Lithuania will lead the WTO Commission for Europe under the World Tourism Organisation and represent Europe in shaping global sustainable tourism policy
Lithuania along with Switzerland and Montenegro were chosen to lead the WTO Commission for Europe at the 59th UN WTO Commission for Europe’s meeting, which was held in Medellin (Columbia). The duration of the term of office is four years. Also, Lithuania received the right to organise the 60th WTO Commission for Europe’s meeting in 2016 in Vilnius.
‘Lithuania has an honour and responsibility to play the role of the leader of the European Region, which unites 43 countries,’ Minister of Economy Evaldas Gustas said. ‘We welcome the support and trust Lithuania received as a tourism country. This gives us an opportunity to become actively involved in shaping European and global tourism policy.’
The Minister of Economy Evaldas Gustas took part in the meeting of the WTO leaders and the new leaders of the Region to discuss activities and proposals from the elected leaders concerning the further activities of the WTO. Lithuania stressed national tourism development priorities with special emphasis on health, cultural, eco and business tourism. The WTO agreed that health tourism issues need to be addressed in more detail as this is relevant to both Europe and the rest of the world.
The government delegation formed by the Prime Minister and led by the Minister of Economy Evaldas Gustas also participated at the meeting of the Committee on Sustainable Tourism. Lithuania will represent the European Region in this Committee together with other countries, including Senegal, Morocco, Oman, Columbia, Bolivia, China, etc. In order to save resources the Committee meetings will be held via Internet.
About 900 delegates will take part In the WTO General Assembly, 70 of which will be ministers responsible for tourism. The General Assembly’s Opening Session was attended by the President of Columbia and the WTO Secretary-General Talebas Rifai, who empasised that we need to take advantage of the tourism potential in saving peace, creating jobs and reducing poverty.
The WTO is an international organisation, established in1970 following the restructuring of the International Union of Official Travel Organisations. In 2003, the WTO was reorganised into the Specialised Agency of the United Nations. The main objectives of the WTO include tourism promotion, economic development, the promotion of responsible, sustainable and accessible tourism, the promotion of mutual understanding, respect towards human rights and freedoms. The WTO unites 162 real, more than 400 accession and 7 associated members. Lithuania is a member of the WTO since 2003.