- Özgür Töre
Against the backdrop of its growing tourism industry, Antigua and Barbuda has become a member of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The move was made official at the organization's 24th General Assembly, which was held from December 30 to January 3.
Antigua and Barbuda's membership took effect on January 1, 2022. In his remarks to the assembly, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili praised Antigua and Barbuda's decision to join the organization saying:
“I am very happy to see the UNWTO family growing. It's been a pleasure to work with Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to Spain, Dr. Dario Item, to make this possible. Antigua and Barbuda can count on UNWTO full support to restart tourism for sustainable growth.”
In order to relaunch tourism in Antigua and Barbuda, Pololikashvili pledged the support of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Ambassador Dario Item, Antigua and Barbuda’s Permanent Representative to the UNWTO and Head of Mission for its embassy in Madrid, thanked the UNWTO for its support and reaffirmed the country's commitment to the UNWTO. As well as being accredited to the Principality of Monaco and the Principality of Liechtenstein, Ambassador Dario Item also presented his credentials to King Juan Carlos on January 16, 2019.
Antigua and Barbuda's accession to the UNWTO is part of the country's broader plan to expand its diplomatic network and strengthen its ties with other nations. Antigua and Barbuda established its first embassy in continental Europe last year, in Madrid, the Spanish capital.
Meanwhile, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was established by the United Nations as a specialized agency for the development of sustainable tourism. Founded in 1974, the organization currently has 191 members.
Antigua and Barbuda's membership in the UNWTO will enable the country to build on its success in tourism and prepare for a full restart in the years to come. The country's decision to join the Organization is also consistent with the country's goals to become a global leader in the tourism sector and to contribute to the development of global tourism.
Having joined the UNWTO, the country is now in a better position to revive tourism and grow the sector in a more sustainable way.
Since becoming a sovereign nation in 1981, Antigua and Barbuda has worked to develop its tourism sector as a key driver of its economic growth. Antigua and Barbuda received US$349 million in tourism receipts in 2020 from 125,000 international visitors.
As a member state, UNWTO and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda will strengthen the sector's role as a pillar of sustainable development, while focusing on innovation and tourism education.