United States May Rejoin UNWTO

U.S. Department of State officials could soon be rejoining United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the leading international tourism organization in the field of tourism.

The UNWTO said in a statement Tuesday that meetings with the United States have been productive, as terms are being finalized. During a UNWTO executive council meeting in June, the United States expressed interest in rejoining the organization, stating that it has the potential to fuel U.S. tourism, create new jobs for Americans and showcase the United States’ long list of travel destinations.

This could be a positive move for tourism in the United States, which has seen a slowdown since 2016, partially attributed to the “Trump slump.” In 2017, the United States had the third-most international long-haul flights, behind Europe and Asia Pacific, and saw only a 0.1 percent increase from the prior year, compared to Europe as well as the Middle East and Africa region, which saw 13.3 and 11.5 percent increases, respectively, according to Forward Keys, a “big data” and business intelligence company.

In 2018, international arrivals to the United States rose 2 percent, but Europe and Asia Pacific increased 6 percent and the Middle East rose 10 percent. By rejoining the UNWTO, the United States could see an increase in international foot traffic.

“It is extremely encouraging that the United States has clearly signaled its intention to rejoin UNWTO and support tourism as a key driver of job creation, investments and entrepreneurship, and safeguarding natural and cultural heritage the world over,” said Zurab Pololikashili, UNWTO secretary general, in the statement issued today.

The UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, and offers leadership and support in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

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