The 98th session of the UNWTO Executive Council meeting displayed the function of tourism routes in promoting regional integration and development. UNWTO Executive Council Members discussed that regional integration translates into stronger economic development and recognized infrastructure, visa facilitation, transportation, public/private partnerships, public sector coordination, and branding as fundamental success factors in the development of tourism routes at a meeting of the council held in Spain.
Further, the Council discussed major factors to stimulate tourism growth such as visa facilitation and air connectivity while recalling the role the tourism sector can play in the sustainable development agenda.
UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, said at the opening of the Council, “Tourism´s record figures continue to renew our confidence in the sector, but they also remind us that with great power comes great responsibility. The responsibility to ensure that tourism’s growth translates into improved livelihoods and a sustainable future for our planet and the generations to come. As we gather in Santiago de Compostela coinciding with World Environment Day, let us take this opportunity to send a strong message to the world about our commitment in making tourism a true force for sustainable development worldwide.”
The President of the Xunta of Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, said, “Travel makes people better, it enriches cultures and brings out the best out of people, making each traveler a silent ambassador.”
UNWTO and the Spanish Secretariat of Tourism of Spain organized the 98th Executive Council, which was held in Spain under the leadership of the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Borrego, and hosted by the Xunta de Galicia. Over 170 participants attended the meeting from 54 UNWTO Members States and representatives of the UNWTO Associate and Affiliate Members.
The Executive Council is UNWTO’s governing board, responsible for ensuring that the Organization carries out its work and adheres to its budget. At least twice a year it meets and is composed by Members elected by the UNWTO General Assembly in a ratio of one for every five Full Members.