On 18 January 2021, the Global Tourism Crisis Committee met for the first time this new year in Madrid for their first meeting.

Taking advantage of the Executive Council celebrated the following day and hosted by Spain, this meeting was a hybrid event, combining in-person and virtual participation. Once again, the Committee brought together tourism leaders from around the world, as well as UN agencies and representatives from civil society and the private sector. Established by UNWTO at the very start of the pandemic, the Committee aims to unite the sector and lead a strong and consistent response to the crisis.

Key issues on the agenda included exploring how vaccines against COVID-19 can be part of a harmonized approach to restart tourism, including through the potential use of health passports and other measures. UNWTO also called on members of the Committee to join forces for a global campaign aimed at restoring confidence in tourism.

During the 113th session of the UNWTO Executive Council to be held on 19 January, representatives of the 35 Council members will be provided with updates on the implementation of the UNWTO Programme of Work and plans for 2021. The Executive Council will also explore current tourism trends, including the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the sector and what this means for livelihoods and tourism’s contribution to sustainable development. This hybrid event expects 150 in-person participants.

The Executive Council meeting will also include the election for the position of UNWTO Secretary-General for the term 2022-2025. Incumbent Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili has made himself available for re-election for a second term, while the Kingdom of Bahrain has nominated Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa for the position. 

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili took office in January 2018. Seeking to optimize the efficiency of the Organization, the Secretary-General has introduced a new leadership structure consisting of a Deputy Secretary-General and two Executive Directors, each one overseeing key structural areas and departments of the Organisation, for increased efficiency in achieving UNWTO’s goals, including adding value to members, increasing membership and serving the tourism sector as a whole.


Photo Credit: UNWTO, FTN

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