Seven candidates to vie for the UNWTO top job


(Posted 15th March 2017)

The highest global tourism office is the post of Secretary General of the United Nations World tourism Organisation, in short UNWTO and for the coming May elections seven countries have put forward their candidates.

Dr. Taleb Rifai from Jordan will retire at the end of this year after serving his maximum two mandates as Secretary General and seven candidates are now vying to replace Dr. Taleb in Madrid where UNWTO is based.

Brazil, Columbia, Georgia, Armenia, Korea, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles are all in the race. The country which wins this race will have an impact on the happenings in tourism destinations, in air access, in cruise ship business and in the development of sustainable tourism development framework for the next four years which is why it is important for a country that understands tourism to win this coming election. Tourism is a fragile industry and the ability for the new Secretary General of the UNWTO to work as a Team is more important today that ever before. Appreciating the Safety Label of countries as a key USP, believing in Sustainable Tourism and protecting what we all have as natural, cultural and historical attractions, realising the need for the UNWTO to be closer to Member States through the creation of Satellite Offices, working on an intensified PPP, short for Public Private Sector Partnership with WTTC, PATA and similar bodies, engage with ICAO, IATA and IMO and to be conscious of the plight of Small Island Developing States are all key messages advocated by Alain St.Ange, the candidate for the Seychelles who said repeatedly to this correspondent when visiting Kampala recently: ‘Tourism is for all. We have but one tourism industry and we must therefore work hard to bring tourism destinations together at the UNWTO so we can work together for a more consolidated industry for everyone. We must respect everyone immaterial of colour of their skin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preferences and those with or without disability. We must see a person and associate with what unites us and not see differences with which we can divide ourselves. Respect people, respect humanity and together grow tourism for all" said Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles‘.

Besides Alain St. Ange is also Dr. Eng. Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe in the race, repeatedly also featured here since his was the first to enter the race in early 2016.
However, none of the other candidates has yet found the time to present their manifesto and reasons why they should be elected to this correspondent, failing therefore to impress any of the more than 1.4 million readers this site has accumulated over time, all the more a reason why this must be Africa’s time to capture the UNWTO top job and ensure in coming years that Africa is respected, heard and included in global tourism developments.