UNWTO meeting lauds role of tourism sector

Kathmandu, November 26:

The importance of tourism and its contribution to the process of economic and social development within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations, was underscored during the executive council meeting of the UNWTO at Algiers recently, states a press release.

Under the chairmanship of Tijani Haddad, minister of tourism of Tunisia, the UNWTO executive council decided to endorse its secretary general’s report on the major challenges facing the sector.

According to a press release of the organisation, some of the proposals that came up for discussion included promoting the economic impact of tourism, managing site congestion and enhancing infrastructure, liberalising tourism services, managing socio-cultural impacts, integrating into peace processes, embracing information and communication technology into all aspects of management, intensifying the fight against poverty and strengthening public-private partnerships.

The chairman was quoted in the press release that there is a window of opportunity for this incredible industry to help respond to major challenges facing the world community, particularly in the fight against poverty and in improving cultural understanding and harmony. All poor countries have tourism export activity and people to people contact is the best way to

build peace and understanding. The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) is well placed as the central UN Agency for the sector to lead this initiative.

According to UNWTO secretary-general Francesco Frangialli, the organisation was committed to using their resources and networks in the service of world peace and the MDGs. The executive council has specifically decided to strengthen a number of key programmes to support the fight against poverty within the framework of its Sustainable Tourism for the Elimination of Poverty(ST-EP).

The meeting in Algiers also agreed to the staging of major international summits on tourism’s interface with economics, climate change, religion and initiate a cultural dialogue with parliamentarians and local authorities, adds the release.