Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Mexico and Dominican Republic performed by Zurab Pololikashvili

The WTTC Global Summit is set to bring together key travel industry leaders from April 25-27 in Cancún. This event now has a competition in the Dominican Republic thanks to hostile action by an enemy Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Is this the end of much-needed collaboration between the private and public sectors in travel and tourism?

  1. Travel and tourism are imminent. Millions of jobs are at stake and the Secretary General of the UNWTO declares war on the WTTC.
  2. The much needed cooperation to get tourism going again becomes a conflict caused by one person. The Secretary General of the UNWTO has put Mexico and the Dominican Republic in a crossfire.
  3. Where is tourism going with the UN agency responsible for destroying a much-needed conversation with leaders in the private and public sectors?

“Zurab isn’t stupid as the world thought … he’s mean … a bad person.”
These are the words of Jürgen Steinmetz, founder of the World Tourism Network and editor of eTurboNews. Boycotting the work that WTTC does is like a slap in the face for the largest travel and tourism companies, the members of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Gloria Guevara, CEO of WTTC, said: “Our members are angry. The UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili is now trying to boycott our event. I am both sad and angry. This is the time when the sector needs leaders to cooperate rather than boycott. “

Global Guevara has fought like no other to hold the global travel and tourism industry together and function. She was there for her members from the moment the pandemic broke out.

“Gloria and I didn’t always agree on how to fight this crisis, but we respect each other,” said Jürgen. “Any decent person can understand that progress can only be made when everyone works together. The Secretary General of the UNWTO, calling on key leaders to attend a UNWTO event put together at the last minute on the exact same day as the WTTC Summit, insults not only the WTTC but also those who try to to save this industry and the United Nations system as a whole. The Dominican Republic is co-organizing one such event, where many of the WTTC member companies do business. Tourism is a large part of the Dominican Republic’s GDP, and it should be in the interest of the DR government to respect anyone who works towards the common goal of getting this vital industry going again. “

Gloria Guevara from Mexico is the CEO of the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), an organization with more than 200 members made up of the largest companies in the global world of travel and tourism. Many say WTTC represents the private sector in tourism. The world tourism organization UNWTO is an agency affiliated with the United Nations and aims to represent the public sector. Zurab Pololikashvili (44) from the Republic of Georgia is the current UNWTO Secretary General.

Until the end of 2017, UNWTO and WTTC acted like Siamese twins in the global world of travel and tourism. This happened under the direction of Dr. Taleb Rifai from Jordan as the former UNWTO Secretary General before Pololikashvili took over the management of this agency.

Dr. Taleb Rifai and David Scowsill

The World Travel & Tourism Council is recognized as the global authority on the economic and social contributions of Travel & Tourism. Before the change in the UNWTO leadership, the former CEO of WTTC, David Scowsill, and Dr. Taleb Rifai worked hand in hand to develop this important global industry.

All of that changed on January 1, 2018 when Zurab took over. The UNWTO became a closed organization run by a man who used threats and favors to secure his personal position.

Favoriteism in exchange for votes was the priority even as the world was going through the most devastating crisis of all time – COVID-19. Since January 2018, there has not been a single press conference that non-compliant media were allowed to attend or ask questions. The UNWTO began to see WTTC as a competitor rather than a partner. Former Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai was no longer invited to attend important events such as the UNWTO General Assembly. Gloria Guevara was not allowed to speak at such events and sat in the back row.

The world has stopped looking at the UNWTO, but who else to turn to in the public sector:? Zurab has boycotted events like the World Travel Market, IATA, ICAO events and many more. At the same time, UNWTO staff have secretly voiced their frustration but are unwilling to make any public statements as they are worried about their jobs if they say something the Secretary General does not like.

In January, Zurab made it impossible for another candidate to get a fair shock in the general secretary election and assured that he would keep that prestigious title for another 4 years. In January he disregarded the Kingdom of Bahrain in order to find his personal path.

A UNWTO insider told eTurboNews: “He is very divisive and always boycotts events and initiatives that are not his.”

Gloria Guevara has been trying to bring together the most important event for the private and public sectors since the pandemic began. Next month of the WTTC Summit is set to get the world’s leading tourism companies to meet at the upcoming global summit in Cancun. Despite all the adversities and despite new COVID-19 record data in Mexico as well as a third coronavirus wave in Europe, Brazil and Africa, WTTC is determined to make the Global Summit 2021 a breakthrough in order to move towards the future of Travel & Tourism for the best bring possible trace.

The highly anticipated 20th WTTC World Summit was organized in collaboration with the Quintana Roo government and will take place in Cancun, Mexico, April 25-27, 2021. Nothing has been spared to make this event physically or virtually safe and effective for visitors.

A government official from Mexico told an eTurboNews source that the country was angry with the UNWTO and the Dominican Republic for sabotaging this highly anticipated event in Cancun.

Here’s how this whole fiasco started.

As a sign of confidence in Dominican tourism, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili went on vacation to the Dominican Republic with his family last month.

To turn his vacation into an all-encompassing and most likely paid work mission, he took the opportunity to visit DR President Luis Abinader on his last day of rest. He told Tourism Minister David Collado that the Dominican Republic was a safe place to visit. The Dominican Republic is an example in the world of how tourism in the time of COVID-19, which manages to attract international customers, can be managed with responsible protocols for tourists with health security.

UNWTO and WTTC using the Government of the Dominican RepublicThe Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, David Collado, and the UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili

The Dominican Republic Department of Tourism most likely sent a letter to tourism ministers and industry leaders in America, including the United States, yesterday to benefit from an agreed-upon favor from the Secretary-General.

The letter reads:

I am pleased to send an invitation from the Secretary General of the UNWTO, HE Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, HE David Collado, to attend the meeting of American tourism ministers from April 26th to 28th, 2021 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Republic.

Best regards,

Esther Ruiz
Regional division for America
[email protected]

Today, a government official in the Dominican Republic defended the invitation on the grounds that they had rescheduled their meeting, which was arranged during Zurab’s family vacation. It was Zurab Pololikashvili who moved last week to change the dates of the meeting to the dates of the WTTC summit.

Now you can see who is at UNWTO and who is at WTTC. It is a bitter decision to know that tourism is one of the hardest hit sectors in this world crisis. Tourism guides may no longer be all together.

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