UNWTO Business Programme Reveals Global Tourism Industry Agenda

21 August 2019

The 23rd session of the General Assembly of World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is held in St. Petersburg from September 8th to 13th. It is the largest event for the global tourism industry. More than 1,500 delegates from 158 countries will attend the venues of the Assembly to discuss the solutions of global challenges facing the tourism sector. The event is organized by the Federal Tourism Agency of the Russian Federation together with the St. Petersburg Government, the operator is the Roscongress Foundation.

The business programme includes 16 events of various formats: meetings, debates, plenary meetings, reports and sessions. The agenda aims to address current issues of the organization's operational activities and the challenges facing the UNWTO and the tourism industry. Events will be held at three venues at once: in the Expoforum, the Tavrishesky Palace and the Presidential Library.

Workshops and meetings will be held on the site of the Assembly on the work of UNWTO, including the reform of the organization and its current financial situation. The Secretary-General of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili will make a report on current trends in international tourism, and the World Committee on Tourism Ethics and the Credentials Committee will also report. An important part of the discussions will be devoted to the adoption of the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics, as well as the adoption of the themes of World Tourism Day 2020 and the adoption of a host country decision by 2021. The dates and venue of the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly will be determined and announced on September 12.

The Forum on Medical and Health Tourism, held in the Tavrichesky Palace, will be the key event of September 10. Presentations will be made by Zarina Doguzova, Head of the Federal Tourism Agency of the Russian Federation, Jonathan Edelheit, Chairman of the US Medical Tourism Association, and Fernando Hierro, a former football player, founder of the Bionix group and UNWTO ambassador for sustainable tourism. Ministers and leading experts from countries, that develop medical and health tourism, will participate in the debates after the reports.

September 11 will be the day of the official opening of the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly, a ceremony will be held at the Expoforum.

On September 12, UNWTO session delegates will immediately discuss two topics on the global tourism agenda. In support of the UNWTO Year of Education, Ministerial debates will be launched in the halls of the Expoforum on the topic of education and employment in tourism, and Zurab Pololikashvili will make a report on the events and the first results. The second part of the day will be dedicated to the Summit on Innovation and Sustainable Development in Tourism. The summit will bring together more than 30 speakers. The heads of technology and travel companies will discuss issues such as the role of innovation in affordable and inclusive tourism, the role of artificial intelligence in solving the challenges of global warming, and others. Much attention will be paid to startups and technology platform development.

More than 800 delegates have already confirmed their participation in the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly. The event will have a positive impact on the perception of Russia as a global tourist destination: the most significant industry players from around the world will appreciate the tourism potential of the country. St. Petersburg, the host city of the UNWTO General Assembly this year, will become the world capital of tourism and a place where global approaches to the development of the tourism industry will be discussed.