DIPLOMACY INDUSTRY TRAVEL

United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai: Romania has become success story, deserves more

Romania has become a success story in tourism and deserves more, as it has attractions nowhere else to be found, United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai told on Thursday an international conference ” Integrated Quality Management in Tourism Destinations: A Key to Competitiveness” organised by Romania’s National Authority for Tourism (ANT), in partnership with the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization.

He said the most important thing is that tourists in Bucharest will be impressed with the smile of everyone there, a real and very sweet smile, which you don’t get to see in other parts of the world, adding that Romania has become a success story in tourism and it deserves more.

According to Rifai, although humankind hasn’t completely recovered from the 2008-2009 economic crisis, people continue to travel and tourism is growing all over the world.

Rifai said people have crossed borders defying all obstacles and this movement represents a true change in our lives.

He added that the IT revolution also played a part, as today’s world is steered by the revolution of travelling and the IT revolution, according to Agerpres. He showed that technology has given a voice to the silent. Through social media, he says, people have understood that they are more important than the governments and the companies they work for. Today’s traveller is much more informed and putting together 50 people on a bus and showing them around, telling them who built what and when no longer works, as tourists want to get off the bus, talk to security, eat local food. Therefore, Rifai said, everything must be consumer-oriented.

According to him, there were over 2 billion tourists worldwide in 2015. Tourism contributed 10 percent to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), generating 1.4 trillion dollars. Tourists spend 3.5 billion dollars a day worldwide.

Rifai also said many people don’t take tourism very seriously, although it is the third most important industry in the world; 66 years ago there were only 22 million cross-border travellers. Today, one in 11 jobs is created in tourism, and each job in tourism creates another 1.4 jobs in related domains.

He also said tourism is one of the most efficient diplomatic instruments, as it mainly consists of socialising.

The WTO official showed how travelling has become a powerful transformation engine on a social and political level. Tourism is one of the most efficient diplomatic instruments, because there are people meeting people, eating and dancing together, he said, adding that tourist workers believe their business is to help the world improve.

This event, of a major importance to national and international tourism, sets to promote and develop on an international level a new tourism trend related to the organisations working in destination management, entailing an integrated vision of all the components defining and shaping up a tourist destination. Over 100 international tourism industry attended.

Afterwards, the Secretary General of the UN’s World Tourism Organisation was received by Foreign Affairs Minister Lazar Comanescu. Their talks reaffirmed the very good cooperation that Romania and the UN’s Tourism Organisation have, and the two sides’ interest in the sustainable development of this domain at national, regional and global level.

The Romanian Foreign Minister emphasised the importance that Romania gives to promoting and supporting tourism as part of our country’s sustainable development strategy. From this perspective, he reiterated the interest in expanding Romania’s involvement in UNWTO’s programmes, a Foreign Ministry communique shows.

Moreover, the two officials emphasised the need to promote the International Year of Tourism (2017) to the benefit of the Organisation and of its member states.

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