Zurab Pololikashvili | Confirmed UNWTO New Secretary General

CHENGDU: Mr. Zurab Pololikashviliwas confirmed as the new Secretary General of the global body in charge of tourism in 22nd session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly held Chengdu, China recently. His confirmation follows the recommendation of the UNWTO Executive Council as he was elected in May during the council meeting held in Spain, Madrid.

The Georgian delegation headed by Georgia’s Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister MikheilJanelidze attended the procedure while participating at the UNWTO’s General Assembly.

Pololikashvili, who takes over from the outgoing General Secretary, Dr. Taleb Rifai, whose mandate is for four years, effective January 2018 spanning 2021, finally got the nod after Zimbabwe, which had earlier protested the manner of his election and called for a second look into the matter had withdrawn its protest.

His confirmation through an open ballot by the members was applauded with many congratulating the new Secretary General. Zimbabwe’s Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr. Walter Mzembi, who contested the position with him during the executive council session and emerged the first runner up, was the first to congratulate him.

Pololikashvili described his confirmation as a vote of friendship while pledging to work for the good of tourism and carry through the agenda of the member states even as he thanked Rifai for his work and China for being a gracious host.

On his part, Rifai, who through his years in office worked tirelessly to promote tourism and lead global tourism into an era of year on year growth over the last one decade, said “I will miss you all.”

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