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UNWTO General Assembly opens in Victoria Falls

UNWTO General Assembly opens in Victoria Falls

The global tourism community gathers this week at Victoria Falls for the 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly, aiming to advance tourism´s sustainable growth (Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe, August 24-29, 2013).

Key issues such as visa facilitation, connectivity and accessibility will be on the agenda of the over 120 delegations from UNWTO Member States gathering this week at Victoria Falls. The 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly will also debate the Organisation’s Program of Work for 2014-2015 and elect the Secretary General for the next four years’ period.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greeted the participants in a video message. “Tourism is an undisputed generator of national wealth, corporate income, and local employment. Managed sustainably, it can benefit people and [the] planet alike,” he said addressing the assembly. “As we work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and define a post-2015 development agenda, I call on all UNWTO members and the global tourism community to examine how best to contribute to sustainable development.”

“This assembly is a timely opportunity for all of us to continue along an encouraging path to drive tourism towards its fullest potential in fostering sustainable economic growth, jobs, and development and what better backdrop to do so than here in Africa, a region where we believe tourism can be a true force for good,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

The General Assembly is the main statutory meeting of UNWTO and the most important gathering of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives from around the world. Held every two years, the assembly is attended by delegations representing Full and Associate UNWTO members, Affiliate members, and representatives of other international organisations.