Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Koržinek was in Dubrovnik for the opening of a three-day conference on the protection of cultural heritage.
Representatives from the 27 EU Member States, as well as UNESCO and the International Council of Museums, are set to discuss how best to tackle treats such as neglect, mass tourism, depopulation, and climate change.
Dubrovnik is hosting the conference, said the minister, because it is a symbol of how to cope with natural disasters and war, as well as mass tourism.
The conference, "Strengthening European Cooperation for the Protection of Cultural Heritage from Risk", is one of the Ministry of Culture's two central events during Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union.
"We have to realise that heritage is our most important resource, which we need to manage wisely and rationally, as well as invest in it and protect it. By doing that we will pass it on to future generations," Obuljen Koržinek said.
Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković said that tourism growth was contributing to the influx of money and was putting destinations under UNESCO protection at risk of urbanisation in order to maximise profit.
"Tourism is the main economic activity in Dubrovnik. As many as 80% of people live off tourism," said Franković. "That is why when adopting measures, we have to bear in mind that we cannot destroy tourism, but achieve sustainability with the aim of improving our citizens' quality of life," he concluded.
The European Union has highlighted the field of cultural heritage as one of its priorities in the last decade.
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