On October 30-31, 2018, the 109th Session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was held in Manama (Bahrain). The Russian Federation was represented by the Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov.
He spoke about the preparations for holding the 23rd session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization in St. Petersburg in 2019, invited the leaders of the delegations of participating countries to take part in this event and discussed the signing of an agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the World Tourism Organization with the heads of the UNWTO Executive Council.
In addition, during the meeting a presentation video about St. Petersburg was shown.
The dates of the 23rd session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, in accordance with the wishes of the UNWTO, are tentatively defined to be on October 7-11. The expected number of delegates will be 1000 people. They will represent 156 countries of the world. The Presidential Library named after Boris Yeltsin was chosen as the site, as well as the EXPOFORUM Convention and Exhibition Center. On September 19-21, 2018, an inspectional (technical) visit of UNWTO representatives to St. Petersburg took place in order to inspect the planned places for business and social events, as well as hotels to host the participants of the event.
The UNWTO General Assembly is the highest governing body of the organization. Its regular sessions are held every two years and are the most important global meetings of senior officials responsible for the development of tourism in national governments and senior representatives of the private sector.
In 2019, the session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization will be held on the Russian territory for the first time in its history. The choice of the city of St. Petersburg as a venue for it within the framework of the 22nd session of the UNWTO General Assembly (the vote took place on September 11-16, 2017, in Chengdu, China) is evidence of the strengthening of the Russian Federation’s position in the World Tourism Organization; as well as the election of Russia to become a part of the highest governing body of the UNWTO – Executive Council, despite the sanctions and opposition of the anti-Russian forces which happened in 2017.
The holding of the UNWTO General Assembly in St. Petersburg will be a significant incentive for shaping the image of the city as a key international communication platform, which will have a positive effect on the development of the tourism industry not only in our Northern Capital, but also in the whole country.
Moreover, within the framework of the 109th session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the head of Russian Federal Agency for Tourism, Oleg Safonov, on behalf of the Russian Federation supported the initiative to develop the UNWTO Academy project.
It was developed by the World Tourism Organization in order to increase the number of people employed in tourism through quality education and employment, and includes international centers and an online platform for education and vocational training.
Currently, UNWTO is actively working on initiatives to develop talents in the field of tourism, the implementation of which will begin in 2019. Among such initiatives are the introduction of a platform and the organization of forums for the development of these talents (including a Career Day for students) and the World League of Students of Tourism Faculties, as well as the involvement of all major stakeholders in UNWTO conferences.
Another significant event at the 109th session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization in the program of the Russian delegation was the business lunch of the UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili and the Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov, where the practical issues of preparations and holding of the 23rd session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization in St. Petersburg were discussed, in particular, the business and cultural program of the event.
“Cooperation with the international tourist community is very important for the Russian Federation. Joint with the partner countries of the World Tourism Organization helps to ensure a balance of interests and contributes to the achievement of our country’s goals in the field of tourism. The holding of the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly in Russia is a very important and honorable task, the successful solution of which will further strengthen our position on the international arena and create a favorable image of Russian megacities as places for holding world-wide business events” said the Head of Federal Agency for Tourism Oleg Safonov.
World Tourism Organization, UNWTO is the leading international organization in the field of tourism. The organization is a specialized intergovernmental agency of the UN system, uniting 158 member countries, 6 associated territories, two territories as observers and more than 500 affiliated organizations. UNWTO operates on the basis of the Charter and the Financial Rules attached to it, which entered into force on January 2, 1975, and is engaged in the development of sustainable and accessible tourism.
Source: Federal Agency for Tourism