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Morocco visit sets tone for UNWTO General Assembly

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A cross section of participants at the 23rd UNWTO General Assembly in St. Petersburg

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Kingdom of Morocco met to advance the organisation of the 24th UNWTO General Assembly in October 2021, the first global high-level United Nations event to be held since the beginning of the pandemic.

Led by the Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, a delegation from UNWTO has concluded an official visit to Morocco to discuss the programme, calendar and facilities to be prepared for this statutory meeting that will focus on Education and Youth, Rural Development and Digital Innovation.

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The Minister of Tourism of Morocco, Nadia Fettah Alaoui, and her team accompanied the delegation during this three-day visit and expressed their commitment to organizing an “historic” General Assembly to showcase the importance of restarting international tourism in a safe and more sustainable way.

The Prime Minister of Morocco, Saadeddine Othmani and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita welcomed the UNWTO Secretary-General in Rabat highlighting the importance of the celebration and the high-level support of the host country. The Governor of Marrakesh-Safi region, Karim Kassi Lahlou, and other local authorities and representatives of the private sector of the area that will be strongly involved in the preparations for this meeting also received the delegation.

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Secretary-General Pololikashvili thanked the Prime Minister and his government for their “hard work” to ensure that the Assembly will be a success on the back of the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said: “Tourism is adapting to the new reality and we face the future with optimism and with the backing of our Members.”

Meanwhile, the Global Tourism Crisis Committee has met for the first time in 2021. Organised by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the cross-sector body met in Madrid during the 113th session of the UNWTO Executive Council to advance solid plans to restart tourism. The meeting focused on the integration of vaccines into a harmonised approach to safe travel and launching a coordinated effort to boost confidence in the sector.

With countries around the world now rolling out vaccines against the COVID-19 virus, the Committee noted that this opens a critical window in the fight against the pandemic and to promote the safe resumption of international travel. Members highlighted the importance of stepping up coordination, within the framework of the International Health Regulations, of vaccination certificates to ensure the implementation of common, harmonized digital related travel principles, protocols and documents. This would be in line with the work being carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has reported at potential applications of digital technology to enable safe international travel and facilitate arrivals and departures.

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