On September 15-17, Georgia is hosting the 112th session of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The session was opened by the PM Giorgi Gakharia with a greeting speech in Biltmore Hotel, Tbilisi. Within the frame of the event, official representatives of UNWTO, ministers, honorary ambassadors and representatives of tourism organizations visited Tbilisi together with Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO. The information is published by the Ministry of Economy And Sustainable Development.
Georgia hosts 112th session of UNWTO Executive Council
By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, September 17
The Executive Council of UNWTO consists of 32 member states and represents the governing body of the organization. The council assures the effective work of the organization and discusses the main issues of travel and tourism industry policy considered by the global agenda. UNWTO holds Executive Council sessions at least every two years, permanently in Spain, where UNWTO’s headquarter is located, however, based on the unprecedented decision of the organisation, for the first time in the history of the Executive Council, the host country of the session is Georgia.
As the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development states, holding UNWTO high-rank meetings in Georgia had been decided yet prior to the pandemic. Initially, the event was scheduled to take place in June 2020. The representatives of the organization visited Georgia so as to study the situation on the site and gave a positive estimation to the readiness of the country to host a high-rank representative meeting, however, due to the pandemic, the meeting was postponed. As the process of re-selection of the host country started, considering that Georgia is one of the safest countries in terms of epidemiological situation, the decision was made to hold the UNWTO Executive Council session in Georgia.
In the opening speech, the PM expressed gratitude towards Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO as well as to the member states of the Executive Council for the contribution made to the decision of holding the session in Georgia, for the first time outside the border of Spain.
Considering that the main topic of the session regards pandemic difficulties, particularly challenges related to the most affected sector of tourism, the PM highlighted that Georgia was able to receive the status of a green-country and is one of the safest tourist destinations.
“The trend of the recovery of tourism will be one of the most important events in the post-crisis period globally, and it is our wish to be pioneers in this process, on the basis of the experience gained in terms of safety in the tourism sector,” said Gakharia.
The PM noted that Georgia has two main goals in the fight against the pandemic- to protect the health and the lives of its citizens and to save the economy.
The session is held in full compliance with the safety and guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and The National Center for Disease Control of Georgia (NCDC) and is under strict observation of Georgian epidemiologists.
The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development notes that the participants of the event underwent PCR testing a few hours before their departure for Georgia and according to the protocol recognized by NCDC, presented the documentation confirming the testing at the border. As for the other participants who were unable to present such documentation at the border, they were tested in Georgia and remained in isolation until results were received.
Among the delegates of the UNWTO Executive Council session are high-ranking guests from Spain, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and other countries. Prior to the session, foreign guests guided by Mariam Kvrivishvili, the Head of Georgian National Tourism Administration and Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, visited the sights in old Tbilisi.