The secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, described the Extraordinary Meeting of Tourism Ministers of the Americas region as a “historic summit”, noting that the leadership of President Luis Abinader made it possible and again praised the measures to relaunch tourism adopted by the Dominican government.
He said that “when I am asked which destination has been able to handle the crisis better, I always say that one of them is the Dominican Republic”.
The Secretary General’s message has been received in tourism circles as the third endorsement of the country, Punta Cana and the Government’s policies to relaunch tourism.
The first was at the conclusion of his visit for his family vacation last February; the second was to choose Punta Cana as the venue for the meeting of ministers of the Americas, and the third was to cite the opening of the country as one that has handled well the crisis in the sector caused by the pandemic.
He pointed out that the presence of the participating delegations and the meeting of ministers is a demonstration to the world “that it is possible to travel, to be together and to return to the normal life that everyone misses”.
It is a message, he said, “for the whole world, not only for the Dominican Republic and the Americas, that you can start tourism, you can travel, you can dine, you can have concerts, you can stay in hotels and it is a hope for the people who work in the sector”.
Pololikashvili warned that “it is very important to maintain this atmosphere and give positive messages, because the world is tired of so much negativism”; and said that the Punta Cana meeting “is a confirmation of how important tourism in the Americas is”.
For the UNWTO and for me, he said, it is a restart of tourism in such a beautiful country, so important for tourism in the region, which attracts millions of tourists every year; it is a “historic” meeting and here “we are going to have a good opportunity to talk about the future, about what the future of tourism in the Americas will be like. It is very important to talk and agree on some things and some rules”.
Pololikashvili said that it is necessary to talk about unified protocols, why we need them, first of all because the sooner we start traveling in the continent if we do not have unified protocols it will be very difficult to travel. “That needs to be started now, because millions of jobs” are at stake.
He explained that the role of the UNWTO is to connect the world, America with Europe, and this region with the Middle East; and thus “connect the whole world”, with a “single protocol to give more accessibility and comfort to the tourist”; and it is a great opportunity to have at the summit the ministers and so many international organizations.
Pololikashvili said that the message from Punta Cana to the whole world is “that it is possible to travel and that together we can overcome this crisis and return to normal life and travel”; and in America each country has its beauties and cultural attractions.
He assured that we are going to return to normality, and we will have a unique protocol “so as not to confuse and give more accessibility to tourists and more comfort”.