Tourism min meets UNWTO Head to develop Joint Action Plan

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, K J Alphons met with the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Zurab Pololikashvili and discussed on developing a Joint Action Plan focused on Tourism Innovation and Digital Transformation including the positioning of India on this Action Plan of UNWTO. The discussions also included involving UNWTO in developing tourism as a strong agent for the better future of the world and establishing Global Public Private Partnerships. The duo also discussed regarding strengthening the relationship between India and UNWTO.

The minister, along with a delegation of senior officials, attended the 108th session of UNWTO Executive Council from 23rd to 25th May 2018 held in San Sebastian, Spain. The executive council decided that in order to address new challenge and trends, the organisation will pay special attention to scaling up innovation and digitisation in the sector.

During the three day Executive Council meeting, K J Alphons chaired the ‘Programme and Budget Committee’ meeting of UNWTO. In the opening remarks, the Minister highlighted the role of tourism in socio-economic development through job creation, enterprise and environment development and foreign exchange earnings. The Minister also brought out the impact of innovation and new technology, which have become key factor for competitiveness of every economic sector including tourism.

The India delegation also participated in the thematic discussions on ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation’ and acknowledged the Digital India Programme initiated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to transform India into a Digital empowered society and knowledge economy. The Minister also stated that the Technology adoption in Tourism should not be just for sales and distribution but should be used in discovery, planning, booking, execution, operations and post trip relationship management.

K J Alphons also met the Tourism Minister of Spain, Álvaro Nadal and discussed cooperation in the field of tourism primarily pertaining to synergy between India’s Iconic Destinations and Spain’s Smart Destinations, setting up of Centre of Excellence for Tourism Technology, Training programme for Tourism professionals (Central/State employees) Management of Pilgrim Destinations and also management of UNESCO Heritage sites.