Russia has successfully hosted the biennial General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization, promoting itself as a rapidly growing travel destination and helping the UN agency to boost tourist industries across the world.
St. Petersburg, one of Russia’s most beautiful cities, welcomed over 2,000 delegates from 138 countries to the four-day event, organized by the Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturism) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The 23rd General Assembly, convening in Russia for the first time in its history, centered around developing tourism infrastructure, promoting innovation and on the globalization of the industry.
“Russia views tourism as a major sector of its economy,” Rosturism chief Zarina Doguzova pointed out, adding that Moscow will back all key UNWTO projects and continues to expand its own tourism potential.
Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO’s Secretary General, called the gathering “a logical continuation” of an array of high-profile international events that Russia hosted over the past years, saying it “will change Russia’s image and will make it more attractive for tourists.”
“All participants will tell of [Russia’s] hospitality and will come back with their friends and families,” he suggested.
St. Petersburg was named as a venue for the world’s largest tourism event following a vote at the 22nd UNWTO session in 2017. The next General Assembly will be hosted in Marrakech in 2021. Russia has been a member of the UN organization since 1975.