Surprise backer for UNWTO candidate

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.”

Bernard Metzger (left) and Alain St Ange (centre)

Travelindex is considered one of the world’s largest travel content distribution and destination marketing platform, connecting  over 800,000 travel companies in 241 countries and territories worldwide.

Based on that editorial clout, Metzger declared his support for the Seychelles bid saying he “stands behind St Ange without any hesitation. I can think of no better person to become secretary general of the UNWTO.”

St Ange’s campaign for the top post will depend not on media endorsement, but entirely on the votes of UNWTO’s 157 country members.

The successful candidate will replace the incumbent secretary general, Taleb Rifai, who has completed his full term as secretary general which requires him to step down.