More than 1,000 attendees from 124 nations travelled to Saint Petersburg during this week, hosted by the United Nations specialized agency for accountable and sustainable tourism, to be part of more than a dozen global tourism governance activities. The General Assembly is paving the way for the contribution of tourism to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the voice of tourism at the core of the UN and the worldwide political agenda.
High-level summits and discussions will discuss important subjects, including the increasingly the prominent role of tourism in promoting the sustainability agenda, private-public cooperation, and the position of innovation and entrepreneurship in tourism’s future, with a specific focus on job creation, education, and climate change fighting. Highlighting the significance of the occasion, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin spoke to delegates through a video message that was specially recorded. President Putin observed that hosting the General Assembly was an “excellent honour” for St Petersburg and expressed Russia’s intention to host the World Tourism Day in 2022 as well.
Opening the General Assembly, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili told the organization’s Member States and its private sector Affiliate Members that the true potential of tourism as a driver of economic growth, sustainable development and equality has yet to be realized.
A few days after the recent UNWTO World Tourism Barometer highlighted the power and resilience of worldwide tourism, the General Assembly is being held. According to the recent information, total global tourist arrivals increased by 4 per cent relative to the same period of 2018 between January and June 2019. This development was resulted by the Middle East (+ 8 per cent) and Asia and the Pacific(+ 6 per cent), all contributing to the favourable trend with more accessible air travel, powerful global economies and enhanced visa facilitation.