPT European Conference was a mind-opening conference. When I arrived, I expected it to be a bit naive in the focus on a peace theme, but I realized afterwards how extremely important the issue was and is. How we bridge the North and South should be a theme the next decade, for all of us, an interdisciplinary theme for: architects, planners, managers and tourists, because there is so much to learn and to do if we shall create a better and more peaceful world."


Sarah Siddiqi, CEO of Experience Bangladesh, Founder of Bangladesh Changemaker

Sarah Siddiqi is a visionary and a connector people. She is passionate about positively branding developing countries. She has co-founded Experience Bangladesh to put Bangladesh on the map by building an environment for creative learning, business exploration and “experience travel.” Experience Bangladesh puts Sarah’s philosophies regarding the “power of positivity” into practice. Sarah is focused on helping entrepreneurs in villages create abundance by making simple choices such as focusing on the business opportunities to meet the needs of the larger population in emerging markets. Experience Bangladesh has launched a social network called Bangladesh Changemakers that serves as the platform for the young entrepreneurs and students to launch their own projects for positive branding of Bangladesh.

This has served as an effective, open networking tool to connect a talent of doers whose passion creates opportunity. Sarah graduated from UT in Environmental Biology and Fine Arts. She sold her art throughout college, started three companies and played numerous roles from graphic designer to market strategist. After 10 years of experience, this mother of three went back to school to get her MBA in entrepreneurship schools in the country.

PRESENTATION TITLE: “Village Enterprise: economic development through the power of mass collaboration”

This is a platform for sustainable development in the villages where global students, corporations and villagers collaborate on development projects including establishing “experience” tourism, to empower themselves.

We are exploring ways of generating new business opportunities for emerging markets by creating bridges between students globally, students in Bangladesh, villages in Bangladesh and organizations involved in development work.

One of the forefront sources of revenue will be through “experience” travel opportunities, where students and corporate executives will help design, build and run the network of mud huts in the villages of Bangladesh. They will also work with the villagers to understand the emerging market better; villagers will gain access to global markets and find new products and services that empower both communities.

Village Enterprise: 1. Establish a sustainable tourism industry in the villages of Bangladesh through building a network of mud huts. 2. Generate supplementary business opportunities through collaboration in projects between global students, corporations and village entrepreneurs. 3. Empower the youth to gain real time experience and understanding of emerging markets. 4. Villager Entrepreneurs gain access to Global markets. 5. Explore offset trading of methane and carbon dioxide as a way to finance the Village Enterprise program.