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UNWTO secretary general in Geneva for key week of discussions

UNWTO secretary general in Geneva for key week of discussions

The secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) will be in Geneva this week for high-level talks focused on the restart of tourism as restrictions on travel are eased in many parts of the world.

UNWTO last undertook an official visit to the home city of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2019, just one day before Covid-19 was officially declared a pandemic.

Now, as Switzerland joins growing numbers of countries in lifting or easing travel restrictions, UNWTO is back in Geneva for a week of meetings with key partners.

On Tuesday secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, will meet with WHO director general, Thedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to discuss shared actions and priorities as the world begins opening up again.

The two UN agencies will discuss the need for the continued easing of restrictions, having repeatedly warned against their ineffectiveness and the damage that blanket bans on mobility can have on economic and social wellbeing.

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Strengthening ties with key private sector and civil society partners is crucial in the current circumstances.

Pololikashvili will meet with the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Willie Walsh, as well as with Pierfrancesco Vago, chief executive of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

These meetings will be followed by an official visit to the headquarters of UEFA.

Here, president Aleksander Čeferin will sign a first-ever agreement with UNWTO aimed at promoting sports tourism as a driver of positive change and making the sector more inclusive and resilient.

Against the backdrop of Switzerland announcing its plans to significantly ease restrictions on incoming travel, the UNWTO delegation will meet with Eric Jakob, ambassador of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), whose brief includes tourism policy, as well as with Martin Nydegger, chief executive of Switzerland Tourism.

In another first, UNWTO will be addressing the UN press briefing at UN Geneva, providing an overview of the outcomes of the official visit and highlights on the tourism for development agenda for 2022.