• UNWTO General Assembly appoints Zurab Pololikashvili Secretary General for 2018-2021

    Ramesh Tiwari
    September 14, 2017
    UNWTO General Assembly appoints Zurab Pololikashvili  Secretary General for 2018-2021

    Zurab Pololikashvili, current Ambassador of Georgia to Spain, Morocco, Algeria and Andorra, has been appointed Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021.

    The candidature of Zurab Pololikashvili was presented by his country, Georgia, in accordance with the UNWTO statutes.

    Zurab Pololikashvili was elected by consensus at the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly being held in Chengdu, China, following the recommendation of the 105th UNWTO Executive Council.

    Zurab Pololikashvili was Minister of Economic Development of Georgia (2009-2010) and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (2005-2006).

    Zurab Pololikashvili shares his views on the future of the World Tourism Organization

    Q- What are your priorities for the Organization in the four years to come? What would you like to achieve?

    A- My vision for UNWTO is fully based on the needs of its Member States, considering current political and economic uncertainties across the globe. Let me briefly present some key areas. One of the top priorities will be to expand the UNWTO membership and attract new countries to join the Organization for them to benefit from its services and activities. Cooperation with new Members on tourism’s contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is essential in order to assist governments and companies in incorporating relevant aspects of the SDGs into policies and business operations.

    I will actively encourage leading donor agencies to be involved in the implementation of a wide range of projects and capacitybuilding programmes on national and sub-regional levels.

    I propose to initiate the following thematic platforms to expand UNWTO’s advocacy work and awareness-raising: a global leaders’ summit on travel and tourism for heads of state, in parallel with the UNWTO General Assembly; an annual ministerial meeting on safety, security and travel facilitation to enhance effective inter-sectorial coordination; an annual global ‘invest in tourism’ forum to promote investment opportunities and share best international practices on investment and incentive policies; and an annual ministerial-level forum on climate change and tourism to offer specific recommendations on implementing long-term sustainable development policies.

    I believe that Member States need more technical expertise from the Organization. In this regard, UNWTO should regularly prepare individual recommendations for individual governments to support sustainable and competitive growth of travel and tourism by developing policy guidelineson destination management.

    Q- The current Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, has been described by Member States and the private sector as a consensus builder and a great leader for the sector worldwide. Besides building consensus and showing leadership, what are in your opinion the additional challenges of a UNWTO Secretary-General?

    A- First of all, I would like to emphasize that under the leadership of the current SecretaryGeneral, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO and the global tourism industry have achieved tremendous success to become one of the most important socio-economic sectors. Dr. Rifai increased the visibility of UNWTO and made politicians more responsible for travel and tourism.

    Besides leadership and an ability to build consensus, I think a Secretary-General should demonstrate dynamism while championing innovation in this challenging time, as well as achieving results -driven outcomes with both government and private sector Members by delivering technical expertise through concrete recommendations and projects.

    Q- 2016 will probably be the eighth year of consecutive growth for international tourism, and according to UNWTO ‘Tourism Towards 2030’, it is estimated that there will be 1.8 billion international arrivals by 2030. What is your view on the main challenges and opportunities facing the sector in the years to come?

    A- I think UNWTO should be focusing on long-term challenges. Safety and security and climate change are key challenges but there are many other external factors affecting global travel and  tourism. UNWTO should undertake serious steps to manage thematic platforms so that dialogue among decision-makers results in effective inter-sectorial coordination.

    As of opportunities, from my point of view, UNWTO should strengthen its expertise and prepare guidelines on management and marketing for various types of tourism destinations considering current technological advances, new business models and the rise of digital tourism.

    Courtesy : UNWTO

    Sept.14 ,2017

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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