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Kenya is ready as the new venue for the UNWTO General Assembly 2021

Kenya is setting a new trend and leadership in global tourism recovering from COVID.

The Hon. Najib Balala didn’t waste a minute when inviting the World of Tourism to hold the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly in Kenya.
It’s now up to UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili to say yes without delay.

  • UNWTO waited until Saturday to inform members. The upcoming General Assembly was moved from Morocco to Spain.
  • On Sunday The Hon. Najib Balala, Secretary of Tourism for Kenya invited the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and its members to hold its upcoming General Assembly in Kenya.
  • Morocco was the orginal venue and just cancelled last week due to COVID concerns.

Kenya always has been a tourism leader in Africa, and beyond when it comes to setting the tone and trends for the continent and beyond.

On Saturday the Hon. Najib Balala, Secretary of Tourism for this East African Country was notified by UNWTO about the long-awaited UNWTO General Assembly was canceled in Morocco due to COVID safety concerns and moved to Spain, the headquarters of the organization.

When the UNWTO Sekretariat came out with this weekend surprise, WhatsApp became a busy platform for tourism ministers and tourism leaders to interact.

A lobby of supporters was put together on a fly. It took no convincing for Najib Balala, the long-serving secretary of tourism for Kenya to take ownership of this problem.


When Morocco was selected as a venue for the UNWTO General Assembly in St. Petersburg, Russia it competed with Kenya and the Philippines.

World Tourism Hero Najib Balala is ready to welcome delegates of the 24th World Tourism Organization General Assembly to Kenya from November 30 to December 3, 2021

On Sunday late night, a sleepless Minister Balala told eTurboNews: “I just wrote the letter inviting UNWTO to hold the 24th General Assembly here in Magical Kenya.”

The minute this made the rounds, this move was appreciated around the world.

Cuthbert Ncube, chairman of the African Tourism Board commented on this development, the second he touched down in Johannesburg on an Ethiopian Airlines flight after his recent trip to Ethiopia.

“The African Tourism Board fully supports this move full-hearted.
The Hon. Najib Balala is a good friend of ATB and an undisputed tourism leader in Africa and beyond. I like to congratulate Mr. Balala for his vision and urge the Hon. UNWTO Secretary Zurab Pololikashvili to support this generous request, so Kenya, the rest of Africa, and the world can work together to make the 24th session of the UNWTO General Assembly the best assemblies ever. It certainly has enormous importance for the future of tourism. We all need leadership and agree on how to get out of this crisis and recover the sector.”

The World Tourism Network representing tourism entities in over 128 nations strongly supports Kenya’s hosting of the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization’s General Assembly.

Dr. Peter Tarlow, as president of the World Tourism Network, noted the importance of interfacing tourism and pan-globalism and stated that Kenya’s hosting of such a major general assembly indicates a new and productive phase of worldwide tourism.

As an international organization, it is essential that tourism assemblies be held throughout the world and such a hosting will highlight the African Continent, specifically East Africa, and provide additional impetus for economic development through tourism across Africa.

The World Tourism Network strongly supports the idea that nations around the world should have equal opportunities to host major conferences. This worldwide approach translates the United Nation’s ideas into working realities.

When Morocco made the decision on October 15 to cancel the event, the UNWTO correctly informed members within 3 days on October 18 about the General Assembly would take place in Madrid, the UNWTO headquarters.

With Kenya’s generous offer, it would honor the effort Morocco put into this event and allow for the General Assembly to stay in Africa as intended.

It should be noted, that the Executive Council set the tone for the GA last meeting was in Madrid. The venue for these two events had never been in the same city before.

The public is now watching the UNWTO leadership approve Kenya’s request without delay.

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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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