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Taleb Rifai thanks Carlos Vogeler for urging leadership changes at UNWTO


WTN Decency for the UNWTO Campaign continues with only 24 out of 35 member states responding. It appears the world of tourism is overwhelmed. This is the opportunity for SG Zurab Pololikashvili to manuipulate the process.

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Today Dr. Taleb Rifai told eTurboNews, he was endorsing Carlos Vogeler in all 21 reasons outlined by the former UNWTO Executive Director to replace current UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

Dr. Taleb Rifai served as the UNWTO Secretary-General for two terms.
Louis D’ Amore, the founder, and president of the International Institute for Peace through tourism congratulated Mr. Vogeler for his excellent evaluation.

It started with an open letter signed on December 11, 2020 by Dr. Taleb Rifai and the former Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli demanding the upcoming meeting of the Executive Council of UNWTO on January 18, 2021 must be postponed.

Planning a meeting in Madrid where physical presence by the 35 tourism ministers representing Executive Council countries is the only option is unfair and self – serving by Zurab. It was obviously designed by the current SG to ensure he will win the 2022 election conducted almost a year earlier in just 2 weeks during lockdowns because of COVID-19

The World Tourism Network called for Decency in the UNWTO Election and had been trying to get the attention of Tourism Ministers of the 35 executive council countries.

The petition was circulated before Christmas by email, fax and in some cases by courier. It was also sent to all Washington DC-based embassies, since World Tourism Network is based in the United States.

24 ministers did not respond to emails, faxes, and phone calls. The United Nations in New York is not providing a valid email or fax number for the Secretary-General. The building is closed due to COVID-19.

35 UNWTO members are entrusted by the 159 UNWTO member states to represent them as Executive Council members. 35 countries are entrusted to vote for a Secretary-General.

For the second time this election process is full of controversy, corruption and irregularities.

24 out of 35 members did not respond or acknowledge receiving the WTN Decency at UNWTO petition. When tourism is brought to its knees it’s surprising that even major countries like France, Greece, India, or Spain are ignoring this type of communication. Accountability at government agencies seems to be low or not regulated.

The following UNWTO Executive Council members had been silence so far:

  1. Algeria
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Brazil
  4. Cabo Verde
  5. Chile
  6. China
  7. Congo
  8. Côte d’Ivoire
  9. France
  10. Greece
  11. Guatemala
  12. Honduras
  13. India
  14. Iran
  15. Italy
  16. Lithuania
  17. Namibia
  18. Portugal
  19. Senegal
  20. Spain
  21. Sudan
  22. Thailand
  23. Tunisia
  24. Turkey

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.