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UNANIMOUS CHOICE | PH to lead UN tourism body for East Asia and Pacific

The Philippines was elected as chair of the regional commission for East Asia and the Pacific at the 21st United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly.

At the 21st United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly in Medellín, Colombia, which ran from September 12 to 18, 2015, the six Regional Commissions elected new chairs and vice-chairs for the period 2015-2017.

The Philippines was unanimously elected as chairperson of the regional commission for East Asia and the Pacific (CAP), with Cambodia and Japan as vice chairpersons.

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The Philippines will also sit as member of the Committee on Statistics and Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) owing to its efforts of institutionalizing the implementation of the TSA in the Philippines, the first in the Asean region which is in consonance with the UN system of satellite accounting.

Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary-general praised the Philippines for taking the chairmanship, and said that it would greatly contribute to the global travel and tourism agenda of increasing competitiveness and promoting sustainable development in the region.

Asia and the Pacific region is now the fastest global tourism destination with 263 million international arrivals in 2014 with a growth rate of 5.3 percent.

The five other commissions and their respective chairs (C) and vice-chairs (VCs) are: Africa – Zimbabwe (C) and Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire (VCs); the Americas – Haiti (C) and Paraguay and Chile (VCs); Europe – Switzerland (C) and Montenegro and Lithuania; South Asia – India (C) and Bangladesh and Afghanistan (VCs); and the Middle East – Lebanon (C) and Egypt and Jemen (VCs).

“We are very happy about the strong confidence of countries in the Asia Pacific for the Philippines to lead the region. It is an affirmation of the Philippines’ leadership to pursue reforms and address key issues to enhance travel and tourism development in the region, to include, among others, domestic tourism, air connectivity, and travel facilitation,” Department of Tourism secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said.

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