By eTurboNews with Ogova Ondego
Published August 27, 2013
The global tourism community gathered August 24-29, 2013 at Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe for the 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly is expected to elect the Secretary General for the next four years.
The more than 120 delegations from UNWTO Member States gathered at Victoria Falls for the 20th Session of the UNWTO General Assembly are also expected to debate the UNWTO’s Programme of Work for the 2014-2015 period.
The General Assembly is the main statutory meeting of UNWTO and the most important gathering of senior tourism officials and high-level representatives from around the world. Held every two years, the assembly is attended by delegations representing Full and Associate UNWTO members, Affiliate members, and representatives of other international organisations.
Addressing the meeting in a video message, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said, “Tourism is an undisputed generator of national wealth, corporate income, and local employment. Managed sustainably, it can benefit people and the planet alike.”
Ban called “on all UNWTO members and the global tourism community to examine how best to contribute to sustainable development.”
He described the gathering “a timely opportunity” for the world “to drive tourism towards its fullest potential in fostering sustainable economic growth, jobs, and development.”
Meanwhile Elsia Grandcourt, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board, has been appointed Director for Africa at UNWTO.
Elsia Grandcourt studied Hotel Management at the SATEC Hospitality Training Centre in Singapore and has worked in hotels, an airline, and a destination management company (DMC) before moving in at the Seychelles Tourism Board as Deputy CEO in 2010 to work alongside Alain St.Ange, who was at that time CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board.
It was in 2012 that Elsia Grandcourt was promoted to the position of CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board after Alain St.Ange was appointed the Seychelles Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture.
Elsia Grandcourt replaces Ousmane Ndiaye who had been the Regional Director for Africa at the UNWTO for many years.
Speaking to the press after the official announcement of the appointment of Elsia Grandcourt was made by Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the UNWTO, Alain St.Ange said he was proud to see a Seychellois national appointed to such an important position at the UNWTO.
The Seychelles Tourism Board remains one body that is today in the limelight because of their ongoing successes. Seychelles continues to see positive growth in the visitor arrival numbers with year-to-date figures showing a 14% growth over the 2012 figures.
Seychelles tourism has been working hard on regional integration, with the islands now holding the Presidency of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organization and they have been actively promoting twin-center holiday options with the African mainland using the tag line “From the Big Five of Africa…to the Best Five of the Seychelles.” It was in the Seychelles in 2012 that the very successful Routes Africa conference was organised.