The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Maurice Loustau-Lalanne attended the 105th session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) executive council which took place in Madrid, Spain from May 11-12.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne was accompanied by the principal secretary for tourism Anne Lafortune. Seychelles has been a member of the executive council since 2013.
A day prior to the session, Mrs Lafortune attended two official events namely the high level task force on tourism and security and the round table on sustainable urban tourism.
The round table discussions presented an excellent opportunity to contribute to the visibility of the goals of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The panel addressed five key areas namely: inclusive and sustainable economic growth; social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction; resource efficiency, environment and protection and climate change; cultural values, diversity and heritage; and mutual understanding, peace and security.
During the first day of the executive council session, the Secretary General, Dr Taleb Rifai presented reports on International Tourism in 2016 and 2017; mainstreaming tourism in the national and global agenda; promoting safe, secure and seamless travel; International Year of Sustainable Tourism in Development 2017; enhancing the role of technology in tourism and placing sustainability at the heart of tourism development; and other financial and administrative matters of the UNWTO.
It is worth noting that by taking part in the UNWTO, Seychelles has received many benefits through the various events, conferences, workshops attended.
UNWTO also supports Seychelles with the development of many programmes such as the Hotel Classification Programme and the upcoming Tourism Satellite Accounts System which will be put in place soon.
The second day of the meeting was dedicated to the election of the new Secretary General. There were six candidates, from Brazil, Colombia, Georgia, Republic of Korea, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. However, members were informed at the meeting that the candidate for Seychelles, Alain St.Ange had withdrawn its candidature as a result of the government of Seychelles withdrawing its endorsement.
Voting for the new Secretary General was conducted by secret ballot in accordance to the rules of procedure adopted by the General Assembly. After two rounds of voting Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia received the most votes with 18 out of 33 votes. Mr Pololikashvili will be recommended by the Executive Council to the General Assembly for the post of Secretary General for the period 2018 – 2021.
The 22nd session of the General Assembly will take place in Chengdu, China from September 11-16.