The 110th Session of the UNWTO Executive Council met in Baku, Azerbaijan from June 16-18, 2019. More than 40 Member States joined by representatives from the public and private sectors attended the meeting. Seychelles was represented by Minister Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and Mrs. Anne Lafortune, Principal Secretary for Tourism.
The objectives of the UNWTO Council meeting are to bring together Member States for high level discussions on the direction of the global tourism sector, provide overview of UNWTO’s activities and progress over the previous year, and make key recommendations on the way forward.
The key priorities of UNWTO were presented during the meeting by the Secretary-General, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili. This includes closer alignment with the wider United Nations system, financial sustainability and a focus on the role innovation, digital transformation and entrepreneurship can play in the global tourism sector. Another of UNWTO’s priorities is to make tourism a leading source of more and better jobs and a top provider of education and training.
In his intervention Minister Dogley welcomed the progress made in the newly launched ‘UNWTO Agenda for Africa’. “This four year plan will play a major role in realizing the potential of tourism for Africa if well implemented, focusing on tourism as a driver of poverty alleviation, job creation and professional development,” said Minister Dogley.
The Executive Council also endorsed the latest financial results and structural reforms implemented under the Secretary-General, which reflect the ongoing effort to guarantee the economic sustainability of the Organisation.
In the margin of the council meeting, the Minister and Principal Secretary for Tourism also met with Spain’s Secretary of State, Mrs. Isabel Maria Oliver Sagregas to discuss the possibility of a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of tourism between the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of the Kingdom of Spain. Spain has a well-developed tourism industry and signing an MOU with their Ministry responsible for Tourism can assist Seychelles to learn and benefit from Spain’s experience in the areas of training and exchange programs, sharing of best practices in fields such the Tourism Satellite Account, Management of tourism risks, Product Diversification and Cruise Tourism.
The meeting in Baku will be followed by the 23rd Session of UNWTO General Assembly, due to take place in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, in September 2019. Held every two years, the General Assembly is the most important high-level meeting of global Tourism Ministers and the private sector in the world.