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Frangialli to finally step down as UN tourism chief

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Nelson Alcantara  Jun 17, 2008

The United Nations World Tourism Organization secretary-general Francesco Frangialli has announced he is planning to leave his post as UN’s tourism chief earlier than expected.

It is no secret that Frangialli has threatened to step down in the past. At the organization’s general assembly in Beijing, China, in 2004, he had threatened to step down because of disagreements over membership issues. He also claimed then that he was not going to re-run for the secretary-general position.

At the Beijing event, there was a running joke among journalists that he had threatened to step down several times before but never really did. Of course, Frangialli didn’t step down. As a matter of fact, he held the position and was re-elected for another term.

It was immediately after the Beijing assembly that the World Tourism Organization became a specialized agency for the United Nation, hence the title United Nations World Tourism Organization (or UNWTO).

There are indications that Frangialli is serious about his intention to step down this time around, however. According to him, he is stepping down at the start of next year to ensure a smooth transition before the scheduled end of his final term in office.

It is an usual move in that Frangialli’s term does not end for another year. Leaving before the end of his term to presumably guarantee a “smooth transition” for the next secretary-general may not be unusual. However, it is questionable because such a move means he is leaving his post almost a full year before his scheduled departure. There is dissonance with his departure and the issue of transition as election for his position has yet to take place.

With Frangialli gone, it is likely that Taleb Rifai, the current deputy-secretary general, will fill Frangialli’s position until a new secretary-general is elected.

Frangialli, for his part, has said his main achievements as secretary-general included “the creation of a universally accepted system to measure the impact on tourism on national economies, and the adoption of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to encourage responsible and sustainable tourism.”

According to the UNWTO, the number of international tourists worldwide climbed in 2007 to 898 million arrivals, a 6 percent jump on the previous year’s totals. Every major region experienced an above-average increase.

Frangialli to finally step down as UN tourism chief



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