Tourism ministers from around the globe this week went to Baku, Azerbaijan to attend the 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.
This meeting was not only important to listen to the Azerbaijan president, but it brought many candidates competing for the job of the Secretary General together one last time before the Executive Council meets in Madrid on May 12 to vote for the person able to lead World Tourism from 2018.
Azerbaijan is the chair of the upcoming Executive Council meeting.
Among candidates attending was Madam Dho Young-shim from Korea, Hon. Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe (in photo) and Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia who hadn’t been seen very often at other UNWTO events recently.
Current UNWTO Secretary General, Mr. Taleb Rifai had this to say when he addressed the audience in Baku:
We today heard important messages from Azerbaijani president”, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai said at the opening ceremony of the 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue.
He noted that what happened in the past are repeated in the future: “As global leaders, we must head to tright direction in a single ship. We must provide freely traveling of the people. Today, the world faces hardships in several places. People must respect one another”.
He said that one out of 10 jobs is related to tourism: “Share of tourism will increase in the coming years. However, if we have authority, we also should bear responsibility. Movement of 1,800,000,000 people creates an opportunity for development of national economies”.
UNWTO Secretary General said that skills of the youths may improve by traveling to different places: “People get rich spiritually and know one another by traveling. Today, there is a lack of tolerance and understanding. People must unite and struggle against stereotypes. This year will be declared as a year of tourism. This allows us to unite our efforts. Global challenges may be eliminated through partnership. We must respect people, environment and we express self-respect by this. We’ll always travel to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a nice place, Land of Fire. You have good people”.
Local children performed during the event.