Tourism is a key component for sustainable development says President of the Dominican Republic at UNWTO visit


MADRID, Spain – The President of the Dominican Republic, HE Leonel Fernández, visited the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) headquarters where he expressed his firm belief in the social and economic contribution of tourism to sustainable development. This is the first visit of a president of the Dominican Republic to the organization.

Addressing diplomats and special guests, President Fernández underscored tourism as “a key component for sustainable development and a driver for growth” and committed himself to the UNWTO Roadmap for Recovery as a reference for tourism development in the Dominican Republic.

President Fernández also commended the work of UNWTO in promoting tourism’s role in economic development and peace building, underlining the importance for his country of “counting upon the collaboration of such a prestigious Organization as the UNWTO.”

Welcoming the president, UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai, congratulated the progress made by the Dominican Republic as a leading tourism destination and the way it has maximized the positive contribution of tourism for its entire population.

“Your country, Mr. President, is a living example of how tourism, when given the necessary political recognition, can drive economic growth and development,” said Mr. Rifai. “UNWTO is proud to count on the Dominican Republic as an active member, which clearly identifies the positive values of our industry and puts them at the service of social progress, both nationally and beyond its own borders.”

The Dominican Republic was one of the founding members of UNWTO in 1975 and has played a prominent role in the organization over the years. The country is a leading destination in the Caribbean with over 4 million tourist arrivals each year, generating more than US$4 billion in export revenues. Despite the extremely challenging economic conditions of 2009, the Dominican Republic reported positive results in international tourist arrivals for the year.

Read the full speech of the UNWTO secretary-general:

UNWTO Roadmap for Recovery: