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Tourism Leaders United: UNWTO Secretary-General be decent

UNWTO chief: The time has come to re-start tourism!
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili

WTN for Decency in the UNWTO Election has received hundreds of responses from travel and tourism leaders that care. They are from almost 100 countries and from all levels of the industry.

UNWTO remains silent and is not responding to emails, phone calls, or social media messages.

One response praised the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili as a smart man, but the rest is demanding a postponement of the UNWTO Executive Committee supposed to meet in January to elect a secretary-general.

Expecting tourism ministers from the 35 countries of the executive council to travel to Madrid is unrealistic, and the early election meeting will assure an unfair election.

Expecting tourism ministers from the 35 countries of the executive council to travel to Madrid is unrealistic, and the early election meeting will assure an unfair election.

A few ministers told eTurboNews, they agree, but would only speak off the record. Other ministers told eTurboNews they already had an agreement with the secretary-general for some time, and before any other candidate got into the race. Ironically Zurab Pololikashvili had been catering to countries belonging to the Executive Council almost exclusively during his time in office, creating a pledge of loyalty.

Here is a random list of comments added to the petition, demanding a postponement of the UNWTO election.

Read all the details, the why and how on

Mr. Secretary – General: Stop!

In these unprecedented times where most key events had to be postponed due to the pandemic, we believe it is prudent for the Executive to earnestly  postpone  the election process to allow a more transparent and dignified process and preserve the dignity of this esteemed institution.

I support that we should have decency, transparency and above all inclusion in the elections. I think by now there should be level playing grounds where many candidates will come in board, but having two is not enough for transparency.

Fully support the recommendations of the former UNWTO Secretaries-General

This petition makes a lot of sense and natural justice MYST prevail.

I wish to strongly support the Petition

Please rebuild travel with fairness and be a shining example to the world for resilience and sustainability.

As a former member of the World Committee for Tourism Ethics I feel it very important that these elections and in fact any elections are executed fairly, openly, with transparency  and without prejudice.

Democratic procedures are essential for the credibility of a UN Organization

We support this petition

Je suis parfaitement d’accord et soutiens cette petition pour l’égalité des changes et la transparence pour une bonne organisation démocratique de l’élection du prochain secretaire général de l’OMT

I agree to add my name to the petition

The integrity of the apex body repenting the vast interests of the Tourism sector globally should reflect the wishes of the people it represents.

I agree with the motion.


It would be nice for elections be done face to face, virtual has so many technical challenges!!

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) should be consolidated for overall development of international tourism . In this context , the decision to hold upcoming election of Secretary General shold be taken unanimously . We support the petition presented to UN SG  Antonio Guterres , UNWTO SG Zurab Pololikashvili and members of the World Tourism Organization .

Smart man

It is prudent for the postponement of the set date for the process, as most of the major events Globally have to be postponed due to the pandemic. We plead with the Secretariat for the sake of a fare and transparent process and the restoration of the dignity of the Organization to heed the call and do the right thing.

I support the initiative fully.

The reasons advanced towards rescheduling make sense in terms of  transparency and good governance

I agree

well done for taking action

“I  fully  endorse  the stand  taken  by the two former  Secretaries  General.

“Following UNWTO from the beginning and being a friend with Francesco, Taleb and Geoffrey for a long time as Chief Editor for Travel and Tourism programs on Slovene National Radio and TV I was very unhappy about functioning of last SG of UNWTO. So. I am strictly against his manipulations about elections of new SG of UNWTO, too. “

“I  fully  endorse  the  stand  taken by the former  2  Secretaries-General

Greetings to WTN . My support is always with you people .  For the development of WTN i am always ready .I support this initiative.

“In order to comply with current challenges that the industry is facing and a shift of focus to resolutions that are very necessary at this time, it seems reasonable to postpone the elections.

I agree with this petition to  make working of UNWTO more transparent and fair.

I agree👍

In support of the petition

WTN has to create a promote New Rules for Sustainable Tourism because it is visible that the current is not workable during the pandemic crisis

I concur also because the person who currently occupies this position is currently and corruptly trying to steal reelection.

I pledge my full support.

I agree with this petition

I am confirming my agreement with this petition.

We need to promote tourism globally

“I agreed with above Letter of WTN.

“No eligible individual should be disenfranchised in UNWTO election.

Postponement is appropriate”

As a tourism journalist, I had a rare opportunity to follow the work and speak to both Dr.Taleb Rifai and Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili. Learning that the election of Secretary-General for 2022-2025 of UNWTO became a matter of one-man power was a huge surprise for me. Especially because he tries to exclude other opinions. This dangerous way of leadership couldn’t be tolerated and – even more – become a part of future in tourism. Strong tourism and its development means strong people in general, not strong fist of a single man!

It is important to maintain the integrity and transparency of the organisation – particularly at this crucial time in our history.

“I fully support the rational proposal to postpone the meeting till May of 2021 or to the date and venue of the General Assembly in Morocco  due in September of 2021.

This move would give enough transparency and a crystal clear unbiased and healthy advocacy to the integrity on a broad integral platform to World Travel Network.

I am supporting this petition

“We totally endorse the rationale and to reschedule the election process for Sec. Gen. UNWTO. Respectfully submitted. “

Decency is the core value of tourism, we in hospitality & tourism business survive with our respect for other and decency so it should be the core content and value of UNWTO

UNWTO  is  a  global  representative  engaged  in  doing  great  work  in  travel  sector.  Obviously  ,   elections  to  this  great  body  are  expected  to  be  transparent  in  keeping  with  aims  and  objectives  of  the  UN.  So  it  is  only  apt  to  urge   UNWTO  elections  accordingly. 

I support the petition. It is in order.

I support the call for “decency” in elections as tourism holds the position of strongest job creation opportunity of all sectors.

I have been serving, during my time at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Chairperson of UNWTO Asia and the Pacific Region for two consecutive years, and have been working closely with two former UNWTO’s Secretaries General, including my long time friend, Geoffry Lipman. Agree and Support!

I support the changes in dates as outlined in this letter.

I strongly recommend that the elections of the Secretary-General 2022-2025 be postponed, to be held concurrently with the General Assembly in Morocco (September/October).

“We need to have a transparent and vibrant UNWTO leadership, and unfortunately the current Secretary General has let down this industry for a long time and in different ways. Therefore I support that we  bring in new leadership which should be able to bring back the UNWTO good reputation.

I would like to highly recommend to postpone the Secretary General election.

Morocco sounds reasonable and realistic,

I support the intent of the members.

Yes, we are going through hard times, hopefully 2021 will be a better year for us all!


Would like to be   one of the participant in the coming election  on UN WTO secretary General 2021

Would like be one of the team to elect the UNWTO secretary General 2021

I strongly support the WTN for Decency in the UNWTO Elections as I look forward to see that Africa is well represented, also taking the matter of the right time for the UNWTO election  a sensitive issue at this time when the entire world is under the threat of COVID-19 Pandemic. I therefore support with seriousness this petition and the petitioners as to encourage fairness in the entire election process. This would bring positive changes to the Global Tourism with quick recovery from COVID-19 pandemic under strong leadership of the UNWTO.


Agree strongly with rational of outline in WTN submitted proposal, specifically the need for in person gathering as opposed to virtual assembly.