The city of San Sebastian, Spain hosted the 108th meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) from 23-25 May. During the meeting, Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili obtained the support of this key governing body for the priorities that will set up the work of the organization for the coming years. Likewise, the Council supported the new structure of the UNWTO, its renewed institutional image and the designated management team for the implementation of the agreed programme of work.
Under Secretary-General Pololikashvili, who took office in January 2018, UNWTO will focus on five pillars for the period 2018-2019: innovation and the digital transformation; investments and entrepreneurship; education and employment; safe, secure and seamless travel; and social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
In order to address new tourism challenges and trends and improve the business environment for the sector, the Organization will pay special attention to scaling up innovation and digitalization in the sector. This will lead to the creation of new job and business opportunities, an increase of investments in tourism, and enhanced competitiveness and sustainability for the sector.
The Secretary-General also presented the Organization’s new leadership structure, put in place to increase efficiency in achieving UNWTO’s goals of adding value to members, increasing membership and serving the tourism sector as a whole.
“This is a time of renewal for our organization. Listening closely to the opinions and needs of all our members and partners is key”, Pololikashvili stated during the opening ceremony.
The Minister of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda of Spain, Álvaro Nadal, praised the renewed impetus of the UNWTO under the leadership of Zurab Pololikashvili and highlighted tourism as “one of the most relevant international sectors, not only as an economic activity, but as an extraordinary vehicle for us to understand and get to know each other, something that only tourism can achieve”.
The Minister of Tourism of Argentina and President of the Executive Council, Gustavo Santos, affirmed that “we need to position tourism politically as a fundamental activity of the economy”.
The 109th, 110th and 111th sessions of the UNWTO Executive Council will take place in Bahrain, Azerbaijan and Russia, respectively.