11.02.2016 - Culture Sector

A good practice against illicit trafficking: UNESCO clips on display in airports

Clip being screened at the International Airport of Kutaisi (Georgia) © Georgian National Commission for UNESCO

UNESCO’s awareness-raising clips about the fight against illicit trafficking in cultural property are being disseminated through XL screens at Georgian airports.

Every year, a large number of cultural objects are stolen and illicitly exported from their countries of origin. While professional smugglers and international criminal networks are at the heart of this problem, tourists may be unconsciously feeding the statistics of illicit trade: when traveling, careful attention needs to be paid to the provenance of cultural objects taken back home.  

In order to raise awareness on these issues and promote sustainable and responsible tourism, UNESCO produces and disseminates tailor-made animated clips emphasizing the strong bond between cultural objects and identity.

These clips are inspired in different settings:  Africa, the Caribbean, East Asia and South-East Asia - for a start. UNESCO is also developing partnerships with travel guides (such as the Lonely Planet) and airlines in order to spread the message as much as possible, while social media is instrumental in engaging the general public – especially young generations.  

These video clips are now shown at different travel hubs of this country, such as the International Airport of Kutaisi. The clips have also been sent to travel companies, ports and railway companies of Georgia. This is a great example of how these outreach tools should be used and disseminated to the wider public. By being shown on XL screens at airports, these clips are watched by thousands of people every day.

UNESCO is currently producing a new set of clips targeting other regions, such as South-East Europe, Latin America and Yemen. Two additional clips for Syria and Iraq, specifically on the links between illicit trafficking in cultural property and the proliferation of conflicts, are also being disseminated. Thanks to this campaign, more and more travelers are aware of the risks of trafficking with cultural property. By sharing this message, you are actively promoting sustainable tourism. This is an example of a good practice we need to share and duplicate.  

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