Vanuatu attends 22nd General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organisation

Vanuatu delegation is led by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Hon. Joe Natuman (center). Next to the DPM on the left is Mrs Natuman, andMrs Adela Issachar Aru Vanuatu Tourism Office General Manager, far left. Mr George Iapson, 1st Political Advisor to the DPM (right hand side of the DPM), and Samson Kaltang DPM’s security officer on the far right.

By Glenda Willie

Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Joe Natuman who is also Minister for Tourism participated in the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on 11th to 19th of September in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.

With 2017 declared as the International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development, DPM Natuman outlined the progress Vanuatu is undertaking by developing a national sustainable tourism policy with assistance through the Vanuatu Strategic Tourism Action Plan (VSTAP).

Vanuatu was further appointed as Vice Chairman to the Regional Committee for Asia & Pacific of which the DPM graciously accepted the appointment representing the Pacific, on behalf of the Small Island States to use sustainable tourism as a tool for development.

The General Assembly outlined the progress of 150 nations around the world in shaping their economies fostering the 17 sustainable development goals for a better tourism sector to improve the livelihood of countries.

Globally tourism and travel has shown a 4% growth in the last 7 years with over 300 million people travelling internationally for tourism between 2008 and 2016.

In 2016 international tourist arrivals around the world reached 1,235 million tourist of which the International Year explored the following key area’s for consideration: Inclusive and sustainable economic growth, Social inclusiveness, Employment and Poverty Reduction, Resource efficiency, Environmental Protection and climate change, Cultural values, Diversity and Heritage and Mutual understanding, Peace and Security.

Case studies, debates and high level dialoque were shared covering the 17 SDG’s that further declared for a call for action by all nations to use tourism as an engine for growth and development.

China has become the world’s leading inbound market and is becoming an emerging market for most of the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations.

Digital tourism to create smart destinations featured the importance of digital tourism with good content development and consideration for online technologies and platforms to drive change in the tourism sector and something that Vanuatu has been embarking on as part of its marketing strategies.

The session ends on the 19th of September with the appointment of a new Secretary General from Georgia taking up the Office of the UNWTO Secretariat for the next four years.

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