2017 is the UNWTO International Year of sustainable tourism for development. The event for the opening was today at FITUR 2017, a travel and tourism trade show that opened today at the Madrid Convention Center. The first speaker at the event and guest of honor, the Honorable Giorgi Kvirikashvili, prime minister of Georgia showed no hesitation to be the first to take the gloves off in the developing fight on who would become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Was his move appropriate or clever?
As a head of State, he pitched his ambassador to Spain, H.E. Zurab Pololikashvili candidacy to lead the United Nations World Tourism Organization as the next secretary general.
Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili had presented his credentials to the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) several weeks prior.
The prime minister pointed out Georgia beeing qualified since the country is a European country and had a 20% growth in tourism last year. Some in the audience thought this was a bold and self-servicing step knowing all other candidates were in the audience unable to speak or discuss their ambition. “A clever play”, was the other response.
Candidates from Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Brazil and Korea are among those already competing with the Georgian ambassador. More candidates may follow. The deadline to present credentials is March 12.
His Excellency Walter Mzembi’s response was to have his supporters remind FITUR visitors to remind them of the first African Candidate competing to lead the global UN organization as a candidate giving out a pin. It’s a fun out of the box approach for a unique candidate with a lot of fresh ideas.
Alain St. Ange, former minister of tourism from the Seychelles officially entered the race today as the second African competing for the post. It would be the first for an African UNWTO Secretary-General to be elected.