UNWTO backs strong, united plan for global tourism

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The Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization has met in-person and virtually for its 112th session

This was the first major in-person event involving tourism and the United Nations held since the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. The Executive Council was able to gather 170 delegates from 24 countries, who all agreed to support the Tbilisi Declaration with its commitment to making international travel safe again. The Council also decided to open a first UNWTO regional office.

The Executive Council of the United Nations specialized agency ensures that the Organization fulfils its programme of work and adheres to its budget. After the session was opened by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gacharia, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili outlined the accomplishments of the past 12 months. This included the provision of technical support to Members, tourism advocacy at the very highest political level, and furthering the sector’s contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals from within the wider United Nations system.

Tourism during and beyond COVID-19

Opening the meeting, the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gacharia said: “The post-crisis era presents an opportunity for our tourism sector to showcase the uniqueness of Georgia and make the country into a leading destination, with the many social and economic benefits this will bring”.

Work together to build a tourism sector that works for everyone, where sustainability and innovation are part of everything we do

In his welcoming remarks, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili underscored “that the restart of tourism must be properly managed and that our sector lives up to its unique potential”. He added that “this crisis has made clear the important role tourism plays in every part of our lives”, laying the ground to “work together to build a tourism sector that works for everyone, where sustainability and innovation are part of everything we do”.

Further proving tourism’s global recognition, for the first time ever the UN Secretary-General sent a message of support to the Executive Council, remembering tourism’s key role for people and planet. António Guterres said that “tourism can be a force for good in our world, playing a part in protecting our planet in its biodiversity, and celebrating what makes us human”. He further stressed that “this Executive Council is an important platform for collaboration, to explore the way forward and to support the future of tourism”.