Three candidates stand as favourites for UNWTO Secretary-General election


The seventh candidates, from top to bottom and from left to right: Marcio Favila, Zurab Pololikashvili, Walter Mzembi, Vahan Martirosyan, Alain St. Ange, Dho Young-shim and Jaime Alberto Cabal.


The Diplomat. 17/03/2017


Seven candidates, with the support of their respective governments, are competing to succeed Taleb Rifai as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization. Another seven candidates were not admitted for not meeting all the requirements, according to a statement made by the UNWTO.


Of the seven candidates admitted, three stand out having received the support of several countries, according to information provided to The Diplomat by diplomatic sources: they are those of Georgia, Brazil and Zimbabwe.


The UNWTO is about to open a new stage in which, as Taleb Rifai declared, “in order for the sector to keep growing in a sustainable way and to make more profit for the society, it is essential to operate in a responsible way and within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals”.


The current Secretary-General celebrates, in 2017, his eighth anniversary leading the UNWTO. This is a period in which the organization has experienced a strong growth, while Tourism has become one of the world’s biggest industries. Rifai highlighted this fact in December during the presentation of the first candidacy, that of Georgia’s Ambassador to Spain and permanent representative of his country before the UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili (40), which was also attended by the Foreign Ministry of the Georgian Government, Mikheil Janelidze, as previously revealed by The Diplomat.


The next ones to register their candidatures were the former Minister of Tourism of Seychelles, Alain St. Ange (62), and the Korean Ambassador and president of the Foundation for the Elimination of Poverty of the UNWTO, Dho Young-shim (64). In March, the list of candidates was completed with Walter Mzembi (53), Minister of Tourism of Zimbabwe; Marcio Favilla (59), Brazil’s candidate and Executive Director of the UNWTO; Jaime Alberto Cabal (54), Colombia‘s Ambassador to Austria; and the Minister of Transport of Armenia, Vahan Martirosyan (54).


The deadline for candidates to submit their applications was 11 March. Now they are starting an election campaign that will finish with the election, on 12 May, by the Executive Council of this organization, of the candidate recommended for ratification by the General Assembly, which will take place in Chengdu (China) in autumn.



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