MADRID: “A unique opportunity to get the sector united towards the common goal of making tourism a true driver of sustainable development.”
This is how the World Tourism Organisation secretary general, Taleb Rifai, described the forthcoming UNWTO General Assembly.
The bi-annual event, which takes place in Chengdu, China on September 11th-16th, will discuss how to advance the contribution of tourism to theSustainable Development Goals and define the actions of the organisation for the period 2018-2019.
A high-level debate on tourism and the SDGs, a special session on smart tourism, the celebrations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the conversion of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics into an international convention and current trends of the tourism sector are all integrated into the agenda of the 22nd session of the UNWTO General Assembly.
The assembly will also discuss the lines of action and key priorities of the organisation for the two coming years.
“This assembly gives us a unique opportunity to take key decisions that will guide us towards making a strong contribution to the future of people and planet,” said Rifai.
“The UNWTO General Assembly constitutes the most relevant meeting of global tourism leaders and therefore we should capitalise on this occasion.
“Tourism is at a crossroads.
“This assembly is our opportunity to strengthen our sector in view of the changes it faces.” he added.
This 22nd session of the General Assembly is the second hosted in China and the fourth in Asia and the Pacific.
“China is not only the world’s fourth most-visited country and the first outbound market in the world; it is also an example of a country prioritizing tourism as a driver for development.
“The efforts of Chinese authorities to define tourism as a strategic pillar of the national economy and an effective development tool make China a fitting host for this UNWTO General Assembly,” said Rifai.