Initially, humans were nomads in search of food and safety. Now, they travel to see the world. Trade and wars have had a huge impact on influencing the culture of a place. Trade paved the way for bringing in foreign materials, spices, language, etc. When a place got a new king, he introduced the ways from living of his native place and brought his people. When such trade and kingship took place for a long period, the foreign culture becomes diffused from the native one and cross-cultural exchange takes place. One of the best examples of cross-cultural exchange by trade is the Silk Route.
Cross-cultural exchange is such an important term that it is one of the 10 criteria for a site or a monument to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 10 criteria that UNESCO has listed. The site or the monument should follow at least one criterion to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The criteria (ii) of World Heritage Listing expects a building/ site ‘to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over some time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.’ (UNESCO, 2019). Tourism can just be travel or can have some other purpose. The Governments of various nations promote tourism in one way or the other. There can be global fests and festivals, expos, exhibitions, and other events that can draw the global public, showcasing local values.
UNESCO Creative Cities Network
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is also a platform that allows for cross-cultural exchange and promotes global tourism. This is a project launched by UNESCO in 2004, that aims to promote cooperation among the cities whose means for sustainable urban development is culture and creativity. The network is a platform for inter-city partnership with cities having different economies, social life, cultures, geographical and environmental setting, etc. to work towards a common mission: ‘placing culture and creativity at the core of their urban development plans to make cities safe, resilient, inclusive, sustainable and future-proof in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ (UNESCO,2021). These cities tend to share quality knowledge and practices related to the same. The development is observed in the economic, social, cultural, and environmental sense.
When a city gets nominated as a UNESCO Creative City, it experiences heavy footfall of like-minded people. Numerous projects start to take up at that place and in return boost the local economies of the place.
One Earth, One Family, One Future
The G-20 summit is also a platform of business tourism that facilitates global tourism and cross-cultural exchange. Even the motto suggests the same – ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future.’ This year, India is the host of the event. This is the first time a South-Asian country is hosting the summit. 55 locations including cities such as Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Jodhpur, and many more will host 215 meetings in almost 1 year. When delegates from around the world visit the cities, the cities also get a makeover which boosts the local economy. The delegates get to know the culture of the host country and vice versa.
ISKCON, Vasudev Kutumbakam
Different cultures around the world have always attracted people from different places. These days, tourism is one of the main driving factors for cross-cultural exchange. Tourism promotes a better understanding among different nations and across different boundaries.
In today’s world, travel and tourism have become so easy and convenient that people are moving from one end of the world to another every now and then. There are different kinds of tourism based on its purpose, such as medical tourism, business tourism, educational tourism, religious tourism, etc. have given rise to cosmopolitan cities where cultures from all around the world could be found. These are the hotspots of cross-cultural exchange. The people bring their culture to the cities and take back foreign culture with them. ISKCON is such an example. It is an American organization that promotes Krishna’s bhakti. Missionaries and convent schools in the colonized countries that preach about British philosophies are also an example.
‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’ which translates to ‘The world is a family’ is such a prevalent phrase. These days this is getting literal as the borders between countries are getting blurred day by day. People from everywhere are omnipresent, and so are their cultures and practices. The role of social media cannot be ignored regarding this. Videos, reels, and online shopping have made cross-cultural products, cuisines, dresses, etc., available to all. Cross-cultural exchange and tourism boost each other. Cross-cultural exchange paves the way for tourism and vice-versa. And they both in turn enhance the local economy. Nowadays, tourism is one of the important sectors from an economic point of view. And tourism is boosted when the cities have something unique to offer, which is their culture.
Anon, (2023). From Chandigarh to Chennai, Indian cities gear up for G20 Meetings. [online] Available at: https://newsonair.com/2023/01/14/from-chandigarh-to-chennai-indian-cities-gear-up-for-g20-meetings/ [Accessed 13 Aug. 2023].
UNESCO (2019). The criteria for selection. [online] Unesco.org. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/
APPLICATION GUIDELINES UNESCO CREATIVE CITIES NETWORK CALL FOR APPLICATIONS. (2021). Available at: https://en.unesco.org/creative-cities/sites/default/files/2021-uccn_application-guidelines__0.pdf.
India set to host 215 G20 meetings across 55 locations. (2022). The Times of India. [online] 21 Sep. Available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-set-to-host-215-g20-meetings-across-55-locations/articleshow/94337265.cms [Accessed 13 Aug. 2023].