Zarina Doguzova, Head of the Federal Agency for Tourism, Russian Federation

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Dear colleagues and participants of the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly!

The General Assembly, which will be held from 9 to 13 September in St. Petersburg, is a great and long-awaited event, which will be attended by about 1500 delegates from 158 UNWTO member countries, including ministers of tourism. For Russia, this event is a unique opportunity to tell about the country's tourism potential and our plans to develop tourism in accordance with best international practices, as well as an opportunity to show our colleagues our tourist attraction center - St. Petersburg. The delegates of the General Assembly will also have a unique opportunity to visit Moscow, where a part of the business and cultural program will take place.

Russia pays special attention to the development of tourism. We look at tourism as a strategic sector of the economy. Major sporting events of the last few years, such as the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the FIFA World Cup, the Universiades in Kazan and Krasnoyarsk, have given a powerful impetus to the development of infrastructure in the host cities and opened up the country to the world in terms of tourist attractiveness. We want to increase the positive dynamics in the development of the hospitality industry and intend to take into account new global trends, including the growing interest of tourists in individual and authentic travel experience, digitalization of tourist products and services. 

I would like to emphasize the humanitarian and social role of tourism, which should unite peoples, strengthen historical and cultural ties, give the opportunity to get more attracted to each other for people of different cultures, fight such negative phenomena as poverty, xenophobia, climate change and many other global problems. It is the humanitarian agenda of tourism that should become the basis for our cooperation with UNWTO. Implementation of joint programs and initiatives that will help to better understand the positive impact of tourism on the development of countries and peoples, the implementation of new international projects in the field of tourism - this is what we would like to discuss with colleagues from UNWTO and many countries at the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

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It is my pleasure to welcome you to St Petersburg on the occasion of the 23rd General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization.

Our General Assembly comes at a pivotal time for global tourism. Now that the sector has firmly established itself as not just a major economic force but also a key part of the global sustainability agenda, it is becoming increasingly important that this continued growth is managed responsibly.

Consequently, this is also a pivotal time for UNWTO.

Our mandate is to manage this growth for the benefit of the many, not just the few. This means harnessing technology and innovation to create more and better jobs. It also means working with our Member States to ensure the positives that tourism undoubtedly bring are shared as widely as possible, while any possible challenges are identified and met with cooperation and determination.

This General Assembly is the biggest and most important high-level meeting of sector leaders in the world. It is UNWTO’s chance to share with you the progress we have made towards making tourism a key part of sustainable development and economic growth. And it’s a chance for you to contribute to the discussions as we look to the future.

Thank you for being part of our General Assembly and once again, on behalf of everyone at UNWTO, welcome!


Alexander Beglov, Acting Governor of Saint Petersburg

Dear friends, 

I am pleased to welcome participants, organizers and guests of the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly!

For the first time this major tourist forum will be held in Russian Federation. Our city was honored to host the event.

From year to year Saint Petersburg is receiving more and more guests, who are enjoying the beauty of the city, visiting magnificent palace-palace park ensembles and theatres. We gently maintain the richest historical heritage and actively developing convention potential and medical tourism.

The achievements of our city are traditionally highly estimated by international community. In 2019 Saint Petersburg was considered «Europe’s Leading City Destination». Conducting the General Assembly session will give the great opportunity to show the entire world the unique potential of Northern Venice and other regions of Russian Federation.  

Saint Petersburg prepared extensive exposition for the forum. It is planned to hold a number of meetings between representatives of Russian and international tourist society. We will offer to our guests eventful cultural program.

I wish everybody successful and fruitful work, new beneficial contacts and wonderful impressions of the city!

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