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2005-10-28 15:52:25

Bahamas To Join World Tourism Organization

New Member States including the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste due to push membership to a record high.

The World Tourism Organization has begun the countdown to its 16th General Assembly to be held in the Senegal capital of Dakar, the first time the biannual event will be staged in a sub-Saharan African country.

The land of "teranga" ( hospitality ) will host the General Assembly from 25 November to 2 December at Le Méridien Président Hotel in Dakar; an event that promises to mark a historic landmark for the leading global tourism Institution for three important reasons says WTO Secretary-General Francesco Frangialli.

"First of all, it will be the WTO's first General Assembly since it acquired its new status as a specialized agency of the United Nations, a process that highlights the ever-increasing relevance of tourism as a major player in the global economy."

"Secondly, it will be the first time in its thirty years of existence that the WTO will hold the meeting of its supreme body in one of the member countries of its Commission for Africa, in particular, a destination in sub-Saharan Africa."

"The third is that one of the central themes of the Assembly will be tourism's contribution to sustainable development and poverty reduction, demonstrating how our industry can help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals reaffirmed at the heads of state and government meeting in New York at the end of September," stressed Mr. Frangialli.

In addition to poverty alleviation, the Dakar General Assembly will address other major issues such as the current state of tourism, both on a global and regional scale, and crisis management; review the financial status of the Organization and establish an Agenda 2010 of strategic issues to be included in a White Paper covering the next five years.

Also members will vote on who will be the Organization's Secretary-General for the next four years; and select the countries that will serve on its Executive Council in the forthcoming period.

The core membership of the WTO is expected to reach 150 at the Assembly, with new Member States including the United Kingdom, the Bahamas, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste due to push membership to a record high.

Most recent sessions of the WTO General Assembly were held in:
- 2003; Beijing, China
- 2001; Seoul, Republic of Korea and Osaka, Japan
- 1999; Santiago de Chile, Chile
- 1997; Istanbul, Turkey
- 1995; Cairo, Egypt

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