Published on : Wednesday, December 20, 2017
The secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization or UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, will step down from his office on December, emphasized the main role of tourism in aiding with sustainable development.
“I think the most important thing that happened in the last 10 years is the recognition of tourism as an important and vital sector,” Rifai said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
“Ten years ago if you had asked any public official or the public about tourism, nobody linked that to development to job creation, to economic growth, development, environmental or cultural preservation,” he added.
In the last ten years, overseas tourist numbers have increased to the billion mark, showing a 7-percent growth this year, taking the figure if international travelers to almost 1.3 billion.
This year has been declared as the Year of International Tourism for Development that which Rifai described as “the best thing that ever happened to me, because the U.N. and the international community recognize that tourism is a development tool and a development sector.”
Rifai has long highlighted the positive side of tourism, fighting that it has the power to help lead to better education as the sector requires more and more qualified and trained professional in developing nations, which can also help empower women in return.
Tourists from varied cultures will meet and share the experiences of each other’s cultures, that can assist in promoting understanding between people and establish peace, Rifai explained.