UNWTO and Russian Parliament debate tourism legislation

As part of UNWTO’s ongoing work to encourage strong public policies supportive of the tourism sector, a delegation from the Russian Parliament met with UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, at UNWTO Headquarters to discuss recent efforts to advance the country’s legislative framework for tourism (Madrid, Spain, 28 January 2011).

“Tourism can contribute to economic growth, jobs and development, but needs supportive public policies to do so,” said Mr. Rifai. “We need legislators to support this message and set in place a strong and favorable operating environment for the sector”.

Vladimir Zhidkikh, Chairman of the Russian Commission for Youth Affairs and Tourism, headed the delegation and detailed the work of Russian authorities regarding tourism governance. Representatives of the Russian International Academy of Tourism, recently nominated to become a UNWTO Strategic Knowledge Center, in the framework of the newly established UNWTO Knowledge Network, were also present. The Academy’s prorector, Eugeny Trofimov, highlighted the institution’s role in providing consulting assistance to the Commission and the importance of the relationship between the public sector and academia for better policy making.

The Secretary-General noted that Russia, which registered 19 million international tourist arrivals and US$ 9 billion in international tourism receipts in 2009, grew by 3% in 2010, around the European average. In terms of outbound tourism, the country is currently one of the world’s fastest growing outbound markets and is leading the recovery in terms of expenditure abroad (up 26% in 2010).

The Russian Federation has been a UNWTO Member State since 1975, actively participating in UNWTO activities and regularly organising joint events with the Organization, including a seminar to be held during the Russian international travel fair, Intourmarket (Moscow, Russia, 12-15 March 2011), in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Tourism.