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World Tourism Organization Expands during Cartagena Summit

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Hazel Heyer l eTN Staff writer  Dec 03, 2007

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has admitted three new members during the seventeenth General Assembly held November 23 - 29 in the Fortified City of Cartagena bringing up the number of member states to 153.

Committed to achieving the UN Millennium Goals, the Madrid-based organization is doing its utmost best to fight poverty with formidable partnerships formed during the Summit, and to beef up support for the ever-increasing concern over global climate change.

Brunei Darussalam, Tajikistan and Montenegro have just joined this week, making big strides in growing tourism in proportion to the massive world tourism growth. Globally, tourism has grown to 846 million international arrivals in 2006. It is expected to grow to 1.6 billion in 2020.

Brunei moves ahead with the travel wheel fast gaining momentum in Asia. Aside from its pristine nature with tropical rainforest covering 78 percent of land area, along with Brunei’s 600-year royal heritage, tourism complements the stability and peacefulness that the country enjoys. The characteristics favor the tourism industry, especially in the drive to strengthen further eco-tourism sectors. Brunei is at the center of the fastest growing region in the world, Asia Pacific, which allows for a sustainable element for the kind of tourism experiences demanded by Brunei´s discerning tourists, said Datu Hamdillah H.A. Wahabm deputy minister for Malaysia’s Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.

Further, the country, in its arrival to the UNWTO, embraced responsibility towards current world issues such as climate change. There are few activities in Brunei, apart from agriculture, that are dependent on the weather as tourism. “As an economy driven by oil and gas, Brunei remains passionate in our common battle against global warming. On reducing greenhouse gases, we recommend a sustainable carbon sink for the residual carbon dioxide that is produced as we strive to reduce through new technology and reduce, reuse and recycle methodology,” said Datu Wahab.

As a result of a more serious commitment, Brunei will contribute 60 percent of its land area in the Heart of Borneo Project – a joint trilateral initiative spearheaded by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. “The project aims to conserve 220,000 sq. km. of our tropical rainforest with the National Implementation Plan to be launched next month. HOB’s friendly donors will hopefully solicit funds to contribute partly to financing less than 30 projects in Brunei,” added Datu Wahab.

Meanwhile, tourism in the Republic of Tajikistan has been committed to the Committee of Youth Affairs and Sports, a new committee created under the Republic.“In developing tourism, we now take into serious consideration the social and economic state of the country. Putting all efforts to establish new links between the countries, constructing new roads, new hotels, receiving foreign and local tourists at the same time will speed up tourism growth. As new full member of the UNWTO, we hope to work in implementing new projects we have for the sake of tourism,” said Tajikistan tourism minister.

The projects will not only run for six to eight months, but for much longer term in achieving the country’s goals on poverty reduction and climate change, according to the Tajikistan tourism minister.

Tajikistan with its Grand Mountain ranges, the Valley of Yagnob River, and the Great Silk Route to name a few, becomes a new rising star in the region and the world.

The newest independent nation in the world, Montenegro is committed to make a name in the industry as fast as it possibly can. Tourism leaders have begun to share some of the unique opportunities available in this Mediterranean warm water basin.

Montenegro is a small, but most intensive and fastest growing tourism economy. Recently cited as such by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the country is committed to becoming an innovator and a model for creative long-term goals for developing tourism. Part of the mission is attracting numerous international investors who actively participate in Montenegro’s innovative approach.

Tourism and Environment Minister Pedrag Nenezic said: “Montenegro is unique in many respects, and this uniqueness is becoming a powerful magnet for both vacationers and quality investors alike. Our challenge is to assure that we manage growth in a way that both preserve the very charms the visitors and investors have enjoyed, while fostering a dynamic business environment that support smart, sustainable investments.”

Three countries, one organization, one goal. As the UNWTO expands and casts its net further, the new members will be able to demonstrate that promoting tourism beyond their border and to the rest of the world has become more crucial in today’s competitive travel market.

World Tourism Organization Expands during Cartagena Summit



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