The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, has arrived in Rome to begin a first visit to Italy as head of the specialized agency of the United Nations. During the three-day trip, he will meet with H.E. Mr. Gian Marco Centinaio, Minister of Agricultural, Food, Forestry Policies and Tourism for Italy. Mr Pololikashvili will also pay an official visit to the Vatican on Thursday, where he will be granted an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis.
Italy is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. The country welcomes more than 58 million visitors a year and the sector generates in excess of US$44 billion for the Italian economy annually. Italy is also a strong, long-standing partner of UNWTO and this official visit is aimed at celebrating this partnership while at that same time sharing knowledge and plans for making tourism a driver of sustainable economic development and inclusive job creation.
Mr. Pololikashvili says “I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received here in Italy, a key partner of UNWTO. This visit will reinforce the already strong ties between UNWTO and the Italian government. I am particularly excited about learning of Italy’s plans to harness the growing market for gastronomy tourism to drive job creation and protect the country’s unique cultural heritage”.
Mr. Gian Marco Centinaio adds: “We believe in the role Italy can play alongside UNWTO and we are confident we will continue to enjoy a fruitful partnership together in the years ahead. From focusing on gastronomy and wine tourism to leveraging the importance of employment and training, Italy is committed to embracing tourism also as a powerful tool for the sustainable development of its rural economy.”
In addition to meeting with Pope Francis, Zurab Pololikashvili will also visit the Sistine Chapel, one of the world’s leading tourist points of interest and also meet with representatives from the private sector, as well as with Mr. Carlo, Cafarotti, Advisor for Tourism and Economic Development of Rome to discuss destination management and the UNWTO’s work in the growing