#UNWTOGA: St Petersburg readies to host Tourism’s biggest gathering

The Northern Russian and tourist haven of St. Petersburg is all but set to welcome the movers and shakers of the travel and tourism industry during the 23rd session of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly from 9th to 13th September 2019.

The 23rd General Assembly (GA) will be the first time the event is being held in Russia. Senior Officials of the Russia Federation are expected to grace the event.

The Tauride Palace, ExpoForum Convention and Exhibition Centre and the Presidential Library are venues for the five-day summit.

Zurab Pololikashvili Secretary General of UNWTO

The General Assembly is the supreme organ of UNWTO. Its ordinary sessions are held every two years and are attended by delegates from UNWTO Full and Associate Members, as well as representatives from UNWTO Affiliate Members.
It is considered the most important global meeting of senior tourism officials and high-level ‎representatives of the private sector. ‎

The Secretary General of UNWTO Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili will be presiding over his first GA since assuming duty in January 2018.

Over 1,500 delegates including 175 Members states, affiliates the private sector and the media are expected to participate at the summit.

Major announcements will be made at the event. Amongst them is the next host of the 24th General Assembly. Kenya, the Kingdom of Morocco and Philippines are bidding to host the next Assembly in 2021.

Individuals and organizations who have excelled and impacted the sector will be celebrated during the 15th UNWTO Awards which forms part of the GA. The Awards recognize the contribution of public and private institutions, as well as NGOs, in the development of a more competitive, responsible and sustainable tourism sector that works towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

High-Level Forum on Medical and Health Tourism
Health, wellness and medical tourism have grown exponentially in recent years to become increasingly relevant in many destinations. Health tourism is an emerging, global, complex and rapidly changing segment that needs to be better understood by destinations willing to leverage opportunities and better address challenges.

The forum will be held on 10 September and will look into market trends and prospects, national policies to foster health tourism, models of collaboration between public and private sector as well as the role of this segment in promoting increased income for destinations as well as decrease seasonality.


Ministerial debate on Education and Employment in Tourism

On 12 September, the Ministerial Debate on the theme “Education and Employment in Tourism, realizing SDG 4 and SDG 8” will discuss the challenges of the Future of Work in Tourism and how the sector can adapt to contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal at the national and global levels, more specifically, SDGs 4 and 8.

High-Level Summit on Innovation and Sustainable Development in Tourism
Innovation and Sustainable Development in Tourism will rethink, optimize and demonstrate solutions and approaches that countries could apply to effectively decouple the tourism sector’s growth from resources use, while addressing a range of relevant topics such as the competitiveness of the tourism sector and the criticality of education, innovation and sustainability. It also aims at encouraging dialogue and action, to sensitize decision-makers about raising sustainable transportation policies as a priority for sustainable development and climate action through innovation pathways.

UNWTO Tourism Video Competition
The 23rd session of the General Assembly will feature the 4th edition of the UNWTO Tourism Video Competition. The importance of multimedia for tourism communications cannot be underestimated. This is especially true against the backdrop of ever-growing digitalization, changing viewer and user habits and the consolidation of mobile-first strategies.

The 61st UNWTO CAF Meeting in Abuja-Nigeria


The 62nd Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting

The 62nd meeting of the Regional Commission for Africa (CAF) will be held during the General Assembly on 10th September 2019 at the Tauride Palace. The Secretary-General will present to the Members of the UNWTO Commission for Africa his report on the implementation of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030: Tourism for inclusive growth, undertaken and championed by the Member States since the 61st Regional Commission Meeting.

The Tauride palace

The Commission will also elect a chair and two vice-chairs from among its Members for a term of two years, commencing from the twenty-third session of the General Assembly. The Seychelles Island has expressed its desire to host the 63rd CAF Meeting.

ST PETERSBURG -FACT FILE
St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea. It was the imperial capital for two centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, subject of the city's iconic “Bronze Horseman” statue. It remains Russia's cultural center, with venues such as the Mariinsky Theatre hosting opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum showcasing Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works.

This piece was first published in the September Issue of the VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine

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