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Zurab Pololikashvili

UNWTO Sets Shared Goals and Opportunities for Tourism in Paraguay

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UNWTO Sets Shared Goals and Opportunities for Tourism in Paraguay - TRAVELINDEXAsunción, Paraguay, August 1, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The President of Paraguay Mario Abdo Benitez, welcomed this week UNWTO’s support as the county works to make tourism a central pillar of economic growth and social opportunity.

Leading an official UNWTO delegation to Paraguay, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili met with President Abdo Benitez to discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities for tourism in Paraguay and identify ways of working together to grow and the sector in both size and relevance. Paraguay currently serves as Chair of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Americas and is a member of its Executive Council. Such an active role in the mission of UNWTO underscores the government’s commitment to establishing the country as one of the region’s top tourist destinations and the sector as a driver of sustainable development.

The task of the National Government is to promote Paraguay as a destination

Making tourism a priority for Paraguay

Secretary-General Pololikashvili noted that Paraguay is already “on the world map as a destination”, and that, working together, UNWTO and the government can “make this beautiful country better known and make tourism a priority for creating jobs and opportunities for economic growth”.

Opening a special session on Renewable Energy and Sustainable Tourism, held against the backdrop of the UNWTO visit, President Mario Abdo Benítez, said: “The task of the National Government is to promote Paraguay as a destination as part of our strategy to generate income, strengthen our culture and give opportunity to a large number of young people who, as the UNWTO Secretary General said, have the potential to be tourism’s greatest strength.”

Alongside meeting with the President, the UNWTO delegation also met with Minister of Tourism for Paraguay Sofía Montiel de Afara, with the National Tourism Advisory Council of Paraguay, as well as with representatives from the World Bank and from across the private sector. The presence of high-level representatives from the Ministries of the Interior, of Industry and Commerce and of Education and Sciences, underlined the cross-cutting importance of tourism for Paraguay and for the wider region. The Minister of Tourism stated her desire to build on her Ministry’s existing work with UNWTO and develop a new series of capacity-building initiatives to guide tourism in sector out of the pandemic and towards a more resilient future.

Youth empowerment and rural development

Reflecting one of UNWTO’s core priorities, as illustrated by the recent inaugural Global Youth Tourism Summit, Secretary-General Pololikashvili also met with young tourism leaders and advocates from every part of Paraguay to hear their thoughts on the future of the sector and to ensure that they are part of the decision-making process. The UNWTO delegation also visited the historic community of San Cosme y San Damián, named one of UNWTO’s Best Tourism Villages in 2021 in recognition of its significance preserving the country’s unique cultural heritage and as a provider of rural development.

First published at – Global Travel News

Advancing Safe Mobility for Stronger Recovery

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UNWTO - Advancing Safe Mobility for Stronger Recovery - TRAVELINDEXIbiza, Spain, July 12, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Spain in the recent High-Level Meeting on Safe International Travel held in Ibiza on 7-8 July.

The High-Level Meeting focused on the lessons learned from the impact of the pandemic on international mobility and tourism, to build resilience to face future crises.

“The progress during these past two years, alongside increased coordination among governments, have prompted the basis for a strong recovery”, said Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. Underscoring that “vaccine equity remains a big challenge”, he stressed that “implementing what we have learned is critical for how we deal with future pandemics, as we work to consolidating how we grow back better”.

Participants recognized that the recovery of cross-border travel requires easing and lifting COVID-related travel restrictions as far as possible, while ensuring public health considerations

The progress during these past two years, alongside increased coordination among governments, have prompted the basis for a strong recovery

Chaired by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain, Reyes Maroto, the meeting gathered health and the tourism sector representatives of over 30 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and other UN agencies such as the International Organizational for Migration (IMO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The High-Level Meeting on Safe International Travel was held in support of the G20 Indonesian Presidency of 2022.  Backed by key stakeholders such as OECD, WHO, ICAO and UNWTO, participants encouraged the Indonesian chair to incorporate the main points into the relevant initiatives of the G20 process,, namely the G20 Health Working Group’s priority on Harmonizing global health standards focused on the Harmonization of COVID-19 and other Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) Certificate Recognition at the Point of Entry.

On the occasion, UNWTO and OECD released an impact assessment of the pandemic on tourism showcasing how the sector was among the most affected.

First published at – Global Travel News

Young People Must Be Active Participants to Restart Tourism

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UNWTO Young People Must Be Active Participants to Restart Tourism - TRAVELINDEXSorrento, Italy, July 9, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Young people have always been an integral part of tourism. Countless destinations, in every global region, depend on them to support businesses and livelihoods, and the return of young travellers as the world opens up again brings hope for many millions of people. At the same time, young people also make up a significant proportion of the tourism workforce. Indeed, our sector is one of the leading providers of youth empowerment, providing opportunities for everyone, regardless of their backgrounds or academic attainment.

UNWTO recognizes the importance of youth. For this reason, youth empowerment, including through offering education and training opportunities as well as access to decent jobs, is one of our key priorities. But we are committed to going even further. Young people must not only be beneficiaries of tourism’s restart, but they must also be active participants in it. Now is the time to bring young voices on board as we make big decisions that will set the course for our sector for years to come.

The first UNWTO Global Youth Tourism Summit confirmed that the young talent is there. So too is the determination to make a difference. For one week in Italy, we brought together some of the brightest young minds, to hear their concerns, but above all, their vision for the sector. This was a landmark first – for the young people, for UNWTO and for the tourism sector as a whole. It put young people in the driving seat. And it gave them a unique opportunity to engage directly with the sector’s leaders, including business heads and Ministers of Tourism.

Young people must not only be beneficiaries of tourism’s restart, but they must also be active participants in it

Out of the week came the Sorrento Call to Action, a call from the young participants to have a greater say in the decisions that will affect them whether as tourists themselves or as beneficiaries of the sector. While only signed by the delegates present in Sorrento, it is a true representation of the determination of global youth not to be left on the side-lines anymore. It also makes clear the priorities of the next generation of tourists and tourism leaders, namely accelerating the shift towards greater sustainability, most notably through the development and promotion of green transport, for greater inclusion and respect for human rights, and finally ensuring that the benefits tourism delivers are enjoyed as widely and fairly as possible.

To put these ideas and ambitions into action, young people need to be given a seat at the decision-making table. Youth-led organizations need to be invited to monitor and assess the development of tourism and, if necessary, be in a position where they can hold governments and businesses to account.

Every part of the wide global tourism ecosystem will benefit enormously from embracing the power of youth. Right now, the planet is home to around 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10-24— the largest generation of youth in human history. Almost 90% of them live in developing countries, and in many of them they make up the majority of the population. It’s here that they can make the biggest difference, and tourism is without doubt the most powerful vehicle to drive transformation and growth.

As World Tourism Day 2022 makes clear in its theme, we now have an opportunity to rethink tourism – where we are and where we are going. Young people must be active protagonists in this vital process. The climate action movement has shown what can be achieved if young voices are brought on board. Here, young activists have helped set the agenda and pushed governments to raise their ambitions. Tourism must now do the same, and UNWTO is ready to lead by example.

First published at – Global Travel News

Empowering Youth as a Key to a More Sustainable Tourism

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Empowering Youth as a Key to a More Sustainable Tourism - - TRAVELINDEXSorrento, Italy, July 8, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The first Global Youth Tourism Summit concluded with a simulation of the UNWTO General Assembly where 120 participants from 57 countries and aged between 12 and 18 took part, and where voting on a “Sorrento Call to Action” took place.

This bold and ground-breaking vision for young people to be active participants in tourism’s restart and growth, as a pillar of sustainable and inclusive development was adopted with a majority of favourable opinions by the students taking part.

The document was drawn up based on the discussions of a series of workshops held at the Summit during the course of a week, where the young participants learned and shared their thoughts on some of the key issues facing tourism right now, among them innovation and digitalization, plastic pollution and the growing relevance of sport, culture and gastronomy for destinations.

For a lot of them this was the first time they travelled outside of their country, first time they travelled by plane eve, like for Saltanat Pazylbekova, 15 years old from Kyrgyzstan “This is my first time abroad, I travelled for 12 hours to get to Sorrento and it was worth every minute. I made friends from all over the world, what a great experience. I rarely get to speak English when back home so to come here and be able to share our views with like minded individuals and learn so much about themes that are so important to me is an experience I will never forget.”

Most of the workshops were interactive and one of the sessions that had greater impact on the young attendants was the plastic reduction workshop led by the sister duo Amy and Ella Meek, founders of Kids Against Plastic from the UK. “One of the most amazing realisations I had was at the end of the plastic reduction workshop. Plastic does not dissolve completely, it just breaks into small pieces, particles, and it stays in our ecosystem. Forever. This makes me feel frightened of what we are becoming, of what we are evolving into. I do have hope that we will find a solution, we have to!” said Dinara Zamantayeva, 15years old who travelled in from Kazakhstan.

A lot of the attendants took part in local competitions to be selected to come and represent their country. “I am so proud of myself for being chosen to come to the Summit. I learned so much during this week, I was particularly inspired by Salam Hamzeh Ghaith the CEO of Smallword Foundation and all the work she does with children.” said Nhelma Jacques, 16 years old from the Seychelles.

No matter how young these teenagers were, their sense of responsibility to make the world a better place was a common thread amongst all “I travelled from Austria on a night train, I worry about the impact of travelling on the planet and my carbon footprint. I think about my impact all the time, it is so hard to change the way we live. It would be much easier to just continue to live the way we do but that’s not an option. The climate change workshop we did is the one that marked me the most, I loved how it was all explained in a simple manner, by people of our generation. It made it so much more relatable – everyone understood the message. It’s in our own hands to change the future.” stated Elana Bertalan, 15 years old from Austria.

The “Sorrento Call to Action” goes beyond recognizing that the voice of youth must be consulted in policymaking and instead states that young people now need to active participants in every stage of the decision-making process across the whole of the tourism sector.

The General Assembly simulation opened with high-level interventions both in person and via video messages from His Holiness Pope Francis, Italian Minister for Tourism Massimo Garavaglia, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio, Italian Minister for Youth Policies Fabiana Dadone, and the UN Envoy for Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake.

Zurab Pololikashvili, mentioned that “The Global Youth Tourism Summit is a hugely
important first, for UNWTO and for our sector, and that young talent from every region
will be supported to give them a stage to voice their ideas about tourism’s future.”

Massimo Garavaglia emphasized Italy as being the proud hosts of this first ever event
and encouraged the young people present to become the responsible travelers of
tomorrow and to keep their optimism for making their dreams a reality.

Jayathma Wickramanayake highlighted the importance of promoting the active
engagement of young people as agents of transformational change, challenging the
status quo, and realizing the Agenda 2030.

People, planet and prosperity
Three pillars are enshrined in the Sorrento Call to Action: People, Planet, and Prosperity.
For people, for example, the young signatories call for the safeguarding of human rights,
especially of persons with disabilities through adequate tourism strategies and policies.
For the planet, the issues of food waste, plastic pollution, climate change mitigation,
and biodiversity preservation are flagged up. Finally, for prosperity, poverty reduction,
upgrading digital skills, and creating more employment opportunities are voiced by the
young participants.

The Call to Action states that “decision-makers must empower the youth, providing them
with opportunities to voice their concerns” while also working to it “stimulate education
to ensure responsible travelers and professionals.” At the same time, it recognizes the
historic significance of the first Global Youth Tourism Summit and calls on UNWTO to
hold annual summits and to work with its Member States on national events.

Mafalda Borea is the Editor-at-Large of TravelIndex Group media and Founder & Chair of Linkedin

First published at – Global Travel News

Scaling-Up Tourism Action at UN Ocean Conference

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Scaling-Up Tourism Action at UN Ocean Conference - - TRAVELINDEXLisbon, Portugal, July 1, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism has the potential to lead the shift towards a circular and regenerative blue economy, the UN Ocean Conference has been told.

UNWTO centred the discussions on tourism in a special Tourism Ocean Action side event of the Conference, held this week in Lisbon. Organized alongside the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme and in collaboration with the governments of Portugal and Kenya, the discussions highlighted the strong incentive that tourism provides for ocean conservation.

As part of its responsible recovery, tourism needs to play a more active role in protecting coastal and marine environments

Tourism’s role in coastal conservation

Addressing the Conference, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Our wellbeing depends on a healthy ocean. As part of its responsible recovery, tourism needs to play a more active role in protecting coastal and marine environments. That’s why we are taking steps to shift to a more circular and resilient tourism model, and the benefits of this will be felt far beyond the sector itself.”

High level representatives from Portugal, Kenya and the Republic of Fiji including the Minister of Economy and Maritime Affairs of Portugal, H.E. Antonio Costa Silva; the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife of Kenya, Hon. Najib Balala; the Minister of Commerce, Trade Tourism and Transport of the Republic of Fiji, Hon. Faiyaz Koya; presented frontrunning tourism policies and stressed the importance of finding a balance between the environment and the economy and jobs creation through tourism. The UN Resident Coordinator for the Maldives and UNEP’s Ecosystem Division Director also took part in the side event.

“As we implement the sustainable tourism action plan 2020 – 2023, we are promoting changes in consumption behaviour, looking at the circularity of materials and at the efficiency in the use of resources, while supporting tourism companies adopt ESG and connecting marine protected areas with tourism” said H.E. Antonio Costa Silva, Minister of Economy and Maritime Affairs of Portugal.

Key ocean and climate initiatives outlined

In particular, the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, including its five pathways “measure, decarbonize, regenerate, collaborate and finance” and the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, which supports the sector’s readiness to the upcoming international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution, were put forward as effective tools to accelerate tourism ocean action and new signatories to the latter were announced.

“The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative supports readiness of the tourism sector to meet upcoming regulations, especially in light of the upcoming international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution. To meet the real need for strong mobilization, the largest businesses need to also be engaged,” noted UNEP, Susan Gardner, Director, Ecosystems Division

Turismo de Portugal recalled having signed the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism alongside the European Travel Commission. The Travel Foundation reminded of the need to build the knowledge of tourism stakeholders, especially small and medium enterprises. The need to trigger investments at scale in the protection and regeneration of ecosystems was highlighted by private sector representatives from Iberostar Group, which presented its coastal health strategy, and NOAH Regen, which presented an innovative finance model to protect and regenerate blue carbon ecosystems, building on the side-event on “Blue Carbon Ecosystems for Regenerative Tourism” organized on the previous day in collaboration with Forum Oceano.

First published at – Global Travel News

Be Messengers of Hope: Pope Francis Addresses Global Youth Tourism Summit

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Be Messengers of Hope Pope Francis Addresses Global Youth Tourism Summit - PAPABILI - TRAVELINDEXRome, Italy, June 29, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / His Holiness Pope Francis has sent an historic message of support to UNWTO’s first Global Youth Tourism Summit. As the Summit was underway in Sorrento, Italy, His Holiness called on young participants to make the most of the unique opportunity to develop the knowledge and the skills they will need to build a better future for tourism and for their home communities.

“The experiences that you will make [in Sorrento] will be enshrined in your memories,” Pope Francis said. “This is how you will grow and will be prepared to assume more important roles. I wish that you will be messengers of hope and of rebirth for the future. I send you my blessings and my greetings.”

Empowering global youth

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili adds: “The Global Youth Tourism Summit celebrates and promotes the role that young people will play in shaping our sector in the years to come. By giving them the knowledge and the tools they need to lead the sector forwards, participants can act on Pope Francis’s welcome words and become ambassadors of tourism for peace and solidarity.”

UNWTO has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with the Holy See, which has held observer status to the Organization since 1975. In 2019, Secretary-General Pololikashvili enjoyed an official visit to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis, using the occasion to highlight tourism’s essential role in eradicating poverty and promoting peace.

The first Global Youth Tourism Summit will also feature the support and participation of a number of UNWTO Ambassadors as well as leading figures from across the sector, including Ministers from every global region. The week-long event will also feature a mock UNWTO General Assembly to allow the youngsters to debate the theme of tourism and discuss the innovative proposals for the future of the sector within the global framework of the UN 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO & WHO Build Coalition of Health and Tourism Partners

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UNWTO & WHO Build Coalition of Health and Tourism Partners - - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, June 22, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO will work with the WHO Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe) to strengthen ties between tourism and public health in Europe’s smallest states.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of building more sustainability and resilience into both economies and public health systems. Recognizing the need to learn from the lessons of the crisis, the two UN agencies will further develop their collaboration and strengthen cooperation. In the eighth high-level meeting of the WHO/Europe Small Countries Initiative (SCI), held in Bečići, Montenegro, UNWTO set out the case for promoting health and sustainable tourism in small countries, including the 11 European countries with fewer than 2 million people.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told the meeting: “COVID-19 showed that any crisis that threatens the health, safety and security of people, communities and the environment is also a risk to tourism itself. I am confident that strong cooperation at all levels will place health high on the tourism agenda. It will make for healthy tourists, healthy communities, a healthy environment, and healthy economies for current and future generations.”

Montenegro Statement on health and tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of building more sustainability and resilience into both economies and public health systems

Organized around the theme “Towards better health and well-being in small countries of the WHO European Region”, the ministerial event focused on two issues currently at the top of the agenda for small countries, namely emergencies (long-term prevention, health system preparedness, response and recovery) and developing healthy and sustainable tourism. On the occasion of the meeting, the “Roadmap towards better health in small countries in the WHO European Region 2022–2025” was presented and the “Montenegro Statement” was unanimously adopted.

The “Montenegro Statement” recognizes that health and tourism are deeply interconnected in the globalized world, and the reopening of travel and tourism is crucial for economic recovery, jobs and livelihoods in small countries. It highlights that cooperation and collaboration are required and welcomes and supports the creation of a coalition of partners on health and tourism, jointly coordinated by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the UNWTO to elaborate the evidence for policy measures and facilitate country dialogue.

Long-standing collaboration 

UNWTO and WHO have kept regular coordination since the outbreak of the pandemic and WHO has participated in the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, created in March 2020 to guide the tourism sector and formulate a sector-wide responseto the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and restart tourism with data-driven decisions based on scientific evidence.

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO: Asia and Pacific Leaders Look to Innovative and Resilient Tourism

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UNWTO Asia and Pacific Leaders Look to Innovative and Resilient Tourism - TRAVELINDEXMale, Maldives, June 16, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Tourism leaders from across Asia and the Pacific have placed building resilience and embracing innovation at the heart of the sector’s restart and sustainable future.

The 34th Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (34th CAP-CSA), was held as destinations across the region begin welcoming back international tourists. The region was hit first and hit hardest by the pandemic’s impact on tourism as many countries maintained strict restrictions on travel. Now, as UNWTO data confirms a 64% increase in international arrivals in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021, the high-level meeting of sector leaders identified the key challenges and opportunities ahead.

UNWTO’s Work in the Region

For many millions of people across Asia and the Pacific, tourism is an essential lifeline

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili provided an overview of tourism trends and statistics, both for the region and globally, followed by an update on the Organization’s work in the months since the previous Joint Commission meeting (hosted virtually by Spain in 2021). He stressed the importance of working together to lift travel restrictions, with coordination key to restarting tourism and for restoring confidence in international travel. “For many millions of people across Asia and the Pacific, tourism is an essential lifeline. Its return is vital and must be based around the pillars of inclusion and sustainability, for the benefit of all”, he said.

The meeting was the first in-person gathering of the CAP- CSA for two years and brought together representatives of 19 Member States, as well as from UNWTO’s network of Affiliate Members. Welcoming delegates, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives and Chair of the Joint Meeting, added: “Though the road to recovery is still uncertain and many challenges remain, global coordination through similar platforms will open up the opportunity to build back more comprehensively towards a sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism sector for the future.”

Resilience through Innovation

The 34th CAP- CSA was held in the Maldives as the country celebrated 50 years as an international tourism destination. Against the backdrop of the Golden Jubilee, the Ministry of Tourism of the Maldives and UNWTO also partnered to host a Ministerial Roundtable on Tourism Resilience through Innovation and Digitalization in Asia and the Pacific. Recognizing the vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, the discussion explored ways in which new technology and new ideas can help better protect tourism against shocks including future pandemics as well as extreme weather events.

Concluding the joint meeting, Member States voted to hold the next gathering in Cambodia in the first semester of 2023. On the back of the high-level meeting, UNWTO will host a two-day Global Summit on Community-based Tourism, bringing public and private sector experts together to focus on the potential of gastronomy tourismagro-tourism and community-based tourism for sustainable and inclusive development.

First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO: European Tourism Leaders Meet as Sector Restarts

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UNWTO European Tourism Leaders Meet as Sector Restarts - TRAVELINDEXYerevan, Armenia, Jun 13, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The European Member States of UNWTO have highlighted the importance of jobs, professional training and sustainability and innovation as they jointly guide the recovery of tourism across the region.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The 67th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe (Yerevan, Armenia, 1-3 June 2022) convened as the restart of European tourism gathered pace. Of the 47 countries in the world that have lifted all restrictions on travel, 31 are in Europe. Against this backdrop, Member States looked to the future to address both short-term challenges and longer-term opportunities for tourism to grow as a driver of sustainable and inclusive development.

High-level representatives from 35 Members States and many representatives of the European and global tourism private sectors were given an overview of UNWTO’s work in the region since the last Regional Commission meeting in Athens in June 2021.

Political recognition

From the start of the pandemic and into the recovery phase of the crisis, Europe has led by example in supporting and restarting tourism

Opening the session, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Hambardzum Matevosyan called tourism a “locomotive” for recovery and opportunity, both in Europe and globally. With Armenia celebrating 25 years as a UNWTO Member State, Mr Matevosyan commended the Organization’s work in bridging the public and private sectors and making tourism a pillar of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili met personally with the President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan with the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ararat Mirzooyan, acknowledging their leadership and support for tourism and discussing ways in which UNWTO can further support the country as it grows its tourism in size and significance, with a focus on investments and on rural development.

Also opening the session were the Minister of the Economy for Armenia, Vahan Kerobyan, and Sofia Zacharaki, Deputy Minister of Tourism of Greece and current Chair of the UNWTO Regional Commission. Ms Zacharaki also commended UNWTO’s leadership through the crisis and stressed that the determination to restart tourism for economic recovery “must not outweigh our efforts to become more sustainable”.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “From the start of the pandemic and into the recovery phase of the crisis, Europe has led by example in supporting and restarting tourism. At the heart of this has been cooperation and coordination, the same spirit that must lead all European destinations forward as they use the power of tourism to drive development and growth for all.”

Ms. Sisian Boghossian, Chair of the Tourism Committee of the Ministry of Economy emphasised: “Armenia reasserts its commitment to effective cooperation with all UNWTO member states to achieve the joint goals aimed at implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Tourism is a priority sector of the economy in Armenia which is not only defined in the Law on Tourism but also expressed in the political agenda and included in the Government´s program”.

Delivering results

The Secretary-General provided an updated overview of the latest international tourism data and trends and made clear how even in challenging times, UNWTO advanced its priority areas of work, with a focus on boosting tourism investments, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, tourism jobs and education and accelerating sustainability.

UNWTO Regional Director for Europe, Alessandra Priante, highlighted current initiatives and future regional implementation of the UNWTO programme of work, stressing the importance of fostering the successful methodology of cooperation with and within the most visited region in the world: Europe. She pointed out the landmark projects focused on youth, with the first Global Youth Tourism Summit to be hosted in Sorrento, Italy, the Students’ Leagues in the various European countries and on rural development, with the 2nd edition of the World’s Best Tourism Villages following the great succusses of the initiative in 2021, and UNWTO’s technical assistance projects supporting tourism recovery to grow back sustainably and responsibly were further highlights.

As part of the high-level policy discussion, delegates highlighted the need to balance short-term measures for enabling a swift recovery of tourism, notably addressing workforce shortages, making jobs more attractive and retaining the right talent with sustainability imperatives, including measurement, investing in tourism education, and capacity-building.

Tourism and Rural Development

On the occasion of the Commission Meeting, UNWTO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with the support of the government of Armenia, partnered to set the stage for a discussion about tourism’s role in rural development and how to build bigger synergies between agriculture and tourism.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

With a special focus on design thinking to enhance local experiences and add value to destinations, gastronomy and wine tourism, the event highlighted the need to work on infrastructure, governance, product development, collaboration frameworks, quality and market access, digitalization and capacity building. Counting on the participation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the conference highlighted the value of intellectual property to protect and value of local products and processes. The event closed with a Masterclass on Gastronomy Tourism to support knowledge building and capacity for Members States and stakeholders in Armenia.

Members of the region unanimously agreed to have Bulgaria host the 68th session of the UNWTO Regional Commission in 2023.

First published at – Global Travel News

Turning Point for Tourism: UNWTO Executive Council Looks Beyond Recovery

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Turning Point for Tourism UNWTO Executive Council Looks Beyond Recovery - TRAVELINDEXJeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 8, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / The Executive Council of UNWTO has met to advance the recovery of tourism around shared goals and a common vision for the sector.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Held for the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the 116th session was the largest meeting of the Executive Council since the start of the pandemic, with more than 200 participants and 32 countries represented. Members noted that the meeting came at a pivotal point for the sector as it learns from the lessons of the pandemic while at the same time looking ahead to a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient future.

Advancing priorities in challenging times

Tourism is united and determined like never before, and UNWTO is guiding it forward, with inclusivity and sustainability at the very heart of all our work

“We have faced up to a triple crisis: an ongoing pandemic, a climate emergency and now the return of war in Europe,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. He stressed that “tourism is united and determined like never before, and UNWTO is guiding it forward, with inclusivity and sustainability at the very heart of all our work”.

In his report to Members on achievements since the previous Council meeting six months ago, the Secretary-General illustrated how UNWTO is seizing tourism’s unprecedented relevance, including within the United Nations, in national recovery and growth plans and within the wider public and media conversation.

Tourism’s restart

UNWTO laid out its plans to keep advancing the priorities around fostering sustainability, promoting tourism jobs and education, growing tourism investments and accelerating its digital transformation.

The Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and host of the Executive Council, Ahmed Al Khateeb, said: “Tourism’s restart in many countries around the world offers a unique chance to rethink tourism governance, communications and beyond. We have an incredible opportunity to set a new way forward, to create a strong future for the global tourism sector, and we must embrace it.”

The recognition of tourism’s importance was further echoed by the Minister of Tourism and Leisure of Cote d’Ivoire, also serving as Executive Council Chair, Siandou Fofana, who noted that “tourism is united to face future challenges”, while stressing the importance of cohesion in planning and policymaking as the sector recovers to drive wider social and economic recovery.

Members agreed to hold the 117th session of the UNWTO Executive Council in Morocco, in the second half of this year. With two countries offering to host the 118th session, Members voted in favour of the Dominican Republic holding the first Council of 2023.

Onto Riyadh, emerging tourism hub

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Members of the Executive Council were provided with an update on the work of the UNWTO Regional Office for the Middle East, opened in the capital of Saudi Arabia in May 2021. The office in Riyadh is set to emerge as both a regional and global hub for the sector, with a special focus on tourism education and tourism and rural development, exemplified by the first major project to come out of the office, Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO.

From Jeddah, the UNWTO leadership will visit Riyadh to formally welcome personnel.

First published at – Global Travel News