UNWTO News 62

Release Date: 
30 Apr 17

The capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, has recently hosted the 59th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Africa. Held between 18-21 April, the Commission included a High-level Meeting on Chinese Outbound Tourism to Africa, where regional representatives debated the potential that the sector brings to the continent. 

Tourism can be a key driver of the growth and economic diversification for the Middle East and North Africa region concluded the 2017 Ministerial Forum organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) under the patronage of H.E. Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates. Yet, maximizing the power of the sector requires increased regional cooperation, prioritization of tourism in the national agendas and building resilience and sustainability (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 24 April, 2017).

2016 results on expenditure from major outbound markets reflect increasing demand for international tourism across the world, as reported in the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. With a 12% increase in spending, China continued to lead international outbound tourism, followed by the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and France as top five spenders.

The 48th Session of United Nations Statistical Commission has supported the UNWTO-led initiative of developing an international framework for Measuring Sustainable Tourism (MST). The initiative, being implemented in cooperation with the United Nations Statistics Division, aims to develop a new statistical framework for tourism — one that integrates the various dimensions of sustainable tourism (economic, environmental and social) and across relevant levels (global, national and subnational). 

International tourist arrivals to the European Union increased by 4% in 2016, reaching almost 500 million or 40% of the world’s total. This preliminary result is included in the first release of the ‘European Union Short-Term Tourism Trends’, a regular monitoring of EU tourism by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in the framework of the cooperation with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROWTH) of the European Commission (EC). 

UNWTO Technical Cooperation bid a good farewell to 2016 and the outlook for its operations in 2017 is bright. In the last quarter of 2016, over 10 technical assistance missions were fielded, showing a wide geographic and thematic variety: from sustainable tourism policy and master plan development, marketing, and tourism statistics to more specific assignments like carrying capacity studies, the development of Destination Management Organizations, and the review of building codes. Several large-scale projects were also successfully completed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Myanmar. For the year ahead, UNWTO project portfolio will further diversify and expand thanks to new partnerships. With the support of the Chinese company Chimelong, a new set of projects is being developed with a focus on capacity-building for tourism development, biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods, benefiting selected countries in Africa and Asia.

Since 2006, the UNWTO has convened the Asia/Pacific Executive Training Program on Tourism Policy and Strategy. This high level executive training program provided an opportunity for policy makers to get together for exchanging ideas on current tourism issues. Through a series of lectures, group discussions, debates, presentations, and technical tours the training program seeks to provide a forum to assist public sector tourism executives in gaining a better understanding of the latest trends in tourism management and provide a knowledge and experience sharing platform on good practices in successful policy and strategy formulation and implementation. The training program consisted of three days of workshop (Monday 20th, Tuesday 21st & Wednesday 22nd March) and a one-day technical tour (Thursday 23rd March).The venue chosen for the training was Port Moresby Papua New Guinea.

The outreach of an International Year is global, attracting an audience of millions of people from governments, the private sector, international organizations, academia, NGOs and civil society, and tourists themselves. By engaging with the International Year, you will benefit from worldwide visibility and association with the values of the United Nations in a truly global initiative with unique networking opportunities. Your contributions will allow UNWTO to carry out coordinated activities that showcase the importance of sustainable tourism as a tool for development. The activities you will support during the year-long celebration include, inter alia, the official opening and closing events taking place in Madrid and Geneva respectively, the publication of several reports, public awareness-raising campaigns and international exhibits. With your involvement and support, we can look forward to a wonderful year of activities promoting sustainable tourism as a driver of development.

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