“Tourism has proved one of the leading ways for the least developed countries to increase their participation in the global economy”, said United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, during his first visit to UNWTO and Spain as Secretary-General.
The Secretary-General expressed his support for key UNWTO programmes such as ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty) and its contribution towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals of fostering sustainable development and reducing poverty. He also congratulated UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism as the framework for the responsible and sustainable world tourism.
“Tourism is the peoples’ building block for global peace and cultural understanding. When approached in a sustainable manner, travel for recreation can also help drive economic growth and alleviate poverty”, Mr. Ban Ki-moon said, underscoring UNWTO’s relevance to the broader work of the UN.
The UN Secretary-General highlighted UNWTO’s work on developing and implementing strategies to face the ?changing climate conditions and to take preventive actions for future effects, as well as to ?mitigate tourism’s environmental impacts. “I look forward to the presentation of your conclusions at the UN’s conference on climate change in Bali this December”, he said, referring to UNWTO’s international conferences on Tourism and Climate Change in Davos (Switzerland) and in London (UK), to be held later this year.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon was greeted by UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli, senior officials and Mr. Pedro Mejia, Secretary of State for Tourism and Trade, representing the Spanish government.
The Secretary-General stressed UNWTO’s mission to mobilize the vast tourism industry in the fight for peace, for human rights, for sustainable development, which is also a fight against global warming, and against extreme poverty in the world. Mr. Frangialli also informed Mr. Ban Ki-moon of the latest situation in the international tourism sector and the prospects for 2007 and beyond.
The visit to UNWTO was the first official event of Mr Ban Ki-moon’s two-day official visit to Spain. Every Secretary-General of the United Nations, successively, has honoured the Organization with their presence.