25th UNWTO General Assembly | Daily 01: Samarkand welcomes Tourism Leaders to  25th UNWTO General Assembly

UN Tourism News: 25th UNWTO General Assembly | Daily 01

UN Tourism News

Samarkand Welcomes Tourism Leaders to
25th UNWTO General Assembly


Samarkand, located in the southeastern part of Uzbekistan and melting pots of culture is set for the 25th UNWTO General Assembly. The ''Crossroads of Cultures'' will be hosting its first major UN Tourism event this week and will be the beehive of activities as the tourism sector charts a new path to an accelerated recovery. Aside from the Plenary Sessions and many other engagements, the General Assembly will host two thematic forums - on education and on investments - in line with the Organization's core priorities. The 25th UNWTO General Assembly is the key event for the future of tourism. Global leaders will gather to shape the way forward for a tourism sector that works for people and planet.


With splendid portals, vast coloured domes, and remarkable exterior decorations in majolica, mosaic, marble, and gold; the architectural heritage was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001. Samarkand, in ancient times referred as Afrasiab, is one of the oldest cities in Central Asia. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulughbek's Observatory. Being key connecting city on Silk Road between China, Persia and Europe, Samarkand is considered as a cradle for trade, culture and science.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili
 UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili

"The UNWTO General Assembly gathers 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. We can and must fulfil our duty to deliver on tourism's potential as a source of sustainable development, opportunity, and understanding. I thank our generous hosts for their warm hospitality, and I look forward to a productive and inspiring General Assembly."

Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change of Uzbekistan and Deputy Chair of the Government Commission on Tourism Development, H.E. Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov
Deputy Chair of the Government Commission on Tourism Development, H.E. Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov

"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!"

United Nations Secretary General AntÓnio Guterres
António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations

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.


Goals of the UNWTO General Assembly

From plenary meetings to education & investments forums and much more, the General Assembly is as a platform to discuss all things tourism. The goals of the General Assembly include: to advance the work of the world's leading tourism Organization, share knowledge, collaborate and provide real solutions to the problems being faced by the sector.


To find more detailed information look at the GA Booklet


International tourism has continued to recover from the worst crisis in its history

Arrival numbers reached 84% of pre-pandemic levels between January and July 2023, according to our latest data. The Middle East, Europe and Africa lead the global sector's rebound.

What's happening today?
G20 Leaders' Declaration
Regional Commission for Europe convenes

European tourism leaders will gather at the 69th UNWTO Regional Commission meeting ahead of the opening of the General Assembly. The meeting, which seeks to consolidate decisions of it's last meeting (Sofia, Bulgaria), offers the group the opportunity to put forward other pressing matters ahead of the the Assembly.

G20 Leaders' Declaration
44th UNWTO's Affiliate Members Session kickstarts activities at the General Assembly

The 44th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session will usher in official activities at this year's General Assembly. The plenary session is the most important governing structure of the Affiliate Members and will offer an opportune framework to debate on the state of the affiliate membership, analyze the evolution of the implementation of the Programme of Work and share information and proposals on future projects.

G20 Leaders' Declaration
Towards an international statistical framework for measuring tourism's role in sustainable development

The Committee on Statistics will hold a high-level panel regarding a 360 data approach to empower tourism. This will be followed by conversations around UNWTO's statistical programme of work, the Framework for Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) and the steps taken towards a harmonized ESG Framework for Tourism Businesses and findings from pilots.

G20 Leaders' Declaration
Responding to the sector's present and future challenges

The Programme and Budget Committee ensures UNWTO is ready to respond to the sector's present and future challenges.


From Madrid to Samarkand, Uzbekistan takes over the baton from Spain

The 24th General Assembly was held in Madrid, Spain in 2021. Tourism ministers pledged to coordinate with their respective governments to restart tourism. The all-important tourism meeting discussed the way forward to get tourism moving in a safe manner.


25th General Assembly App goes live!

An application to help participants and delegates to network, surf and follow up to the minute update of the 25th session of the General Assembly has been launched and is live on Android and IOS platforms. The allocation gives a user an access to every information of the assembly. From the event programs to all documents associated with every session.
Use it to stay up to date with the latest news and announcements, see your personal schedule, and create your event profile. Are you ready to plan your experience? Use this Event ID to find it: UNWTO GA2023.
Once you login, your profile is set as "Hidden" by default, you won't appear on the attendees list.

Recent Highlights


World Tourism Day 2023 by the numbers



The inauguration of the Riyadh School for Tourism and Hospitality, powered by UNWTO

On World Tourism Day (WTD) 2023, tourism leaders from every global region united around the shared determination to invest in the sector's growth and transformation. Held around the theme of "Tourism and Green Investments," the celebrations of the Global Day of Observation have been the biggest and most impactful on record.


"Tourism Opens Minds" Initiative launched in Riyadh to transform travel habits

On WTD we launched the "Tourism Opens Minds" Initiative! It showcases the powerful role that tourism plays in bridging cultures and promoting a more interconnected and harmonious world. To mark the launch, delegates gathered in Riyadh were presented with a special Pledge calling on them to actively work to promote new and under-appreciated destinations.



Tourism For Development Highlighted in G20 Leaders' Declaration

Tourism's key role in advancing sustainable social and economic development was highlighted in the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration. The meeting of the G20 economies (New Delhi, India, 9-10 September) recognized the "opportunity to build a better future [through] development models that implement sustainable, inclusive and just transitions globally, while leaving no one behind". The high-level discussions concluded with the launch of the Leaders' Declaration, a set of agreed-upon aims for advancing development and prosperity. Here, tourism is recognized for its ability to drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


New narratives

With tourism high on the political agenda like never before, UNWTO is leading the shift in tourism communications, with a greater focus on the sector's unique power as a driver of development and opportunity. For this reason, the Organization brought together global branding experts, journalists and content creators to rethink narratives around tourism communications.


8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism

UNWTO and its Affiliate Member, the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), hosted the 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism (5-7 October 2023, Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain).

The Forum aims to promote the exchange of experiences between experts in tourism and gastronomy, to identify good practices and to foster gastronomy tourism as a factor of development of destinations.

Media Mentions

UNWTO General Assembly to be held in Uzbekistan for the first time in history | Euronews

Gulf Times

UNWTO General Assembly to be held in Uzbekistan for the first time - Gulf Times

Travel Tomorrow

Why Samarkand deserves to host the 25th UNWTO General Assembly - Travel Tomorrow

Travel Tomorrow

What to expect from UNWTO's General Assembly in Samarkand this October - Travel Tomorrow

The Economist

Charting a sustainable course: tourism pioneers the blue economy for thriving oceans

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