UNWTO’s Rifai got it wrong

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 23 June 2017: At about the same time as Otto Warmbier was shipped out of North Korea in a coma on a flight home to the US, UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai, was preaching the good news that tourism could build international relations with North Korea.

Warmbier never regained consciousness. He died at home from serious brain damage caused by the brutal treatment meted out by guards at a North Korean prison where he was incarcerated for 17 months.

His crime? He pilfered a political poster from his hotel as a memento of his trip, just minutes before he left for the airport. He never made that flight and the last time he was seen in public was during a public televised viewing of his sentencing when he cried for mercy. Read more

Publisher challenges UNWTO election

June 22, 2017 by  
Filed under AMERICAS, News

BANGKOK, 22 June 2017: Self-proclaimed UNWTO Wire publisher, Juergen Steinmetz, is at the forefront of a campaign that alleges the recent UNWTO secretary general election was flawed.

Stienmertz issues a statement released by PRNewswire, this week, that applauds Zimbabwe Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Walter Mzembi, for raising the allegations in an open letter last May.

Steinmetz followed through issuing his own post asking: “Is the UNWTO Secretary General election for sale?” Read more

UNWTO takes a swipe at Trump

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under AMERICAS, News

MADRID, 20 June 2017: The World Tourism Organisation expresses its “firm resentment” over the recently-announced decision by the United States Administration to restore travel restrictions with Cuba.

“This represents a step backwards and a strong attack on the freedom of travel,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

“This decision will have limited impact on Cuba’s tourism development, yet it will substantially impact on the US economy and American jobs. Many US companies have started to invest in and do business with Cuba in view of the immense potential of Cuban tourism, which other countries will surely continue to benefit from,” he added. Read more

India changes tourist count

May 22, 2017 by  
Filed under News, South Asia

NEW DELHI, 22 May 2017: India’s ranking based on tourist arrivals monitored by UNWTO has improved, according India’s Ministry of Tourism, as the country adopts a different way of counting arrivals.

In the latest UNWTO ranking, India moved up from 40th and 41st (2014 and 2015) to 24th place following its adoption of the same counting benchmark practiced by other UNWTO member-countries.

India is now counting non-resident Indians for the first time since it started to monitor tourism statistics in the 1970s.. Read more

Thailand to host UNWTO food forum

May 15, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Thailand

BANGKOK, 15 May 2017: Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports signed an agreement to host the fourth edition of UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bangkok next year.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Pongpanu Svetarundra, inked the agreement last week with UNWTO general secretary, Taleb Rifai, during the third UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in San Sebastian, Spain.

The permanent secretary said: “Hosting the event will help to boost Thailand’s gastronomy tourism and promote the country’s food …the forum will also provide a theoretical academic discussion, knowledge exchange with food professionals and workshop in food resources to touch and experience way of life conveying to food menus.” Read more

UNWTO nominates new head

May 15, 2017 by  
Filed under EUROPE, News

MADRID, 15 May 2017: UNWTO’s executive council has recommended Zurab Pololikashvili, from Georgia, as the nominee for the post of secretary-general for the four-year-period starting January 2018.

The announcement was made at the weekend during the 105th meeting of the executive council of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) attended by some 250 representatives from 59 countries. Read more

Chance to win a UNWTO award

May 11, 2017 by  
Filed under EUROPE, News

MADRID, 11 May 2017: Applications for the 14th edition of the UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism are now being accepted.

Winners will be announced  18 January  at the UNWTO Awards Ceremony, to be held at the International Tourism Fair in Spain (FITUR).

Applications for the UNWTO Awards span four categories: Public Policy and Governance; Enterprises; Non-Governmental Organisations, and Research and Technology. Read more

Chinese spend more on travel

April 28, 2017 by  
Filed under EUROPE, News

MADRID, 28 April 2017: Chinese tourists spent 12% more  when travelling abroad in 2016 according to the latest data from the UNWTO.

2016 results on expenditure from major outbound markets reflect increasing demand for international tourism across the world, as reported in the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

With a 12% increase in spending, China continued to lead international outbound tourism, followed by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and France as top five spenders. Read more

UNWTO leads congress on ethics

April 24, 2017 by  
Filed under EUROPE, Events, News

MADRID, 24 April 2017: Ethics in tourism is the theme of a UNWTO conference due to be hosted this week in Krakow Poland.

UNWTO said the 3rd third International Congress on Ethics and Tourism, will discuss ways to advance the commitment of tourism towards sustainable and responsible practices.

The event is one of the major components of the ‘Enhancing the Understanding of European Tourism’ Project, conducted by UNWTO in cooperation with the European Commission. Read more

Surprise backer for UNWTO candidate

April 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Associations, News, People

BANGKOK, 12 April 2017: Travel trade media rarely endorses candidates vying for top level tourism appointments, but TravelIndex founder and director, Bernard Metzger, made an exception, Tuesday, by backing a candidate from the Seychelles to take over as the new secretary general of UNWTO.

Metzer heaped abundant praise on Alain St Ange, the candidate from the Seychelles, one of seven contesting the May elections to head the UNWTO. Other candidates hail from Armenia, Brazil, Columbia, Georgia, South Korea and Zimbabwe.

In his letter posted to a global readership of travel executives, Metzger said of the Seychelles hopeful, who has headed Seychelles tourism and held ministerial posts: “I am one of your greatest supporters and few in your position have achieved so much for world tourism.” Read more

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