USA may return to UNWTO

BAKU, Azerbaijan, 21 June 2019: Tourism officials from the USA attended the 110th Session of the World Tourism Organization’s executive council in Baku, Azerbaijan as they explore the possibility of re-joining the UNWTO.

Attending the three-day event, earlier this week, member states endorsed the organization’s progress and future plans, as outlined by secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili, and welcomed the participation of the United States as it explores re-joining the global tourism organisation.

UNWTO reported that international tourist arrivals have grown by 4% over the first quarter of 2019, following on from 6% growth in 2018.

“It is an immense pleasure to be in the dynamic city of Baku for the 110th Session,”  Pololikashvili told members.

“The executive council gives UNWTO member states a thorough overview of UNWTO’s activities over the preceding year, and makes key recommendations on the path ahead.”

While discussing the challenges presented by the ongoing rise in tourism numbers and the threat of overtourism, job creation was high on the agenda and the drive for gender equality in tourism.

He confirmed the United States attended the event for the first time in decades  will study the possibility of “re-joining and working with us to make tourism a driver of growth and equality.”

Additionally, the newly launched ‘UNWTO Agenda for Africa 2030’ gained an airing as the organisation pledges to roll out a bold four-year plan to drive tourism growth in Africa for “poverty alleviation, job creation and professional development.”

At the institutional level, UNWTO reiterated its commitment to diversity and transparency. The Organization is moving ahead in the creation of a new Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics.

This Convention brings UNWTO in line with most other UN agencies, and will specifically provide member states with clear guidelines for making their national tourism sectors drivers of growth and inclusivity.

The UNWTO will host the 23rd Session of its General Assembly, in Saint Petersburg, in the Russian Federation, this September.

Held every two years, the General Assembly convenes for high-level meetings of Tourism Ministers and the private sector worldwide.