63rd Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe

Prague, Czech Republic
Minister Dostálová,
As Minister of Regional Development holding the portfolio of tourism, you are an example of someone who works to make tourism a policy priority.
And a tool for stronger cooperation and partnerships
I thank you for valuing and supporting our sector.
And I commend you for emphasizing sustainability in your national tourism policy 2014-2020.
UNWTO supports your efforts for tourism to increase competitiveness and grow the economy in a way that is sustainable across the board.
Honourable Ministers, Ambassadors and Heads of Delegation
Representatives of tourism and regional authorities
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you all for your presence today.
It is a pleasure to be here for my first Regional Commission meeting for Europe as UNWTO Secretary-General.
This is the second Commission meeting UNWTO has had in Prague and this city is a great host.
The priorities of my mandate have been formed by listening to the needs of our Member States.
Creating more and better tourism jobs, improving tourism education and fostering innovation are some of the areas that stand out.
These are crucial targets because the competitiveness of our sector, and of your economies, depends on how much we invest in delivering them.
We have the blueprint to achieve them: the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by the international community.
These priorities, along with security, make up UNWTO’s way forward.
Through listening to your needs, the specific needs of Europe, we can tailor these priorities to your countries.
Later today we have a strategic discussion on innovation and digitalization in tourism.
We believe innovation thrives in an environment that nurtures disruptive ideas and entrepreneurship.
We will create this between Member States and the private sector.
Together we will jointly develop flexible government policies, funds and strategic projects.
We hope to rely on the help of members and partners in Europe, where innovation is part of daily tourism operations.
Today we will also present the UNWTO Academy, our vision for developing skilled human capital.
As the tourism sector develops, its people need to develop with it.
More and better jobs can be created by improving skills, education and specialized training on the ground.
We look forward to your cooperation to deliver this vision.
Finally, we know that an ongoing priority for Europe is facing challenges of safety and sustainability related to managing large tourist numbers.
In some destinations citizens and communities feel like their interests are not heard.
We are here to listen to your suggestions as to how not only to grow more, but to grow better.
It’s about quality for people and communities.
We have seen that innovation can be a part of the solution.
Together we can set a vision that considers tourism as a policy priority, a knowledge creator and innovator, and a sector of maximum value for all.
This vision will only be possible with your support and the great strength that comes from all of us in partnership.
I thank you and wish you a productive meeting today.