Global tourism leaders have further advanced plans for a more ethical, diverse sector led by a growing United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) at the 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly with examining, discussing and approving the Organization’s work, with a focus on expanding its global presence, ethics and legal frameworks and the role of public-private partnerships
UNWTO’s commitment to moving closer to its members and being on the ground in every region was further emphasized as the Assembly was given an update on work to establish new Regional and Thematic offices.
The Regional Office for the Middle East was opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2021, is an established hub for tourism education and tourism for rural development.
Likewise, UNWTO signed an agreement with the Government of Brazil to establish a Regional Office in Rio de Janeiro, to be focused on investments.
The planned Regional Office for Africa in Marrakesh, Morocco, will focus on the priorities of innovation and investments in tourism.
The UNWTO Assembly hosts, Uzbekistan presented its proposal to establish a Thematic Office for Tourism on the Silk Road.
The proposal was approved by the 119th session of the UNWTO Executive Council.
The General Assembly further built on UNWTO’s leading work to create a more ethical and accessible sector, while also increasing confidence in travel and tourism. The Global Code of Ethics was the foundation for UNWTO becoming a UN agency.
In Samarkand, the Assembly approved new members to serve on the World Committee of Tourism Ethics, with a clear commitment to diversity. Members also looked ahead to the International Conference on Accessible Tourism, due to take place in San Marino in November.
During the Plenary Session, UNWTO formally welcomed those Members that have already agreed to adhere to the International Code for the Protection of Tourists.
Argentina, Brazil, Lebanon, Lithuania, Portugal, Senegal, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela have all agreed to adhere to the landmark legal instrument. The Code was designed during the pandemic, with the first harmonized international legal framework set to play a key role in restoring consumer confidence in travel.
Just three weeks after World Tourism Day 2023, Member States were given an update on UNWTO’s work growing the sector’s Global Day of Observance. The Secretary of the Assembly provided a recap of the past two events and looked ahead to the two years to come.
The UNWTO General Assembly for 2024 is to be hosted by Georgia under the theme “Tourism and Peace”, and then Malaysia will host World Tourism Day 2025 around the theme of Tourism and Sustainable Developments.
Saudi Arabia is to host the 26th General Assembly.
UNWTO Secretary-General Pololikashvili highlighted the ongoing work to strengthen and modernise the Organization. Members of the Assembly agreed to Extend the mandate of the Task Force on Redesigning Tourism for the Future until the 26th session of the General Assembly.
The Task Force aims to reinforce UNWTO’s role in guiding the global sector forward through long-term strategy and vision. Nine Member States were approved to serve on the Task Force for the next two years.
Members were provided with an update on the reforms to reinforce UNWTO’s compliance with UN standards, most notably through the Joint Inspection Unit.
The General Assembly voted with 73% in favour of Secretary-General Pololikashvili being permitted to present his candidature for a third mandate.
UNWTO’s Affiliate Members represent the broad diversity of the sector, counting on representatives from business, academia and civil society.
The Report of the Chair of the Board of Affiliate Members gave the Assembly an update on work done over the past two years, with a clear focus on growing the Affiliates’ role in the mission of the Organization as a whole.
Members welcomed the achievements of the Affiliate Members network, including in efforts to grow new areas of tourism to promote economic diversity and resilience.