Every year since 1977 International Museum Day is organised worldwide around May 18.
This day is an occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society.
Tourism can widely contribute to the wealth of a country in promoting its cultural heritage. Unfortunately, it can also endanger it, especially in the more vulnerable regions.
Thanks to their leading role in protection and conservation of heritage and in the promotion of cultural diversity, museums are able to promote the essential interaction between protecting the cultural heritage and cultural development.
ICOM has always paid close attention to the cultural and natural global heritage protection and conservation concerns as tourism keeps developing.
The resolutions adopted at the Melbourne General Assembly (1998) are a step towards the development of a global and sustainable cultural tourism-related policy in collaboration with UNESCO, UNPD (United Nations Development Programme), ICOMOS and other relevant organisations.
The goal is to implement standards to protect heritage while making sure that communities involved can benefit from a long-term advantage.
Since 2000, ICOM has gathered experts on this matter during workshops with protagonists of the international cultural tourism. The Trujillo workshop (Peru) and La Paz (Bolivia) in October 2000 introduced a proposal for a Charter of principles on museums and cultural tourism.
This proposal was based on ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums and highlights the strategies and objectives that might allow guaranteeing the use, the interpretation and the management of the cultural heritage so that the future generations can enjoy it.
In December 2007, ICOM and the WFFM made a common statement for a sustainable global cultural tourism. Thus International Museum Day 2009 carried the message of sustainable tourism with the theme “Tourism and Museums”.