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Over 30 countries and Affiliate Members of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) gathered last week in Chisinau, the capital city of the Republic of Moldova, for the 61st Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe. Participants discussed the priority areas for the Organization as well as strategies to position the tourism sector as a key driver of sustainable development in Europe (6 June 2017).
The meeting dedicated special attention to the need to continue enhancing UNWTO’s work on the promotion of safe, secure and seamless travel. UNWTO has recently launched a High Level Tourism and Security Task Force to advance this issue. The Member States expressed their condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, and a minute of silence was held in memory of the victims.
An authentic and unexplored gem in European tourism, whose wines are appreciated and renowned worldwide, the Republic of Moldova has demonstrated a strong commitment with sustainable tourism. “The Republic of Moldova is still an emerging tourist destination, but has all the potential to become a must-see destination; the demonstrated commitment to sustainable development of tourism will ensure that the country reaps all the rewards that tourism has to offer.” said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai.
UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai met the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Pavel Filip, to discuss the role of tourism in the socio-economic development of the country. The meeting underlined the importance that Moldova is giving to the tourism sector in the country’s economy.
“We are convinced that tourism is a key tool for Moldova to achieve sustainable growth and job creation, and indeed to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This meeting will undoubtedly help us to support our tourism sector in achieving its potential” said Stanislav Rusu, Director General of the Tourism Agency of the Republic of Moldova.
UNWTO’s Commission Meeting also reviewed the work of the Organization’s technical committees on Competitiveness, Sustainability and Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), and the activities of Member States to celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. Further items on the agenda included the transformation of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics into an international convention, the creation of national committees on tourism ethics and the priorities of UNWTO’s Programme of Work for 2018-2019.
The Meeting was completed with an Official Event of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 showcasing initiatives developed in Italy and France – Ecobnb and Betterfly Tourism and a tree planting ceremony with the presence of UNWTO Secretary-General, the Director General of the Tourism Agency of the Republic of Moldova, the Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, Pirkka Tapiola, and the diplomatic community of Moldova.
Hungary was nominated to host the official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2018 and the Member States welcomed the Czech Republic’s candidacy to hold the 2019 UNWTO Regional Commission meeting. Both decisions will be taken to the UNWTO General Assembly and the Regional Commission for Europe, respectively, in September in Chengdu, China.
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