UNWTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli has announced that he will be stepping down at the beginning of 2009 to allow for a smooth transition before the normal end of his final term of office.He noted the steady consolidation of the Organization during his tenure as Secretary-General, highlighting:
* The expanding membership of 153 States, with others in the pipeline, giving a strong global representation.
* The solid financial situation of the Organization with tight controlled spending and a focused programme of work.
* The transformation to the UN Agency for Tourism, hosted in Spain and supported by a small but professional international Secretariat.
In addition he reflected on the main structural achievements during this period:
* The creation of a universally accepted system of Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSA) to accurately measure the impact of tourism in national economies.
* The adoption of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism which had been recognized by the UN General Assembly as the basis for responsible tourism.
* The placing of tourism as a key element in the international agenda for sustainable development and the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Finally he touched on key areas of focus in UNWTO’s Programme of Work which would be cornerstones of the Organization’s future:
* The global action on poverty alleviation under the ST-EP Initiative (Sustainable Tourism - Elimination of Poverty) and its Foundation in the Republic of Korea.
* The Davos Declaration Process on Climate Change designed to help the sector play its role in the response to global warming.
* The strengthening of the Affiliate Membership for the private sector and the development of a public private sector partnership (PPP) strategy, both for the Organization and its Members, as well as at the destination level.
* The Crisis Response Mechanism that has been set up to respond initially to the threat of avian flu and subsequently enhanced to cover all major global crises affecting the sector.
In acknowledging the decision of Mr. Frangialli, the Executive Council paid tribute to his dedicated championing of tourism in the wider international community, his leadership of the industry during this period and the very solid foundations he has laid for the future of the Organization and the sector.