Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization
The 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly gathers in the beautiful city of Samarkand at a vital moment both for the tourism sector as well as for our societies.
Tourism has weathered the biggest storm in its history, and we are now well on course to a return to pre-pandemic levels of international arrivals by the end of this year. At the same time, however, we must urgently face up to new challenges, most notably a mounting climate crisis, economic uncertainty and persisting geopolitical tensions. It is up to us, as the world’s leading people-to-people socio-economic activity, to be part of the solution. We can and must fulfill our duty to deliver on tourism’s potential as a source of sustainable development, opportunity, and understanding.
This General Assembly offers us a platform to work together around a shared belief in what tourism can offer, for people and for planet. As always, our discussions will be frank and challenging. I am confident in our ability to share knowledge, collaborate and identify workable solutions, prioritizing tourism investment, jobs and education.
I am also hopeful we will all take inspiration from our surroundings. Samarkand showcases the rich and proud history of Uzbekistan. It stands as testament to the work of the Uzbek Government in preserving their heritage and embracing tourism as a means of sharing this heritage with people from all over the world. I thank our generous hosts for their warm hospitality and I look forward to a productive and inspiring General Assembly.
Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov
Deputy Chair of the Government Commission on Tourism Development - Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change of Uzbekistan
The leadership and Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan recognise tourism as a strategic sector of the national economy with significant potential for economic growth, improvement of people's well-being, particularly local communities, and support for the most vulnerable ones.
Committed to the further advancement of sustainable and green tourism, the country seeks to promote its tourism brand through infrastructure diversification, widening its tourism product, and enhancement of the quality of tourism services.
The Government of Uzbekistan is pleased to welcome all stakeholders of the global tourism market, including tourism authorities, private sector, academia, and others, in the fabulous city of Samarkand.
Samarkand, as a crossroads of civilizations, cultures, and religions, is the perfect venue for the world's grand tourism event – the session of the UNWTO General Assembly. Symbolically, the 25th anniversary session will take place in Uzbekistan in the year of the 30th anniversary of the country's accession to the World Tourism Organization.
Uzbekistan has been, is, and will remain a UNWTO's steadfast ally in promoting responsible, inclusive, and universally accessible tourism worldwide.
Welcome to Uzbekistan!
Secretary-General of the United Nations
I send my warm greetings to the 25th General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization gathering in the beautiful city of Samarkand.
Tourism brings progress.
As one of the biggest sectors in the global economy, it has great power to bridge cultures, generate new opportunities and promote sustainable development.
But tourism is also impacted by interlinked global challenges.
The climate crisis is threatening many tourist destinations and the very survival of communities around the world
Many developing countries that depend on tourism are facing a growing financial crisis.
We must harness the full potential of tourism to get back on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
That requires investing in sustainable and inclusive tourism – adopting zero-emission pathways; protecting the environment and biodiversity; creating decent jobs; and contributing to resilient social protection systems.
I know that we can count on the UN World Tourism Organisation to carry this vision forward and together, build a better future, for people and planet.
I wish you a successful General Assembly.