The center of the World Tourism today is at the Melia Castilla Hotel in Madrid.
World Tourism is divided today at the UNWTO Executive Council meeting in Madrid.
Tourism is divided today because tomorrow a new Secretary General will be elected by the UNWTO Executive Council. There are 5 candidates competing for the highest post in travel and tourism.
The 5 candidates are from Brazil, Colombia, Georgia, South Korea and Zimbabwe.
The 6th candidate, who was disqualified by his own country two days ago, the former Seychelles Minister of Tourism Alain St.Ange, has been seen in a heated discussion this morning with African Union leaders. He had claimed the African Union blackmailed his country to push him out of the race. The Seychelles parliament withdrew St.Ange nomination. St.Ange is a member of the opposition party. The word is out he may be considering a last-minute legal intervention.
The African Union this year has a central role trying to present a united African vote to the world. There has never been a secretary general from Africa, and the Hon. Walter Mzembi from Zimbabwe has shown to the world he is well prepared and qualified to lead the world’s tourism.
Insiders say he would do a great job, with some saying he has been running a highly successful campaign against all odds. Others are saying he is a great leader and minister, but if he was judged by his country’s political image, it could hurt him. Minster Mzembi managed to continue with his path traveling the world for over a year, bringing his leadership, vision, and assurance to the world of tourism.
Today Mzembi continued to focus on issues relevant to the future of world’s tourism. He stayed out of any discussion around the former second candidate from Africa, Alain St. Ange.
Considered another strong frontrunner is the South Korean candidate. Ambassador Young Shim Dho is the only candidate joining with a running mate Carlos Vogeler. Combining the energy both bring to world tourism, it includes decades of UN experience, decades of successful diplomatic maneuvering, solid financial resources, fresh ideas and at the same time it would be expected from the Dho/Vogeler team to maintain current values with a different and fresh approach.
The third frontrunner has been seen as the diplomatic guy who works on his campaign quietly. He is Marcio Favilla from Brazil who told eTN, he was staying out of big campaigning and his campaign manager is his wife, his financial resource is his own money.
He is seen as a committed tourism leader, having served in Brazil as deputy minister of tourism and then as an executive director at UNWTO.
He told eTN today: “The important part for me is, that there is a day after tomorrow, and all of us must be united the day after tomorrow. That’s why I never talked about any other candidate.”
He continued to say “I did not cut any deal with countries to vote for me. I want to be judged on issues and on what I can bring to the table. I am very optimistic.”
In fact three candidates told eTN today they are highly optimistic. Besides Favilla also Mzembi, and Dho have high expectation to leave Madrid tomorrow as the new UNWTO Secretary General elect.
There is also Ambassador Jaime Alberto Cabal from Colombia who has been quiet.
There is Georgian Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili who eTN publisher Juergen Steinmetz accused of conspiring with his prime minister to earn votes through bilateral deals unrelated to issues and qualifications, or even tourism. Zurab was seen in the lobby of the Melia hotel shaking hands with delegation leaders.
Tonight candidates are invited to see a private collection of the Prado Museum. This will be followed by a cocktail hosted by Spain. It will give an opportunity to network a very last time before tomorrow’s election.