Leave a legacy, deliver lasting change – UNWTO Boss tells Tourism Ministers

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The Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili has charged Tourism Ministers from across the world to use their terms in office to leave positive imprints on the sector.

While acknowledging the relatively short period of time a Minister may spend heading a tourism portfolio, he insisted that they can still do something that would have a great impact on tourism. Pololikashvili was addressing Ministers of Tourism at the World Travel Market Ministers’ Summit in London today, on the theme, “Rethinking Tourism.”

“We need to see more action from governments. All of us here today recognize that governments come and go. As Ministers of Tourism, your leadership in our sector may last for decades or maybe just a year or two. I call on you to leave a legacy. Deliver lasting change,” he said.

To be able to do this, the UNWTO Secretary-General impressed on the Ministers to drive greater investments into tourism while building strong infrastructure and developing human capacities.

He stated: “The most effective way of doing this is investing in tourism: In its people and its infrastructure. Restructure financing so that the sector gets the support it needs to become more resilient and sustainable. I guarantee you it will be an investment that delivers long-term gains. So, for this summit and moving forward, I want to hear real proposals and commitments, not just ideas.”

Pololikashvili also added that the Ministers’ Summit provides a fine opportunity for tourism leaders to think about how to drive sector to ensure sustainable growth.

“We have made the Ministers’ Summit a platform to address the key ideas driving our sector. This means asking the right questions: Is it realistic to go back to the record figures of before the pandemic? How can we ensure that our ecosystems and societies sustain growth? Are we on the right path?” He quizzed.

Re-echoing the words of the UN Secretary-General, the World Tourism Head stressed, “The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres has warned us that the global community is “moving backward” in our efforts to build a more prosperous and equal world.

“This calls for an honest assessment of our sector. We must ask hard questions. And find the right solutions. We have a responsibility to get back on track. And I am sure that we have the power to do so too.”

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