1.8bn tourists set to travel world by 2030

Posted: January 11, 2018 in general

SavedPicture-2017222144421.jpgOutgone Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb Rifai, has disclosed that an estimated 1.8 billion tourists are expected to be on the move by 2030 and this could be a “disaster” or a long-lasting “opportunity” for the planet.

Rifai in his valedictory speech at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, penultimate week, said that new data showed people made more than 1.1 billion international trips in the first 10 months of 2017 – a 7 per cent increase on the same period in 2016.

However, Rifai further added that ‘it’s all up to us to ensure the trend translates into positive change in line with the UN-led Sustainable Development Goals agenda.’

Rifai, many believe, changed the UNWTO and what it is during his term, while others posit the Jordanian raised the bar of the UN agency very high and has built a legacy for himself like none of his predecessors had.

In his final speech, he addressed not his legacy, but the legacy of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

“I have been touched by every person I have met throughout my humbling, rewarding yet challenging journey and deeply moved by many of the tourism stories I have come across around the world.

“I want to thank all those who make our work meaningful every day. I also wish to thank all our Member States, Affiliate Members, sister UN Organizations, industry leaders and their teams, associations and global bodies for their support to me and to the mandate of UNWTO throughout these years. It has been a truly humbling experience.

“I wish to say a very special thanks to the UNWTO staff that made possible every success that the Organization has enjoyed over the past years. I am extremely grateful to everyone I have worked with. It has been a privilege to serve as Secretary-General, not the least because of the diverse breadth of exceptional colleagues I have had the pleasure of working with.

“I wish Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, the incoming Secretary-General, every success in continuing to drive our sector forward to a better future,” Rifai said.

Meanwhile, in his New Year Message, new Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, assured of his commitment to continue in the legacy of Rifai as he pledged to ‘building partnerships with public and private sector, fostering jobs and opportunities for all, mastering technology and innovation and advancing sustainability and the fight against climate change.’

“It is with a sense of pride and humility that I assume my post as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for the period 2018-2021. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my strong commitment to make of UNWTO an ever more relevant Organization for the benefit of the sector, our Member States and its people.

“As we move towards a future guided by the universal 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I take upon me to lead UNWTO with a strong focus on building partnerships with public and private sector, fostering jobs and opportunities for all, mastering technology and innovation and advancing sustainability and the fight against climate change,” he said.

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