Simeon II received from the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) the certificate accrediting him as an ambassador of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, which is being observed globally throughout 2017. The figure of Ambassadors of the International Year was presented last January at the launching of the Year that took place in the context of FITUR in Madrid.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai emphasized: “When designating 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the United Nations recognized tourism’s contribution to the development agenda, to peace, equality and prosperity. I am very touched to see that King Simeon II shares this same vision on the power of tourism and I truly thank him for his commitment to spread this important message across the world.”
Simeon II expressed gratitude for his appointment as ambassador of the International Year and stressed the importance of tourism in moving towards a more sustainable and fairer world. “One of the most important objectives of the Year is to raise awareness among the international population as well as institutions about the potential of tourism to promote culture, exchanges or the elimination of prejudices,” said the newly appointed ambassador of the Year.
In addition to Simeon II, the UNWTO has appointed the following ambassadors of the International Year: H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; H.R.H. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities; Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization; Michael Frenzel, President of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry (BTW); and Ge Huayong, Chairman of China UnionPay.