UN Tourism News 72

UN Tourism News 72

UN Tourism News

The 25th UNWTO General Assembly concludes with a focus on education, investments and sustainability.

25 UNWTO General Assembly

Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 16- 20 October 2023


The General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization met for the 25th time in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. With global tourism on track to reach up to 95% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, the Assembly brought tourism leaders together to advance a clear vision for the long-term transformation of the sector around clear priorities. Within the framework of the Assembly plenary sessions, the gathering set the backdrop to address thematic areas, around the Investment and Education Forums.

Looking back on the General Assembly
UNWTO Gears Up to Host World's Top Tourism Authorities at Crucial General Assembly
UNWTO Gears Up to Host World's Top Tourism Authorities at Crucial General Assembly

Sector leaders have joined international organizations in commending UNWTO's role in guiding tourism through crisis and into recovery and transformation.

UNWTO General Assembly Opens to Advance Big Plans for Sector
UNWTO General Assembly Opens to Advance Big Plans for Sector

The General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization has met for the 25th time in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Tourism recovery and the long-term transformation of the sector are centre stage.

Strong, Growing Membership

For the third consecutive General Assembly, UNWTO celebrated its growing size. In Samarkand, Belize was welcomed as the Organization's newest Member State, taking the total to 160. The Assembly was given an overview of advanced plans to further expand Membership, including to welcome several countries it has been in long-term talks with.

General Assembly Concludes With Clear Vision for UNWTO and Tourism
General Assembly Concludes With Clear Vision for UNWTO and Tourism

Global tourism leaders have further advanced plans for a more ethical, diverse sector led by a growing UNWTO. The 25th session of the UNWTO General Assembly examined, discussed and approved the Organization's work, with a focus on expanding its global presence, ethics and legal frameworks and the role of public-private partnerships.

Regional Offices in Americas and Africa On the Way
UNWTO General Assembly Endorses Growing Presence on the Ground: Regional Offices in Americas and Africa On the Way

The commitment of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to moving closer to its Members and being on the ground in every region has been further demonstrated through confirmed plans for two new Regional Offices for the Americas and Africa, respectively. They follow on the recently opened Regional Office for the Middle East (opened in May 2021 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and the proposal by Uzbekistan to establish a Thematic Office for Tourism on the Silk Road which was approved by the 119th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, held on the eve of the Assembly.

UN and International Community Backing

Emphasizing the significance of the General Assembly, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed delegates, underscoring UNWTO's global relevance. He highlighted the need to harness the full potential of tourism to get back on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. His words were echoed by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), by Juan Carlos Salazar Gómez, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, by Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and by Mr. Aziz Abdukhakimov, Deputy Chair of the Government Commission on Tourism Development - Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change of Uzbekistan.

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer:

Twice as many people travelled during the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period of 2022

Key meetings


Executive Council Endorses UNWTO Programme of Work

The Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization met for its 119th session in preparation of the General Assembly, with a focus on core priorities as well as a longer-term leadership vision for transforming the sector.


120th Executive Council Welcomes New Members to Begin New Programme of Work

After the official closing of the Assembly, the Executive Council of UNWTO met for the second time in a week to fulfil its statutory obligations to look ahead to a full two years transforming the sector.


"People, Planet, Prosperity": UNWTO Global Investment Forum Looks to the Future

The "where, why, how and how much?" of tourism investments were the focus of high-level dialogues within the framework of the UNWTO General Assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.


Accelerating Green Investment in Tourism for Sustainable Development

UNWTO has put tourism on the agenda of the World Investment Forum, the biggest investment gathering led by the United Nations.



The Global Education Forum Puts a Spotlight on the Future of Tourism

The UNWTO General Assembly looked to the future with a focus on tourism education and training. The Global Education Forum brought together Ministers, employers, educators and learners to address the biggest challenges and opportunities for advancing training across every part of the sector.


Opportunity for All: Samarkand Academy Adds to Growing UNWTO Education Network

UNWTO has further enhanced its status as the global leader in advancing education and skills development for the tourism sector.

Awards & recognitions
Best Tourism Villages 2023

UNWTO has announced its list of Best Tourism Villages 2023. The accolade recognizes villages that are leading in nurturing rural areas and preserving landscapes, cultural diversity, local values, and culinary traditions.

UNWTO Video Competition Winners Announced


The power of visual storytelling to highlight tourism as a force for good has been celebrated with the 2023 edition of the UNWTO Tourism Video Competition. Member States from all regions were invited to submit their videos for consideration, with jury made up of top media professionals judging them based on how well they communicate the positive impact of tourism. The competition was divided into two categories.


Ulysses Prize for Tourism Education


In a fitting culmination to the Global Education Forum, Dr. Bao Jigang was honoured with the prestigious Ulysses Prize, a testament to his remarkable contributions to the field of tourism. With this, UNWTO recoignizes outstanding achievements in the creation and dissemination of knowledge in tourism. Throughout his academic journey, Dr. Bao has played a pivotal role in catalysing the growth of domestic tourism in China.

Other outcomes of the General Assembly

Europe's Tourism Leaders Plan Closer Cooperation Across Region

Europe's tourism leaders have met to advance plans for stronger collaboration both within and outside of the region, including through the landmark Agenda for Europe.


UNWTO's Affiliate Members Advance Public-Private Cooperation in Tourism

The UNWTO Affiliate Members - businesses, destinations and civil society actors - met to bolster public-private cooperation around shared goals.

Mark your tourism calendar

World Travel Market
06 Nov 2023 | London

17TH UNWTO Asia/Pacific Executive Training Programme On Tourism Policy And Strategy
03-16 Nov 2023 | Danang, Vietnam


Communication Media and Tourism Training In Africa Workshop
13 Nov 2023 | Victoria Falls

UNWTO International Conference on Accessible Tourism
16 – 17 November 2023 | San Marino


2023 Global INSTO Meeting
21 November 2023 | Madrid

Photo Gallery


UNWTO in the media

UNWTO Secretary general pitches for introduction of tourism as a subject in schools across the globe


Saudi Arabia to host 26th session of UNWTO's General Assembly in 2025


UAE minister calls for enhanced co-operation in Middle East to build sustainable tourism


Uzbekistan to launch luxury tourist train linking major cities by late 2026

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