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May 24, 2018

Armenia says no to UNWTO, why?

A month ago, the Armenian minister of Tourism, Hon. Vahan Martirosyan, joined 6 other candidates to compete in the race to be elected as the new Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

This week Armenia withdrew the nomination. The withdrawal of Armenia was not yet officially announced but leaked to eTN.

eTN sources suggested this decision to withdraw may have been the result of one of several questionable behind the scene deals between Georgia’s President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, and leaders of other countries.

Georgia nominated its current ambassador to the UNWTO in Madrid, Hon. Zurab Pololikashvili to run for the top post in world tourism. Georgia’s president Martisoyan had shown great support for Georgia’s candidate. An insider told eTN: “The real candidate  appears to be  President Giorgi Margvelashvi.”

Further eTN sources suggest the withdrawal by Armenia may have been based on such a discussion and on a handshake agreement between the President of Georgia, and the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, to facilitate mutual needs not necessarily related to tourism.

Azerbaijan is known as a rival, some say as an enemy of Georgia. The Azerbaijan press reported today: “Joining the fight for the post of UNESCO Director-General, Azerbaijan evaded participation in the election of the UNWTO Secretary-General and is taking a risk to deteriorate relations with the World Tourism Organization, as a citizen of Armenia has a chance to lead it.”

eTN is relying on a known source, unable to independently confirm at this time.

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