Press releases

4 March 2015
Madrid
Spain
UNWTO strongly condemns the destruction of cultural heritage
UNWTO is appalled by the systematic destruction of cultural and religious artefacts in Syria and Iraq, the last of which in the Mosul Museum in Iraq. On behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO joins UNESCO in urging immediate action to safeguard the world’s cultural heritage.
3 March 2015
Madrid
Spain
Tourism development in Africa challenged by wildlife crime
Wildlife watching tourism is one of the most important tourism segments in Africa, according to new UNWTO research released on the occasion of World Wildlife Day. In view of tourism’s potential in advancing inclusive growth across the continent, poaching and illicit trade in wildlife pose a serious threat to the future of Africa’s socio-economic development, the publication warns. 
3 March 2015
Berlin
Germany
The Travel and Technological Revolutions: UNWTO Secretary-General at ITB 2015
In his ITB 2015 opening address, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai highlighted how new technologies are changing society and shaping the tourism sector, shifting power from governments and companies to citizens and consumers. Rifai recalled that with power comes responsibility and highlighted tourism´s capacity to overcome prejudice in an often divided world (ITB Berlin, Germany, 3 March 2015).
26 February 2015
Madrid
Spain
UNWTO report identifies common criteria for 4 and 5 star hotel classification
The new UNWTO report Hotel Classification Systems: Recurrence of Criteria in 4 and 5 Star Hotels, identifies the common criteria among 4 and 5 star hotels, providing valuable insights for destinations wishing to revise existing or establish new hotel classification systems.
25 February 2015
Madrid
Spain
UNWTO activities at ITB 2015
The 5th Silk Road Ministers’ Meeting, community empowerment through tourism and creative industries and the 30th meeting of World Tourism Network on Child Protection are UNWTO’s main activities during the ITB Travel Trade Show 2015 (Berlin, Germany, 4-8 March, 2015).
18 February 2015
Madrid
Spain
Governments recognize benefits of visa facilitation
Visa facilitation has experienced strong progress in recent years, particularly through the implementation of visa on arrival policies according to UNWTO’s latest Visa Openness Report. This largely reflects an increased awareness among policymakers of the positive impacts of visa facilitation on tourism and economic growth. 
9 February 2015
Madrid
Spain
Former head of UNICEF to chair the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection
UNWTO is pleased to announce that Carol Bellamy, former Executive Director of UNICEF (1995-2005), is the new chair of the UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection. Ms. Bellamy starts her tenure at the Network’s 30th meeting in connection with ITB Berlin in March 2015, where the Network’s agenda for the coming year will be established. 
6 February 2015
Siem Reap
Cambodia
UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture gathers Ministers of Tourism and Culture for the first time
Over 900 participants, including over 45 Ministers and Vice Ministers of Tourism and Culture, international experts, speakers and guests from 100 countries, gathered at the UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to explore and advance new partnership models between tourism and culture (4-6 February 2015).
5 February 2015
Madrid
Spain
Middle East & North Africa: Tourism adapts to challenges and gains new momentum
The tourism sector in the Middle East and North Africa has been largely able to adapt and recover in recent times and even bounce back over the past year. Against this backdrop, several tourism ministers of the region, Spanish authorities and private sector representatives focused on future tourism prospects at the third Ministerial Round Table on Tourism Development in the MENA Region, during the Madrid International Tourism Fair (29 January, FITUR Madrid).
3 February 2015
Madrid
Spain
Investour 2015: Africa needs a stronger brand
Branding and promotion, foreign direct investment, human resources development and visa facilitation were among the key topics in focus at the VI Investment and Tourism Business Forum for Africa (INVESTOUR). 16 Tourism Ministers from Africa and the Middle East and experts from different areas attended the yearly Forum, held on the occasion of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR). The debates focused particularly on the need to work towards a stronger Brand Africa (Madrid, Spain, 29 January 2015).