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Costa Rica Minister of Tourism Giant Step for a New UNWTO Election and World Tourism in General

Hon. Gustavo Segura Sancho, Minister of Tourism Costa Rica

The Hon. Gustav Segura Costa Sancho, minister of Tourism for Costa Rica, is in the center of world tourism today. He is taking a giant step for the future of world tourism in demanding a secret vote for the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly confirmation hearing to confirm or reject Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili for a 2022-2025 term.

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  • The Hon. Minister of Tourism for Costa Rica, Gustavo Segura Sancho, today officially informed UNWTO Secretary General, the Hon. Zurab Pololikashvili, about Costa Rica requesting a secret ballot for the election of the Secretary General at the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly in Madrid.
  • Costa Rica became the first country officially making it impossible to have the reconfirmation for the second term for the Secretary General decided by acclamation.
  • This is a giant step forward for the world in a fight for a fair election to this post that started in 2017 with the original appointment by Secreteray Zurab Pololikashvili.

In an open letter signed by two previous UNWTO Secretary Generals and other senior former UNWTO officers, and circulated by the World Tourism Network Advocacy Committee on Monday, it was urgently suggested that in accordance with article 43 of the UNWTO Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, to request a secret vote on this agenda item, and if the vote so determines, mandate the Executive Council to launch a new and proper election process.

Exactly this happened today with Costa Rica taking a sudden lead in this movement.

Now countries attending the UNWTO General Assembly in Madrid from November 28 – December 3 can cast an honest vote without fear. If 2/3 of the votes confirm the recommendation by the Executive Council to re-appoint Zurab Pololikashvili, he will be re-appointed. If Zurab doesn’t get 2/3 of the votes, there will be a new election with new candidates to lead UNWTO for the 2022-2025 time frame.

In 2019, contribution in Costa Rica for travel and tourism was 13.5% of the GDP, making travel and tourism an important factor. Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. Costa Rica is about the size of Denmark.

This is the letter submitted today by Costa Rica to UNWTO Secretariat Madrid:

Costa RIca Formally demands a secret ballot vote at UNWTO General Assembly 2021

San Jose, November 15, 2021


Honorable Sir

Zurab Pololikashvili


World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)


Dear Secretary-General:

Convening our cordial greetings, a take the opportunity to refer to Point 9 de la agenda of the next General Assembly of the Organization called “Election of the Secretary-General for the period 2022-2025 from the recommendation of the Executive Council”.

In this regard, attached to our conviction that in this process it must prevail the rigor of the rules enforce of the Organization, especially in such a transcendental point for UNWTO, we formally request:

That the designation of the Secretary-General for the period 2022-2025 be done by secret ballot of all present and effective members as stated in the norms enforce that rule that relation between States/UNWTO.

This petition is based on Article 43 of the rules of the General Assembly that state:

“Article 43. All elections, as well as the appointment of the Secretary-General, shall be made by secret ballot”.

We request the UNWTO General Secretariat to take all physical and technical provisions necessary so that we may comply in conformity with the current rules for the election by way of the secret ballot for the next Secretary-General of the UNWTO.

Yours truly,

Gustavo Segura Sancho

Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica

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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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