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Tourism Ministers of the World Pledge to Make International Travel Safe Again

The Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) on Thursday signed the “Tbilisi Declaration” with a commitment to make international travel safe again.

Announced during the UNWTO 112th Executive Council Meeting in Georgia, the “Tbilisi Declaration: Actions for Sustainable Recovery” recognizes tourism as one of the worst-affected of all sectors by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and identifies the global standstill as a chance to realign the sector towards a more sustainable and inclusive future.

According to Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, the declaration represents the UNWTO’s commitment to work towards a sustainable recovery of tourism for people, planet and prosperity.

Held during September 15-17 in Tbilisi, Georgia, the Executive Council meeting was able to gather 170 delegates from 24 countries, who all agreed to support the “Tbilisi Declaration”.

Restart of tourism must be properly managed 

Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

In his welcoming remarks at the meeting, Pololikashvili underscored “that the restart of tourism must be properly managed and that our sector lives up to its unique potential”.

He added that “this crisis has made clear the important role tourism plays in every part of our lives”, laying the ground to “work together to build a tourism sector that works for everyone, where sustainability and innovation are part of everything we do”.

During the meeting, Pololikashvili outlined the UNWTO’s accomplishments of the past 12 months. This included the provision of technical support to members, tourism advocacy at the very highest political level, and furthering the sector’s contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals from within the wider United Nations system.

The UNWTO 112th Executive Council Meeting in Tbilisi was the first major in-person event involving tourism and the United Nations held since the Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

Moreover, during the meeting, the members of the Council confirmed plans to open UNWTO’s first Regional Office, to be located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which recently announced its ambitious plans to open up its tourism sector to the world, including through the relaxation of visa rules for visitors.

Members also unanimously accepted Spain’s proposal to host the 113th session of the Executive Council, during which the elections for the Secretary-General for 2022-2025 period will be held (19 January 2021).

To conclude the session, UNWTO held an Investment Forum, bringing together experts from across the public and private sector to explore opportunities and challenges for investments in tourism in the post-pandemic landscape.

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