The upcoming 21st Session of the UNWTO General Assembly meeting will be held in Medellín, Colombia between 12-17 September 2015. Held every two years, the General Assembly is UNWTO’s main statutory meeting and the most important international gathering of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives of the private sector.
Colombia is hosting the UNWTO General Assembly for the second time, following the 2007 UNWTO General Assembly in Cartagena de Indias. The event is expected to gather over 800 delegates from UNWTO Member States, the private sector and academia.
“I trust that Colombia and Medellín will provide us a unique platform to share our insights on the important transformations shaping the tourism sector, step up response to our most pressing challenges and leverage the immense potential of tourism to be a true instrument for positive change in the world”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
“Hosting the UNWTO General Assembly for the second time is a unique opportunity for Colombia to share with the world its achievement in terms of tourism development and competitiveness: 161 ongoing infrastructure projects, over 18 thousand entrepreneurs entering the formal economy, 413 service providers with quality certification and 1.8 million direct jobs among others“, said Cecilia Álvarez-Correa, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia.
This year´s Assembly also coincides with a defining moment for the international community as it prepares to embrace the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the post-2015 blueprint for sustainable development.
Among the highlights of the Assembly is the joint UNWTO/ICAO High-level Forum on Tourism and Air Transport for Development. The Forum will focus on how closer cooperation between aviation and tourism can maximize the impact of both sectors on employment, inclusive growth and sustainable development, in the context of the post-2105 development agenda and the coming Climate Summit next December. The Forum with the participation of all delegates attending will be moderated by the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu and count on the participation of Richard Quest, Anchor of CNN’s Quest Means Business.
Other special events during the General Assembly include topics such as tourism as a tool for peace and social inclusion, financing for development, talent management, gastronomic tourism and shopping tourism.