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July 23, 2018

New UNWTO Deputy Secretary General, how did he get there?


He is a good man, and it’s a great improvement for UNWTO, but how he got there may have been part of the game. According to information received by eTN Sources, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili just appointed Colombian Ambassador Jaime Alberto Cabal as his deputy.
This has not been officially confirmed by UNWTO .

eTN had received information some time ago and called ambassador Cabal in March to confirm or deny the rumors. The ambassador told eTN he had no such plans to work for UNWTO and only talked to SG Zurab one time after the election. He told eTN, he had no reason to give up his post as Colombian ambassador to Austria and move to Madrid to take a post at UNWTO.

The same eTN Source alleged the expected appointment was part of an agreement already quietly made before the recent UNWTO Secretary-General election.  The source had told eTN at that time the only reason ambassador Cabal was running himself for the post of UNWTO Secretary-General was to take away votes from other candidates and to eventually have these votes drop down to Zurab who was running for Georgia.

This move may have very well given the necessary majority to Zurab, so he eventually was able to secure a majority in the second round of the election. In return Zurab had promised the deputy position to Ambassador Cabal. eTN had heard this already since the Executive Committee voted more than a year  ago in Madrid. Cabal had denied this when he talked to eTN in March.

Interesting is also the fact all other candidates who had a position at UNWTO left or were asked to leave the organization, and Ambassador Cabal is now in.

Regardless, Cabal’s appointment should be seen as a good move after all. Cabal is highly qualified and the organization needs a strong deputy to get back on track. “The fact Mr. Cabal is accessable to media alone is a welcoming and fresh breeze coming from Madrid,” said Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTN.

Who is Jaime Alberto Cabal? 

The new deputy UNWTO Secretary General  Jaime Alberto Cabal, a former Minister of Colombia and Colombian Ambassador to Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Montenegro, Czech Republic and Serbia occupied different positions in the corporate and business association sector. He has assumed governmental responsibilities as well as diplomatic and academic activities distinguishing himself by his leadership and management, geared towards the creation and transformation of organizations with a high impact on the socio-economic development of the country, and by his entrepreneurship, creation of employment, job and education opportunities.

His expertise and professional competence are related to the design and implementation of public policies for the development of strategic sectors and the socio-economic and sustainable development of the country, especially in the industrial and tourism sector, and are associated with the creation, set-up, restructuring and planning of organizations, business associations and companies as well as with the design and launch of programs, projects and actions that impact different sectors and regions.

Throughout his career, he also served as director of social organizations for the development of NGOs in Colombia, as president of the Colombian Small and Medium Enterprises Business Association – ACOPI, as CEO of the company Danaranjo S.A., and as senior consultant of the former European Economic Community in the field of social projects on business development with residence in Spain and, subsequently, in Switzerland and England.

2. Academic and professional training

Industrial Engineer from the Javeriana University in Bogota with studies in English Language and Economy from Georgetown University and Master’s Degree in Economy from the American University in Washington D.C. He also holds postgraduate degrees in Senior Management from the Los Andes University and Inalde Business School in Bogota D.C. Likewise, he specialized in Entrepreneurship and Management for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and in Management of Social Companies at the University of South Carolina, the IE Business School in Madrid and the Complutense University in Spain.

In addition to Spanish, through his training and professional experience, he is fluent in English as a business language.

 Professional achievements

He made important achievements throughout his professional career regarding the support of social organizations, entrepreneurs and small enterprises by launching programs like the microcredit, the creation of new companies and the introduction of public policies and their integration on a global level.

As Minister for Economic Development, he promoted and passed important laws for the strengthening of vulnerable sectors and companies, pointing out Law 590 for the Support of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Law 550 for the Salvation and Restructuring of Companies, and Law 546 for Social Housing. He also promoted the creation of funds and microcredit programs as well as the international cooperation with important agencies of different countries and the United Nations, like UNIDO and UNPD among others.

In  the field of diplomacy, as Ambassador to South Korea, he contributed to the negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, to the increase of cooperation and business activities in the field of Colombian exports and investments by Korean companies, and to the institutional strengthening of the Embassy. In Austria and the concurrent countries, he has distinguished himself by instigating the reopening and opening of Embassies in Colombia, by driving forward important cooperation projects especially in the business sector of Colombia and by establishing investments in Colombia by companies of these countries.

As Permanente Representative of Colombia to the United Nations Organization and other International Organizations based in Vienna, he represents the country’s interests at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC, the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA, and the United Nations Industrial Development Office – UNIDO, among others.

3.1 In the tourism sector

His achievements and results in the tourism sector are noteworthy. Under his leadership as President of the Colombian Hotel and Tourism Association, he contributed to the generation of new initiatives for the development and strengthening of this sector through Law 1101 on Tourism, through the promotion of Law 788 on Tax Exemption for the Construction and Renovation of Hotels, and by reforming the Colombian Tourism Promotion Fund – FONTUR. He also proposed to link PROEXPORT, today known as PROCOLOMBIA, to the international promotion of tourism.

The initiation of important cooperation programs with more than 15 countries conducting international training programs for more than 950 Colombian entrepreneurs has been highly recognized by leaders of the tourism sector. He has also been the precursor of projects focused on tourism quality, sustainable development, eco-efficient hotels, and social responsibility.

He represented the tourism sector at the executive boards of PROCOLOMBIA, FONTUR and the Country Brand “Colombia es Pasión”. He served as President of the Colombian Chamber of Tourism and the Ibero-American Hotel Association.

Concerning the World Tourism Organization: In his capacity as Minister, he contributed to the insertion of Colombia in the Organization, and as a business leader he contributed to the promotion of Colombia as the host venue for the 17th UNWTO World Assembly, which was celebrated in Cartagena in 2007, and during several years, he held the vice-presidency of the Organization’s Affiliate Members. He also organized and participated as lecturer in important seminars and fora of the Organization.

3.2 Other achievements and accomplishments

He has been invited by different countries as consultant and lecturer and as participant in the boards of Colombian organizations and companies, highlighting the Colombian Stock Market, the Caja Social Bank and, at international level, the Executive Board of the CAF- Development Bank of Latin America. For several years, he was a member of the Colombian National Conciliation Commission for Peace. For his achievements and results he received several recognitions and awards by local and regional governments of Colombia, the Colombian National Government itself, and by international entities.

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