Seychelles was represented at the 108th session of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in San Sebastian, Spain.
The Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, Didier Dogley, was accompanied by the Principal Secretary for Tourism, Anne Lafortune, at the meeting held from May 23 to 25, 2018.
Over 45 member countries of the UNWTO, as well as associate and affiliate members of the organisation were represented.
During the meeting, the UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili, presented his report, in which he addressed the current situation of tourism globally and the outlook for 2018.
Mr. Pololikashvili also presented his vision and priorities for the organisation’s secretariat to the council members.
He noted that the UNWTO will focus on five priority areas for the period 2018-2019: innovation and the digital transformation; investments and entrepreneurship; education and employment; safe, secure and seamless travel; and social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
Seychelles participated actively in thematic discussions on tourism. During his intervention at the meeting, Minister Didier Dogley highlighted the Seychelles experience in embracing digitalisation in the tourism industry and its ability to facilitate the collection and access to information required for online booking, personalised service, advertising and service delivery in tourism.
He also cautioned on the misuse of digital technologies, which may have adverse effects on the promotion of a destination or product.
Minister Dogley also took the opportunity to meet with the UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, on the sidelines of the Executive Council meeting.
Their discussions focused on issues pertinent to the Seychelles context, such as the policy on vertical integration, control of illegal establishment in particular those advertised through online booking sites, the possible organisation of a UNWTO event in Seychelles on SIDS tourism issues, and the development of a tourism satellite account for Seychelles.
The Seychelles’ delegation also met with the tourism ministers of Zambia, Cabo Verde, Romania, Namibia and India.
UNWTO’s Executive Council represents the organisation’s governing body responsible for ensuring the organisation’s compliance with its programme of works.
The council composed of 33 members elected by the General Assembly in a ratio of 1 for every five full members, meets at least twice a year. Representatives of the associate members and affiliate members participate in executive meetings as observers.
Seychelles has been a member of the Executive Council since 2014 and its term will end in 2019.
The 109th session of the UNWTO Executive Council will take place in Bahrain.