Roundtable on Tourism in Sudan at the Arabic Cultural House,
the “Divan”, of the embassy of Qatar in Berlin, September 27, 2018
Over the past five years, the concerted efforts of more than 40 international projects concerned with archaeological excavations, the conservation of ancient monuments, and the building of visitor centres, museums and touristic infrastructure, have proven to be a game-changer for the touristic landscape of Sudan. Sudan is now in a position to offer a much larger and denser network of well-managed sites than this was the case in the years before the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project. Through these developments, the value and attractiveness of Sudan for cultural tourism has risen dramatically and soon will be on par with neighbouring countries.
The objectives of this event were to inform German cultural tour operators about these new perspective regarding Sudanese cultural heritage and to serve as a platform for discussion between representatives of the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project, NCAM (National Corporation of Museums and Antiquities of Sudan), and the Sudanese embassy in order to further develop the touristic infrastructure of Sudanese cultural sites) on one side and the cultural tourism industry, on the other hand, over expectations and needs to make cultural tourism in Sudan a sustainable success.
The event was opened by H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Arabic Cultural House. In his address, His Excellency welcomed H.E. Badreldin Abdalla, Ambassador of the Sudan to Germany and the numerous experts and guests who followed this invitation. H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Saoud also encouraged the participants to explore opportunities in the rapidly developing tourism sector of the Sudan. H.E. Badreldin Abdalla thanked H.E. Sheikh Saoud Al Thani, the Divan and the Qatar Museums team for the great opportunity and hospitality. His Excellency Badreldin Abdalla also said the Sudan is increasingly becoming a tourism destination offering ancient archaeological sites and traditions, benefiting from the collaboration with Qatar and Germany.
After the welcoming remarks, Prof. Thomas Leisten, Acting Chief Cultural Heritage Officer at Qatar Museums presented the Qatar-Sudan Archaeological Project’s efforts to maintain and promote the sites including the local population and fostering exchanges with visitors. Dr. Pawel Wolf from the German Archaeological Institute pointed out that Augmented Reality could offer visitors an extraordinary experience. With technology and data available, this project could move forward. Mr. Ismail Elnour from the Ironbridge International Heritage Institute of the Birmingham University, shared his insights on working together to promote tourism in Sudan and for an integrated approach that also would include local marketing and management. Ms. Kristina Hülk (German Archaeological Institute) presented the Sustainable Tourism Concept for the World Heritage site of Meroe, and Dr. Simone Wolf the new shelter over the Royal Baths of Meroe. The presentations were followed by a lively discussion about organized travel and which measures could make it more sustainable and efficient.
At the end of the event, the Chairman H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Saoud Al Thani awarded the new Divan trophy to H.E. Ambassador Badreldin Abdalla and to Prof. Thomas Leisten. The event ended with a short film about tourists discovering Sudan’s archaeology. The evening ended with the guests discussing and exchanging their views over a light Arabic buffet.