“The General Assembly reflects the importance of our sector and I look forward to welcoming leaders from around the world and working with them to identify ways tourism can continue to be a global force for good.”
The above message reflects the importance the secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili attaches to global tourism leaders with whom he works.
With his position as the chief of the UN Tourism Agency, the former Georgian Diplomat was affable and embraced all ideas and listened more to members on how to make UNWTO the enviable brand and grow it from strength to strength.
In his first General Assembly as the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili received thunderous applause and endorsement from member states after he presented his report.
Highlights of the report included UNWTO’s partnership with some multinationals, initiation of projects in member states and more importantly how the UNWTO has become financially self-sustaining, growing its cash balance from a precarious position of -780,000 Euros two years ago to 2.4 million Euros now.
The report revealed a number of projects in member states. "The UNWTO Agenda for Africa: tourism for inclusive growth" was one of the region’s greatest takeaways from the General Assembly.
Ringing changes to what used to be the norm at UNWTO General Assemblies, the 23rd session, right from the get-go, was the introduction of the disruptive elements in making it more efficient and bringing real meaning to its mantra of saving the environment by encouraging participation through the UNWTO Event App.
It was reassuring to see Ministers and senior public and private officials in tourism all using the application. It made decision-making easier and alerts were received 15 minutes to start of an event. You had all session programed on the application upholding transparency at tourism’s biggest gathering.
The Secretary General’s Report was presented in an electronic format and amendments are made in real time. He remarked that, it will definitely take time for everyone to come along on the digital revolution-taking place at UNWTO but was quick to add of how impressive about the adaptability.
The introduction of the electronic voting at the general Assembly was a huge success and the commitment of members was remarkable. Election was within a minute over and results displayed in the next minute.
The Russian Federation Tourism Agency led by Zarina Doguzova put their best foot forward and from the beginning to the end was magnificent. The event could match any big gathering in the world and a welcoming Saint Petersburg gave delegates a reason to be back in Russia’s tourist capital.
Africa looks forward to welcoming the world to Marrakech, Morocco who was elected to host the 24th General Assembly.