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Tourism Minister Alain St.Ange to personally head Seychelles delegation to the UNWTO General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia

Tourism Minister Alain St.Ange to personally head Seychelles delegation to the UNWTO General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia ( Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture, will be personally heading the Seychelles delegation to the 21st session of the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organization) General Assembly meeting in Medellin, Colombia from September 12-17, 2015.

Minister St.Ange will be accompanied by Anne Lafortune, his PS for Tourism, and Sinha Levkovic, the Head of the Inspectorates at the Ministry of Tourism, who have been instrumental in the implementation of the island's Sustainable Tourism Label, for Seychelles tourism continues to be a major contributor to the economic recovery of the islands and has become the pillar of the Seychelles economy. Tourism, as was stated by the UNWTO, generates foreign earnings, employment, and investment.

The event in Colombia is expected to gather over 800 delegates from UNWTO Member States, the private sector, and academia. For Seychelles, the importance of tourism confirmed the island's participation at the coming UNWTO General Assembly. “We work locally and also globally. Tourism is and will remain marketing for Seychelles as that ensures we remain not only visible, but also relevant. We have progressed as a small island state where today our people feel part and parcel of the industry that is the pillar of their economy. This inclusive approach ensures that we do not have a ‘them and us’ situation with the Seychellois being but bystanders instead of being involved directly in their industry. Today, we are proud that our people are at the center of our development and our culture placed at the base of our tourism development. Our tourism development today sees our profit as being our people. As a country, we know that there is no substitute for being present. Our presence as a country at the UNWTO General Assembly allows us as tourism leaders to glean new information about personalities and relationships that one may never have received second hand. We will also be able, when in Colombia, to share strategic context with other Member States. It is a known fact that a country has reached maturity when it starts exporting its knowledge and experience," said Minister Alain St.Ange.

Mr. Taleb Rifai, the UNWTO Secretary General, said in a communique about the coming General Assembly, “I trust that Colombia and Medellin will provide us a unique platform to share our insights on the important transformations shaping the tourism sector, step up response to our most pressing challenges, and leverage the immense potential of tourism to be a true instrument for positive change in the world.”

UNWTO said that this year´s General Assembly also coincides with a defining moment for the international community as it prepares to embrace the universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the post-2015 blueprint for sustainable development. Minister Alain St.Ange of the Seychelles said that he is expecting to address the plenary session of the General Assembly. The Seychelles Minister is an elected member sitting on the Executive Board of the UNWTO.

Among the highlights of the assembly according to the UNWTO is the joint UNWTO/ICAO high-level forum on Tourism and Air Transport for Development. The forum will focus on how closer cooperation between aviation and tourism can maximize the impact of both sectors on employment, inclusive growth, and sustainable development, in the context of the post-2105 development agenda and the coming Climate Summit next December. The forum, with the participation of all delegates attending, will be moderated by the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Taleb Rifai, and the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Fang Liu, and will count on the participation of Richard Quest, anchor of CNN’s Quest Means Business.

Ministers of Tourism from Africa are also expected to meet in Colombia for their CAF Ministers Meeting.

UNWTO has said that other special events during the General Assembly include topics such as tourism as a tool for peace and social inclusion, financing for development, talent management, gastronomic tourism, and shopping tourism.

The General Assembly is UNWTO’s main statutory meeting and the most important international gathering of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives of the private sector. The General Assembly is held every two years.


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