UNWTO European Member States debate the way forward for tourism in the region

PR No.: PR13019

UNWTO European Members States, gathered in Çesme, Turkey, for the 55th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe, debated the state of tourism in the region and the way forward under the current economic situation. Topics on discussion included visa facilitation and the promotion of domestic tourism as means to stimulate growth (27 March 2013). 

Hosted by the Government of Turkey, the meeting was chaired by the Minister of Tourism of Greece, Olga Kefalogianni, in the presence of the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, Abdurrahman Arıci, the Minister of Economy of Lithuania, Birutè Vesaite, and UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“The 55th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe was an excellent opportunity to exchange information about tourism trends in Europe and in the world as well as to share views about the challenges and opportunities facing European tourism.” said Kefalogianni. “In this respect, UNWTO acts as an important support to us through the expertise it offers to its Member States.”

“The common mission of all tourism stakeholders should be to work towards promoting greater awareness of the sector, especially to promote its sustainability. In Turkey, we firmly believe that the growth of tourism can only be achieved through an international collaborative vision.” said Arıcı

“The annual meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe aims to achieve a greater regional coordination and to engage UNWTO Member States in the activities of the Organization. Amidst the current economic situation, cooperation and the exchange of views and good practices between countries in Europe becomes ever more important”, said Rifai.

During the meeting, UNWTO advanced two important initiatives to promote a sustainable and responsible tourism. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on sustainable tourism development was signed between Greece and UNWTO. The MoU includes the promotion of sustainable tourism practices and the introduction of measures that respond to climate change impacts in Greek destinations. It expands to a national level the cooperation recently established between UNWTO and Greece through the opening of a sustainable tourism observatory in the Aegean islands.   

In the framework of the UNWTO Campaign to engage the private sector in the promotion and implementation of ethical principles and practices in business operations, five representatives from Turkey’s tourism private sector - Festtravel, TOBB, TUROFED, TURSAB, and the Turkish Tourism Investors Association – joined the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Through the Commitment companies pledge to uphold, promote and implement the values of responsible and sustainable tourism development championed by the Code of Ethics.

“Tourism is an important part of Europe’s economy. In order to raise tourism sector’s competitiveness and ensure its sustainable growth we highly support UNWTO’s initiative to promote the application of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism principles to tourism business worldwide.” said the Minister of Economy of Lithuania, Birutè Vesaite.




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