UNWTO 2019 Assembly: 117 Countries Commit to Sustainable, Inclusive and Ethical Tourism

Edición 23 de la Asamblea General de la Organización Mundial de Turismo de las Naciones Unidas (OMT), organizada en San Petersburgo, Rusia

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) held its 2019 General Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia, with more than 1,300 participants from 117 countries around the world. This 23rd edition of the event stood out for its advances in making the global tourism sector more sustainable, accessible, innovative and ethical.

During five days of presentations and debates, UNWTO member states made decisions that will impact the future of tourism and while outlining their initiatives and achievements for the current year.

UNWTO 2019 General Assembly Highlights

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary General, began by presenting the UNWTO 2030 Agenda for Africa, a 10-point plan to develop the tourism sector of the African continent and use it as a catalyst for economic and social development. Members fully approved this agenda.

Another great achievement was the unanimous adoption of the first ever Global Convention on Tourism Ethics. Pascal Lamy, the Chair of the World Committee of Tourism Ethics, has fought long and hard to transform the existing tourism code of ethics. “I congratulate the countries who took this historic decision to elevate ethics of tourism into a binding legal instrument,” Lamy said. “Globalization needs to be harnessed by principles that make it better, not worse, for humankind.”

Libro de la edición 23 de la Asamblea General de la Organización Mundial de Turismo de las Naciones Unidas (OMT), organizada en San Petersburgo, Rusia
Official book of the event. (Source: United Nations World Tourism Organization.)

In the Education, Skills and Jobs category, the UNWTO announced an alliance with IE University, an online academy in Madrid, as well as the state of Qatar to help find and prepare the tourism employees of tomorrow. In addition, the organization launched the second edition of its UNWTO Tourism Startup Competition in partnership with Globalia.

During the event, the UNWTO and Spain’s ONCE non-governmental organization (NGO) awarded Portugal as the first Accessible Tourism Destination (ATD). The cities of Barcelona and Thrissur in India were also recognized for the steps thet’ve taken to welcome tourists of every ability.

The Assembly concluded with the first electronic election to vote for which country will host the 24th session of the event. As a result, the Kingdom of Morocco was chosen for the UNWTO 2020 General Assembly.