Pakistan attending UNWTO General Assembly after 10 years
By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Islamabad, Pakistan: After a pause of over 10 years, Pakistan is attending United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly that is starting today September 12 at Medellín, Colombia.
This participation has become possible only due to initiative taken by the Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage of Pakistan Senator Pervaiz Rashid and by the approval of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistan had not been attending any General UNWTO General Assembly since year 2005-06 sessions and this was one of the reasons that Pakistan was dropped even from tourism barometres released by UNWTO regularly and lost its position at world tourism map. Now on the recommendations and initiative of Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage of Pakistan Senator Pervaiz Rashid, the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif approved the summery for sending Managing Director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Mr. Kabir to attend 21st Session of the UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Medellín, Colombia (12-17 September 2015).
It may be mentioned that Colombia is hosting the UNWTO General Assembly for the second time. First UNWTO General Assembly in Colombia was held in 2007 in Cartagena de Indias. This year event is expected to gather over 800 delegates from UNWTO Member States belong from public as well as private sector.
In a special message, UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said that he trusted that Colombia and Medellín would provide a unique platform to share insights on the important transformations shaping the tourism sector. Rifai added in his message that tourism industry was the true instrument for positive change in the world.
In his special message, Colombian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Cecilia Álvarez-Correa said:
“Hosting the UNWTO General Assembly for the second time is a unique opportunity for Colombia to share with the world its achievement in terms of tourism development and competitiveness: 161 ongoing infrastructure projects, over 18 thousand entrepreneurs entering the formal economy, 413 service providers with quality certification and 1.8 million direct jobs among others“, said Cecilia Álvarez-Correa, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia.
Agenda of 21st Assembly includes joint UNWTO/ICAO High-level Forum on Tourism and Air Transport for Development and will focus issue of closer cooperation between aviation and tourism.
The Forum will be moderated by the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu.
Other special events during the General Assembly include topics such as tourism as a tool for peace and social inclusion, financing for development, talent management, gastronomic tourism and shopping tourism.
Held every two years, the General Assembly is UNWTO’s main statutory meeting and the most important international gathering of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives of the private sector.