John Aamaratunga, The Vice Chair of UNWTO General Assembly

Updated: 09:56 GMT, Sep 14, 2017 | Published: 09:55 GMT, Sep 14, 2017 |
John Amarathunga

Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga was elected a Vice Chair of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly by the Committee on South Asia.

The appointment came in the light of Sri Lanka’s ambitious plan of becoming a global tourism hub within the next three years.

Apart from Amaratunga, five other Vice Chairs were also elected to the apex tourism body representing other regions of the world.

Amaratunga, on the sidelines of the biannual summit, also held discussions with Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

More than 1300 delegates from over 130 countries attended the opening of the 22nd session of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly.

During the summit, the priorities of the Organization for 2018-2019, the transformation of the UNWTO Code of Ethics for Tourism into an International Convention and the impact of technology on tourism will centre the discussions.

On the agenda of the Assembly is also the election of the Secretary General for the next four years. “China is an inspiration to others in terms of its supportive tourism policies and in placing tourism at the centre of its poverty alleviation and national development strategies,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai at the opening of the 22nd session of the General Assembly.

“Besides being the fourth most-visited country in the world, with 59 million international arrivals in 2016, China is also the largest domestic tourism market, with 4.4 billion trips made within its borders,” he added.

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