Twenty-fourth UNWTO General Assembly

For three days Spain will become the world centre of tourism

News - 2021.11.25

More than 500 delegates from all over the world, including Tourism Ministers of UNWTO Member States, international organisations, as well as leaders from the private sector and civil society, will participate in the meeting of the supreme body of this specialised UN agency.

The UNWTO Secretariat will present a comprehensive update of its work programme, while bringing together the global tourism sector to re-launch tourism. During the meeting, which will be attended by the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, a special message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres will be screened.

Innovation, education and rural development

In line with UNWTO's key priorities, the General Assembly will focus on building for the future through innovation, education and tourism for rural development.

In Madrid, UNWTO's official head office, the organisation will launch its new initiative 'Digital Futures for SMEs', designed to help small tourism businesses reap the benefits of innovation.

The winners of the first edition of UNWTO's "Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO" (Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO) initiative will also be announced, recognising the best examples of rural destinations that embrace tourism as a pillar of growth and opportunity, while the UNWTO Students' League 2021 will celebrate the future of the sector.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili will present his report to Members, outlining how the Organization led the global tourism response to the unprecedented crisis caused by COVID-19, in particular by ensuring vital support for jobs and businesses and guaranteeing harmonised rules and protocols to restore confidence in travel. The report will also set out plans for a more inclusive and resilient future, including the revision of UNWTO's Agenda 2030 for Africa and the first International Code for Tourist Protection, also designed to restore trust in travel.

The Secretary General thanked the Government of Spain for agreeing to host the event, after the Kingdom of Morocco was forced to decline hosting the event due to public health considerations. "In difficult circumstances, Spain has stepped forward to host this important General Assembly. In UNWTO's host city, Madrid, world's tourism will come together to plan for a future in which our sector fulfils its unique potential as a pillar of inclusive growth and opportunity for all," said Zurab.

For the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, "the holding of this international event will help to strengthen Spain's leadership in world tourism and Madrid as the head office of the UNWTO, which will be the epicentre of the debate on the revival of tourism and its contribution to major challenges such as sustainability, digitisation and social and territorial cohesion. Spain will share its experience in the vaccination process and in the implementation of the Covid Certificate at this event that is allowing our country to be considered a safe destination and the ambitious plan for the modernisation and competitiveness of the tourism sector that will increase the quality, sustainability, digitalisation and diversity of our tourism".

Statutory meetings and elections

The 24th session of the General Assembly will open with the Plenary Session of the UNWTO Affiliate Members. Here, private companies, destination management organisations, and representatives from civil society and academia will share initiatives for tourism recovery and ideas for sustainable growth. They are also expected to approve the revised legal framework for Affiliate Members, which will further promote UNWTO's transition towards a more agile, dynamic and responsive organisation.

The UNWTO Programme and Budget Committees will meet to underline the Secretariat's commitment to transparency. Members will also be asked to confirm the appointment of Secretary-General Pololikashvili for a second term, as recommended by the UNWTO Executive Council earlier this year. Members will also vote on the themes for the 2022 and 2023 World Tourism Day celebrations, and the host country for the 25th General Assembly in 2023.

Non official translation