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Zurab Pololikashvili

Barcelona Joins UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories

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Barcelona Joins UNWTO Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories - TRAVELINDEXBarcelona, Spain, January 24, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO has welcomed the Barcelona Tourism Observatory into its growing International Network of Sustainable Observatories (INSTO). Tourism is one of the leading economic sectors for the city of Barcelona and the surrounding region, responsible for more than 10% of local GDP. The Barcelona Tourism Observatory (BTO) will work to help guide the sector towards greater sustainability. As with other members of the INSTO initiative, the observatory will provide data and analysis to be used to guide evidence-based decision making. This will help Destination Barcelona better deal with the recovery of tourism and in the long run with the large tourist numbers and ensure the sector is managed in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Commenting, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “We warmly welcome Barcelona into our growing global network of observatories. As one of the world’s leading destinations, the Observatory can help Barcelona better manage its tourism sector, recovering and growing back more sustainably for the benefit of visitors and residents alike.”

We warmly welcome Barcelona into our growing global network of observatories

For Turisme de Barcelona, the President of the Executive Committee, Eduard Torres, said the development “reinforces the importance of Barcelona’s international role in the field of tourism knowledge as well as positioning us to make even more progress towards sustainability across our sector”. According to Mr. Xavier Marcé, Councillor for Tourism and Creative Industries of the City Hall of Barcelona, being part of the network “will help the Barcelona City Council in making data-based decisions to achieve the goals of managing the visitor economy within the parameters of sustainability of local economy, as well as increasing the return and benefits to citizens.” Núria Marín, the President of the
Barcelona Provincial Council, similarly noted the “the need to link the city of Barcelona with the rest of the province of Barcelona under the concept of Destination Barcelona to analyze the wider reality of tourism activity.”

The Barcelona Tourism Observatory is supported by Barcelona City Council, Barcelona Provincial Council, Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and Turisme de Barcelona. This is the fourth Observatory in Spain, after Canary Islands, Navarra and Mallorca, and brings the worldwide total to 31.

About INSTO

The UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) was created in 2004 with the main objectives to support the continuous improvement of sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector through systematic, timely and regular monitoring of tourism performance and to connect dedicated destinations, helping them to exchange and improve knowledge and understanding about destination-wide resource use and the responsible management of tourism.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Dominican President, UNWTO and IE University Announce Education Scholarships

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Dominican President, UNWTO and IE University Announce Education Scholarships - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, January 20, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO and IE University continue to build on their shared commitment to nurturing tourism talent and promoting accessible education with the announcement of new scholarships to the UNWTO Online Academy. In line with the Organization’s focus on expanding access to training and skills development, and in close collaboration with IE University, the Government of the Dominican Republic will make 300 scholarships available to students from this leading tourism destination.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The scholarships are funded by the Government of the Dominican Republic and were announced by the country’s President Luis Abinader and Minister of Tourism David Collado, together with UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, and Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, CEO of IE University, during a visit to the IE Tower, the new technological and sustainable campus of IE University in the north of Madrid.

The initiative will allow 100 students of all backgrounds to benefit from a wide range of online courses designed to help them gain the skills they need to either start their careers in tourism or advance in the sector. Courses are available in three languages (English, Spanish and Arabic) and delivered by some of the world’s leading experts, including from UNWTO partner IE University.

Welcoming President Abinader, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili praised his Government’s commitment to tourism, noting that the Dominican Republic was one of the first destinations to re-open its borders, a move that protected many thousands of jobs and helped kickstart economic recovery.

Mr Pololikashvili added: “Everybody should be able to learn the knowledge and the skills they need to work in tourism and be part of our sector’s future. The 300 scholarship holders from the Dominican Republic will help further establish the country as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world – as well as a key ally of UNWTO in the Americas.”

The scholarship program signing event was attended by Diego del Alcázar Benjumea, CEO of IE University, who highlighted “the extraordinary contribution of tourism not only to the economic growth of vacation destinations and source markets, but also to the well-being of everyone.” He added: “the tourism sector will continue to grow strongly after the pandemic and a key element of that growth will be the training of tourism professionals.”

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

To date, the UNWTO IE University Online Tourism Academy has welcomed almost 15,000 students from 190 countries as education continues to be a core priority of the UNWTO leadership.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO: Tourism Grows in 2021, Remains Far Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

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UNWTO: Tourism Grows in 2021, Remains Far Below Pre-Pandemic Levels - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, January 19, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / Global tourism experienced a 4% upturn in 2021, compared to 2020 (415 million versus 400 million). However, international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) were still 72% below the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to preliminary estimates by UNWTO. This follows on from 2020, the worst year on record for tourism, when international arrivals decreased by 73%.

  • UNWTO reports 4% rise in international tourist arrivals in 2021
  • However, 2021 was another challenging year: arrivals still 72% down on pre-pandemic levels
  • Recovery needs stronger coordination and increased vaccination rates

The first 2022 issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer indicates that rising rates of vaccination, combined with easing of travel restrictions due to increased cross-border coordination and protocols, have all helped release pent up demand. International tourism rebounded moderately during the second half of 2021, with international arrivals down 62% in both the third and fourth quarters compared to  pre-pandemic levels. According to limited data, international arrivals in December were 65% below 2019 levels. The full impact of the Omicron variant and surge in COVID-19 cases is yet to be seen.

Slow and uneven recovery

The pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across world regions due to varying degrees of mobility restrictions, vaccination rates and traveler confidence. Europe and the Americas recorded the strongest results in 2021 compared to 2020 (+19% and +17% respectively), but still both 63% below pre-pandemic levels.

By subregion, the Caribbean saw the best performance (+63% above 2020, though 37% below 2019), with some destinations coming close to, or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Southern Mediterranean Europe (+57%) and Central America (+54%) also enjoyed a significant rebound but remain 54% and 56% down on 2019 levels respectively. North America (+17%) and Central Eastern Europe (+18%) also climbed above 2020 levels.

Meanwhile, Africa saw a 12% increase in arrivals in 2021 compared to 2020, though this is still 74% below 2019. In the Middle East arrivals declined 24% compared to 2020 and 79% over 2019. In Asia and the Pacific arrivals were still 65% below 2020 levels and 94% when compared to pre-pandemic values as many destinations remained closed to non-essential travel.

Increased tourism spending

The economic contribution of tourism in 2021 (measured in tourism direct gross domestic product) is estimated at US$1.9 trillion, above the US$1.6 trillion in 2020, but still well below the pre-pandemic value of US$ 3.5 trillion. Export revenues from international tourism could exceed US$700 billion in 2021, a small improvement over 2020 due to higher spending per trip, but less than half the US$1.7 trillion recorded in 2019.

Average receipts per arrival are estimated to reach US$1,500 in 2021, up from US$1,300 in 2020. This is due to large pent-up savings and longer lengths of stay, as well as higher transport and accommodation prices. France and Belgium reported comparatively smaller declines in tourism expenditure with -37% and -28%, respectively over 2019. Saudi Arabia (-27%) and Qatar (-2%) also posted somewhat better results in 2021.

Outlook for 2022

According to the latest UNWTO Panel of Experts, most tourism professionals (61%) see better prospects for 2022. While 58% expect a rebound in 2022, mostly during the third quarter, an42% vs point to a potential rebound only in 2023. A majority of experts (64%) now expect international arrivals to return to 2019 levels only in 2024 or later, up from 45% in the September survey.

The UNWTO Confidence Index shows a slight decline in January-April 2022. A rapid and more widespread vaccination roll-out, followed by a major lifting of travel restrictions, and more coordination and clearer information on travel protocols, are the main factors identified by experts for the effective recovery of international tourism. UNWTO scenarios indicate that international tourist arrivals could grow by 30% to 78% as compared to 2021, However, this is still 50% to 63% below pre-pandemic levels.

The recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the Omicron variant are set to disrupt the recovery and affect confidence through early 2022 as some countries reintroduce travel bans and restrictions for certain markets. At the same time, the vaccination roll-out remains uneven and many destinations still have their borders completely closed, mostly in Asia and the Pacific. A challenging economic environment could put additional pressure on the effective recovery of international tourism, with the surge in oil prices, increase in inflation, potential rise in interest rates, high debt volumes and the continued disruption in supply chains. However, the ongoing tourism recovery in many markets, mostly in Europe and the Americas, coupled with the widespread vaccination rollout and a major coordinated lifting of travel restrictions, could help to restore consumer confidence and accelerate the recovery of international tourism in 2022.

While international tourism bounces back, domestic tourism continues to drive recovery of the sector in an increasing number of destinations, particularly those with large domestic markets. According to experts, domestic tourism and travel close to home, as well as open-air activities, nature-based products and rural tourism are among the major travel trends that will continue shaping tourism in 2022.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO Secretary-General Welcomes Ambassador Yavuz Selim Yükselir

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UNWTO Secretary-General Welcomes Ambassador Yavuz Selim Yükselir

Madrid, Spain, January 15, 2022 / TRAVELINDEX / As UNWTO gets set to return to the FITUR tourism trade fair in Madrid (19-23 January), the United Nations specialized agency is drawing on the influence of its growing team of Ambassadors to highlight the role the sector will play in driving recovery and providing opportunity in 2022 and beyond.

Ahead of the official opening of FITUR, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili met with entrepreneur and hotelier Yavuz Selim Yükselir. Visiting the Organization’s headquarters in Madrid, the Turkish national, who joined last year as UNWTO Tourism Ambassador, discussed opportunities for further collaboration, with a particular focus on hotels and tourism accommodation.

Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “I thank Yavuz Selim Yükselir for his enthusiastic support for UNWTO at the start of a year of great challenge and great opportunity for tourism. Now is the time for our esteemed Ambassadors for Sustainable Tourism to be the faces of our sector, using their status and influence to showcase its unique power to drive recovery and transform lives.”

Reflecting the need for diverse voices, UNWTO counts on the generous support of its Ambassadors for Sustainable Tourism to amplify its messages and promote its work to audiences around the world. Yavuz Selim Yükselir serves as Chairman of the Board of Yükselir Group, which is active in 12 different sectors, most notably in tourism accommodation, aviation and innovation and technology, and has a presence in 24 countries. He was named a UNWTO Ambassador in January 2021, joining leading figures from the worlds of sport, entertainment, gastronomy, business and more.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO: Making Tourism Stronger and Ready for the Future

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UNWTO: Making Tourism Stronger and Ready for the Future - TRAVELINDEX - ZURAB-POLOKASHVILIMadrid, Spain, December 29, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / This has been another challenging year for our societies, our economies and tourism. Many millions of jobs and businesses remain in peril, at the mercy of an evolving crisis and of the actions of governments. However, we are by no means in the same place we were when the pandemic was declared in March 2020. In fact, we have succeeded in laying the foundations to restart tourism around the pillars of sustainability, innovation, people and investing for a resilient future.

Working together

Over the past year, much progress has been made in rolling out vaccinations and in both detecting and treating COVID-19. We have also seen significant progress made in finding the right balance between keeping people safe and keeping the vital lifeline of tourism intact, as illustrated by UNWTO’s effective collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) since the very start of the pandemic.

A collaborative and multilateral approach is and must remain at the centre of capitalizing on the lessons we have learned in such a short space of time.

Ensuring harmonized travel protocols has been our message since day one. They are at the heart of tourism’s restart in many parts of the world, most notably in the Northern Hemisphere destinations during the peak summer months.

We are also encouraged by the resilience and determination coming from the tourism sector itself, as well as from our Member States.

Like never before, the pandemic has made clear tourism’s relevance to our economies and societies. Tourism is now part of the global conversation and at the heart of both national and international recovery action plans.

Expanding on our mandate

Interest in UNWTO’s innovation and start-up competitions keeps growing, showcasing the talent we have unleashed, and our shared readiness to hear new voices and embrace new ideas.

Our global innovation ecosystem is now made up of more than 12,000 start-ups from 160 countries, with US$83 million mobilized and 300 corporate partners currently working on new tourism technologies.

And UNWTO’s education programmes are reaching unprecedented numbers of people, welcoming more than 20,000 students from 100 countries in just 18 months. We promote lifelong learning thanks to partnerships with the world’s top five institutions in tourism and hospitality. Together, IE university, Les Riches, Glion Institute, Ecole du Casse and the Swiss Education Group offer 19 online courses in Spanish, English and Arabic – a true ‘online university of universities’.

Underpinning it all are data analytics on tourism investments powered by our partnership with the Financial Times. Through this, we have produced the first UNWTO tourism investment guidelines, which we are now scaling up to create guidelines for doing tourism businesses by country.

Restarting tourism is unthinkable without green investments. We are collaborating with institutions such as the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and the Inter-American Development Bank. To date, more than 200 investors are part of UNWTO’s global investment network advancing critical work such as supporting hotel chains from 50 countries to become more sustainable.

For people and planet

Tourism is ready to do the hard work and live up to its responsibilities to people and planet, as demonstrated by the huge interest we have received in the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, launched at the UN Climate Summit COP26. We are receiving a growing number of commitments to halve emissions by 2030 and to reach NetZero by 2050 at the latest, with Member countries, individual destinations, global companies and local players as well as media outlets, hundreds are on board, and counting.

And for people, we are making sure the benefits tourism offers are enjoyed as widely and fairly as possible. That includes establishing the sector as a driver of rural development, as celebrated through the Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO initiative. Launched to great enthusiasm this year, 44 villages from 32 countries were granted the recognition during our recent General Assembly, for showing a commitment to tourism development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 24th UNWTO General Assembly in Madrid brought our Members together to speak with one voice. Members commended UNWTO’s work done during the pandemic and its vision for the future of both the Organization and the sector, endorsing key initiatives such as a first International Code for the Protection of Tourists. This landmark legal framework is designed to restore trust in travel, a vital ingredient for recovery.

I am very grateful for the wide support of our Members, who have put their trust in me to serve a second term as UNWTO Secretary-General.

Mainstreaming tourism

In a crisis, you realize both what’s important and who your friends are.

Like never before, the pandemic has made clear tourism’s relevance to our economies and societies. Tourism is now part of the global conversation and at the heart of both national and international recovery action plans.

And support for UNWTO has never been louder or more visible. Over the past 12 months, we have strengthened our key partnerships, among them the G20 and G7, as well as ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization), FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), the World Bank, IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), CAF, (The Development Bank of Latin America) and the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development). We have further strengthened our voice at the top of the United Nations, including the landmark recognition of tourism and UNWTO by the UN Secretary-General.

Closer to our Members

UNWTO has made a significant leap to be on the ground next to our Members. This year we opened the first Regional Office for the Middle East in Riyadh, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Built and opened in record time, it will serve as the platform to deliver our commitment to education and as a global centre for tourism and rural development.

Moving closer to our Members in other regions is an ongoing task and we will also work towards opening the first regional offices in Africa and the Americas.

As we advance preparations for these new hubs, we also welcome new Member States. Antigua and Barbuda, a destination where tourism is an economic pillar, has joined UNWTO. This shows that tourism-dependent countries look to UNWTO and depend on us, and we are ready to live up to this responsibility. Alongside this our network of Affiliate Members of the private sector, local administrations, destinations and academia, keeps growing.

So too does our collaboration with media outlets through new partnerships with Euronews, Xinhua and Travel Index, which build on our existing relationship with CNN International. As a result, the message of tourism for development will continue reaching a global audience of unprecedented size and diversity.

The future begins now

The way in which the pandemic has developed over the closing weeks of the year gives us all reason for concern and to again put public health above everything else.

But recent developments again validate our initial position: the only way forward is through collaboration and actions that are based on evidence rather than on speculation or political strategy.

UNWTO is in a good place to use the achievements of 2021 as a springboard for building a better tourism in the years to come, with the sector ready to return once conditions are right.

It is in this spirit that I wish everybody a safe and healthy 2022. UNWTO stands by your side, to keep on working together for our joint progress.

Zurab Pololikashvili
Secretary-General

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Confirmed as New Chairperson of World Committee on Tourism Ethics

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Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Confirmed as New Chairperson of World Committee on Tourism Ethics - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 20, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former Executive Director of UN Women, has been confirmed as the new Chairperson of the World Committee on Tourism Ethics.

The 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly, which met in Madrid (30 Novemer-3 December) unanimously approved Dr.  Mlambo-Ngcuka’s nomination for the position. She will serve as Chair for four years, starting on 3 December 2021, taking over from Pascal Lamy, former Director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

“It is with great honour that I accept this appointment and I will, together with the members of the Ethics Committee, work hard to provide a fair guidance towards more ethical practices in the tourism sector.” said Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

With her rich background and experience of leadership, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka will ensure that the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics continue to serve as a compass directing us towards a fairer and more inclusive tourism sector

UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili added: “With her rich background and experience of leadership, Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka will ensure that the principles of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics continue to serve as a compass directing us towards a fairer and more inclusive tourism sector.”

New Committee Members Confirmed

The World Committee on Tourism Ethics is the independent body responsible for interpreting, applying and evaluating the provisions of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The Committee’s tasks include the promotion and dissemination of the Code as well as the evaluation and monitoring of its implementation. Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka brings to the role significant experience working in the fields of human rights, equality and social justice, most notably serving as an Undersecretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women for two terms.

The 24th UNWTO General Assembly also approved the appointment of the following as Committee Members: Ms. Mayada Belal (Undersecretary for the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research for Cultural Cooperation), Mr. José Ignacio Besga Zuazola (President of the Basque Country Ethics Cluster), Ms. Susan Longley (General Secretary of the International Union of Food, Agriculture, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), Ms. Daniela Otero (Chief Executive Officer of Skal International).

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Ms. Gunnur Diker (Partner and General Manager of Eurasia Tourism Ltd.), Mr. Shahid Hamid Fih (Chairman & Founder of SH’otel Hospitality Management & Consultancy Ltd) and Prof. Marina Novelli (Professor of Tourism and International Development at the University of Brighton) were also appointed as alternate members of the Committee.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

24th UNWTO General Assembly: Tourism United, Resilient and Determined

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24th UNWTO General Assembly: Tourism United, Resilient and Determined

Madrid, Spain, December 12, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Over the course of three days, the 24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly underscored global tourism’s commitment to restarting around the shared pillars of sustainability, innovation and solidarity.

Representatives of 131 UNWTO Member States, including 59 Ministers and Vice-Ministers of Tourism, attended the Assembly in the Spanish capital, Madrid (30 November – 3 December). Alongside the participation of Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Ms. Reyes Maroto, the political support to UNWTO from the Spanish government was underlined with the presence of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares. On the eve of the General Assembly, the King of Spain Felipe VI expressed his recognition of tourism’s socio-economic relevance and appreciation of the role of UNWTO.

Unprecedented reach and recognition

UNWTO presented its accomplishments over the past two years since the last General Assembly, most notably guiding tourism through the biggest crisis in the history of the sector. Against this backdrop. members endorsed the Programme of Work for the coming biennium and voted strongly (77%) in favour of the Secretary-General serving a second term (2022- 2025). United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, as well as the leaders of key UN agencies UNWTO has been working with throughout the pandemic – WHO, ICAO and UNCTAD – delivered dedicated messages to UNWTO.
Power of youth and private sector

The General Assembly united Member States and Affiliate Members around a shared vision for the future of tourism and UNWTO itself. Members endorsed a landmark International Code for the Protection of Tourists, making clear the responsibilities every part of the sector has in assisting tourists in crisis situations and so helping restore trust in international travel.

Sustainable, inclusive future

Away from the Plenary Sessions for Members, the General Assembly also saw UNWTO bring Tourism Ministers and representatives from international organizations and the private sector together for a special Thematic Session on “Building for the Future: Innovation, Education and Rural Development”. Here, the winners of the UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Competition were announced, as was the first list of Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO, recognizing the power of new ideas to create opportunities outside of big cities and those destinations that are already leading the way in harnessing the power of tourism as a driver of recovery and sustainable development.

At the same time, the best young talent was also celebrated with the winners of the UNWTO Students’ League sharing their ideas alongside established sector leaders. And the role of UNWTO’s Affiliate Members in putting plans into action the ground was also emphasized. New Affiliate Members were welcomed and examples of effective public-private partnerships singled out, for helping tourism adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Members voted to hold the 25th Session of the General Assembly in 2023 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Before then, as also endorsed by Members, Bali in Indonesia will host World Tourism Day 2022, to be held around the timely theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be the host country for World Tourism Day 2023, to be held around the theme of ‘Tourism for Green Investment’.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO Calls Against Blanket Travel Restrictions

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UNWTO Calls Against Blanket Travel Restrictions

Madrid, Spain, December 9, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations calls out against the introduction of blanket restrictions on travel, as witnessed in recent days. This call echoes the concerns raised by UNWTO Members during the 24th UNWTO General Assembly (30 November–3 December). Countries from all global regionsexpressed their solidarity with Southern African states, calling for the immediate lifting of travel bans imposed on specific countries and for freedom of international travel to be upheld.

UNWTO takes note of the recent declarations of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the unfairness and ineffectiveness of blanket travel in respect to the countries of Southern Africa.

Restrictions ineffective and discriminatory

In light of recent developments, UNWTO has once again reminded countries that the imposition of blanket restrictions on travel is discriminatory, ineffective and contrary to WHO recommendations. Blanket restrictions may also stigmatize countries or whole regions.

During the UNWTO General Assembly, Members States and partners, including voices from international organizations and across the private sector, echoed WHO’s advice that travel restrictions should only be imposed as a very last resort in response to changing circumstances. Furthermore, it was stressed that if restrictions are introduced, they must be proportionate, transparent, and scientifically based. They must also only be introduced with a full appreciation of what halting international travel would mean for the most vulnerable, including those developing countries and individuals who depend on tourism for their economies and livelihoods.

Coordination not discrimination

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNWTO has called for coordinated and evidence-based approaches to balancing public health concerns with keeping the lifeline of tourism intact. Over recent months, such an approach has been shown to be the most effective way forward.

UNWTO notes that travel and vaccination levels are closely connected, as the emergence of new variants facilitated by low levels of vaccination has shown. As such, UNWTO calls on all countries to act in solidarity to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all, to recognize all WHO approved vaccines for the purpose of international travel and to facilitate access to patents for local production of vaccines.

First published at TravelCommunication.net – Global Travel News

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

At General Assembly UNWTO Points Tourism towards a Greener Future

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At General Assembly UNWTO Points Tourism towards a Greener Future - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 6, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Innovation, youth empowerment and tourism and rural development took centre stage as Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez Pérez-Castejón joined UNWTO for the third day of its General Assembly in Madrid.

With the opening days of the most important meeting in global tourism focused on UNWTO’s response to the impacts of the pandemic and uniting Members behind its leadership and Programme of Work, the third day looked ahead to a more sustainable and inclusive future for the sector. Addressing a special Thematic Session, “Building for the Future: Innovation, Education and Rural Development”, Prime Minister Sánchez recognized the importance of the sector for providing opportunities outside of cities, both in Spain and worldwide, while also reaffirming his Government’s support for UNWTO’s mission.

Also addressing delegates, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “If we are serious about ‘leaving nobody behind’, then we must get serious about innovation, about education and about advancing tourism as a tool for rural development. That means empowering youth, supporting tourism talent, and also giving the best solutions the political and financial support they need to scale up and transform our sector.”

Ministers Advance Shared Vision for Sector

If we are serious about ‘leaving nobody behind’, then we must get serious about innovation, about education and about advancing tourism as a tool for rural development.

The session included a Ministerial Debate on ‘Politics to Foster Tourism for Rural Development’, with insights and inputs from the Ministers of Tourism for Colombia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Paraguay, Slovenia, Tanzania, Spain and Turkey. This was followed by a roundtable on entrepreneurship and innovation in innovation. Representing Members States were Ministers of Tourism from Chile, Greece, Japan, Jordan, Nigeria, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, while the private sector was represented by winners of the UNWTO Global Rural Tourism Startup Competition. Concluding, a discussion on empowering the tourism leaders of the future, with reference to the UNWTO Students’ League, featured contributions from the Ministers of Tourism for Bulgaria, Lebanon, Maldives and Oman, as well as students themselves.

As well as looking to the future, the General Assembly also celebrated destinations that are already leading the way in making tourism a pillar of rural development and opportunity. From hundreds of entries, 44 villages from 32 countries were named as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO.

Uzbekistan to host 25th General Assembly

In addition to the Thematic Session, the third day of the 24th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly once again saw Members meet to discuss and approve the Programme of Work for the next two years. On the agenda was the UNWTO leadership’s determination to move the Secretariat closer to Member States, as exemplified by the first Regional Office for the Middle East, opened in June this year and ratified by Member States at the General Assembly. Several Members expressed a wish to host future Regional Offices and so serve as hubs for UNWTO’s work in their regions.

Members voted for Uzbekistan to host the 25th UNWTO General Assembly, scheduled to be held in 2023 and agreed to examining plans to create a new taskforce to ‘Redesign Tourism for the Future’. Additionally, Bali in Indonesia was confirmed as host for World Tourism Day 2022, to be held around the timely theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were similarly confirmed as the host country for World Tourism Day 2023, to be held around the year of ‘Tourism for Green Investments’.

The General Assembly also fulfilled its obligation with regards to elections, with Member States supporting nominations for new members to serve on the World Committee on Tourism Ethics. Furthermore, 17 countries were confirmed to sit on the UNWTO Executive Council from 2021 to 2025, with Puerto Rico to serve as the representative of Affiliate Members.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News

UNWTO Members Support Leadership and Back Plan for Tourism’s Future

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UNWTO Members Support Leadership and Back Plan for Tourism’s Future - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, December 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Member States of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have strongly aligned themselves behind its leadership and vision for the sector. Coming together for the 24th General Assembly in Madrid, Spain, Members from every global region approved the Organization’s Programme of Work and endorsed key initiatives designed to build a more a resilient, inclusive and sustainable tourism.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The General Assembly has brought together more than 1,000 delegates from 135 countries, including 84 Ministers of Tourism as well as business leaders, destinations and representatives of key international organizations. Opening the General Assembly, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili cited the spirit of solidarity and determination that has defined tourism’s response to an unprecedented crisis. In presenting his Report to Members, he made clear how a focus on collaboration and harmonization of protocols, political advocacy and securing financial support for tourism, have help the sector mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and laid the foundations for tourism’s restart in many parts of the country.

UN and International Community Backing

We must make the most of this opportunity – to transform goodwill into concrete support

Mr Pololikashvili said: “In every global region, the pandemic has made clear the importance of our sector – for economic growth, for jobs and trade, and for protecting natural and cultural heritage. We must make the most of this opportunity – to transform goodwill into concrete support.”

Emphasizing the significance of the General Assembly, as well as UNWTO’s elevated stature within the global agenda, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed delegates and called for them to work together for a “green, inclusive, sustainable” future. Mr Guterres added: “I commend UNWTO and Secretary-General Pololikashvili and hope the decisions taken at the General Assembly will help restore trust in travel and get the world moving safely do developing economies can reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.”

The United Nations Secretary-Generals words of support were echoed by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, by Rebeca Greenspan, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), by Juan Carlos Salazar Gómez, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and by Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas.

Alongside receiving an updated on UNWTO’s activities since the last General Assembly two years ago, Members also benefited from a comprehensive overview of the latest tourism trends, as indicated by UNWTO’s latest data, as well as an updated overview of restrictions on travel worldwide. From the floor of the Assembly, Members from different global regions expressed their solidarity with countries impacted by the continued imposition of travel restrictions. Also in Madrid, Member States voted in person to approve the UNWTO Executive Council’s nomination of Mr Pololikashvili to serve as Secretary-General for a second term. On the back of the strongly favorable vote, Mr Pololikashvili will lead UNWTO from 2022 to 2025.

UNWTO Again Welcomes Royal Approval

On the eve of the General Assembly, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain praised UNWTO’s “outstanding work” leading global tourism, most notably over the past 18 months during the worst crisis in the sector’s history. At a special Royal Gala Dinner, His Majesty also emphasized the importance of tourism for economies and societies, both in Spain and globally, making the sector’s recovery essential for many millions of people.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

First published at TravelCommunication.net

First published at TravelNewsHub.com – Global Travel News