Bangladesh set to host first ever UNWTO meeting

DHAKA, May 15, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh is set to host for the first time the United Nation's World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) meeting, a two-day global annual event meant to fix global policies to ensure sustainable tourism.

"We are set to hold the 29th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the UNWTO Commission for South Asia (CAP-CSA) from tomorrow," Bangladesh Tourism Board CEO Dr Md Nasir Uddin told BSS today.

He added: The event will be a landmark for the country's tourism industry as it is the first ever event of the world's highest tourism organisation in our land."

The event will take place in the southeastern port city of Chittagong on May 16 and 17 coinciding with a UN General Assembly declaration dubbing 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

Officials familiar with the process said the selection of Bangladesh as the host of the event was a global recognition of tourism potential of this delta having the world's longest sea beach and largest mangrove forest.

A high level UNWTO delegation lead by its Secretary General Taleb Rifai will attend the 29th CAP-CSA Joint Meeting, the UNWTO's principal annual event in the Asia-Pacific region, to be held at Radisson Blu Hotel in Chittagong city.

Referring to Taleb Rifai's last year visit in Dhaka to attend the conference on Buddhist Tourism Circuit, Dr Nasir said "we are welcoming the UNWTO secretary general second time in Bangladesh in two consecutive years that is also proved that we have able to draw global attention with our tourism potential," he said.

During the meeting, international tourism experts and different stakeholders from 35 countries of East and South Asia and Pacific region will discuss on sustainable tourism, tourism ethics protection of tourists and rights and obligations of tourism service providers.

The topic of sustainable tourism will be highlighted during the joint commission meeting as the UN General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On May 15, one day ahead of the main event, the BTB will also organise a daylong discussion titled "UNWTO Regional Forum on Crisis Communication" at the same venue. "This discussion is very important and time befitting as the entire global tourism industry is facing challenge due to terrorism acts," BTB CEO said.

He said Bangladesh has already showed its capability in organising mega international tourism events in last two years including Buddhist Tourism Circuit and PATA New Tourism Frontier Forum last year. "This UNWTO event is the continuation of our efforts in organizing mega tourism event," he said.

Dr Nasir said the UNWTO event will also help to flourish MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events) tourism in Bangladesh. "Cox's Bazar can be chosen as a lucrative destination for MICA tourism as we already have numbers of high-end hotels and more are under construction there," he said.

Presently, Bangladesh is the vice chair of UNWTO Regional Commission for South Asia (CSA).

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)