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UNWTO Response to Kenya: Who can stop this Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili ?

Travel & Tourism deals declined by 17.4% in August 2021

A letter is in the making at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid.
This letter is exepected to say NO to Kenya’s offer to host the General Assembly.
A now would be a blow against tourism, controversial and selfish.
Can anyone stop the production of this letter?

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  • After UNWTO informed member countries that Morocco could not be the venue for the upcoming General Assembly, Kenya at the same day offered to host the event instead.
  • Contacted by MoroccoLatestNews FR, Zoubir Bouhoute, tourism expert and director of the Provincial Tourism Council (CPT) of Ouarzazate, regrets these decisions which represent a disaster for Moroccan tourism which is trying somehow to heal the wounds caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Kenya was the second in line when Morocco, Philippines and Morocco offered to host the General Assembly at the last GA in St. Petersburg two years ago. Now it’s Kenya’s turn?

It’s not a secret, that moving the event from Morocco back to Madrid is great achievement for a desperate UNWTO Secretary-General.

In January a skeleton Executive Council came together in Madrid in the midst of a record Corona outbreak, a curfew, and a weather emergency. It was all bout to recommend Zurab Pololikashvili for a second term as SG. Even Zurab’s prime minister of Georgia came and invited all voting delegates to a dinner a night before the election, leaving the only candidate campaigning against Zurab in the dark.

5 additional candidates had issues with bureaucratic formalities detected by the UNWTO Secretariat, unable to resubmit paperwork and campaign against Zurab due to a shortened time frame put in place surprising everybody.

Having the General Assembly in the same city would raise the question of even more serious manipulation in the Secretary-General election process. The General Assembly has to vote on the recommendation by the Executive Council and confirm.

In the meantime, Zurab Pololikashvili played a double role in a recent situation involving Saudi Arabia. This resulted in a controversy between Spain and Saudi Arabia about hosting the UN Affiliated agency headquarters. The UN Secretary-General got involved.

eTurboNews was just informed by a reliable source within UNWTO in Madrid:

A letter is being drafted by the UNWTO Secretariat to the Kenya Minister today, responding to the minister’s offer to host the General Assembly in Kenya.

The letter is expected to thank Minister Najib Balala for his gracious offer to host the General Assembly.

The letter will be a NO due to timing policy, referring to a 40-day time limit, even though Minister Balala responded to UNWTO within 24 hours.

Within 24 hours of Kenya sending a request to UNWTO Madrid on Sunday, the world was already rallying behind Kenya. It was the number one discussion among leaders in the African Tourism Board on Sunday.

Considering the situation how Zurab is accused of election fraud, undermining member countries with the HQ move, it would be in his best interest to not cause another situation where member countries could clearly see the UNWTO is all about his election, and not about getting tourism back on track.

When asked, Gloria Guevara, the former WTTC CEO and current advisor to the Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia told eTurboNews: ” I am trying to get involved now.”

Today may be a Tuesday power day for UNWTO, Kenya, and the World of Tourism.

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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.

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  • Zurab Pololikashvili is the new secretary-general of the United … vote to avoid “embarrassment” and to “respect the integrity”. More importantly, restrictions on travel also prevent tourism from delivering on its potential to build a better future for all.