NECSTouR and UNWTO's SG join forces to advance Tourism Development in Europe

NECSTouR and UNWTO's SG join forces to advance Tourism Development in Europe


Mr Taleb Rifai - Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) – took advantage of his institutional visit to Brussels, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with NECSTouR, to advance the contribution of Tourism to sustainable regional development in Europe.

Photo gallery of the event

With this agreement, the two parties recognised the need and the added value of enhanced cooperation in the sphere of cultural and sustainable tourism development, in its economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions at regional level and are willing to combine their efforts and work together in the achievement of shared objectives.

This common objectives includes: to identify initiatives of common interest between NECSTouR and the UNWTO; to enhance the cooperation in the field of tourism policy; and to exchange best practices and know-how, particularly in the field of sustainable tourism at regional level.



At the end of the signing ceremony, Mr Octavi Bono, President of NECSTouR said: “Within NECSTouR we share information, skills, best practices, between regions with a strong competency in tourism and one of our main goals is to develop new paths to share this view, to make people from the European and International Institutions – like the UNWTO - closer to the real needs of the tourism industry from a local perspective.”

“In the framework of this agreement – declared Mr Patrick Torrent from the Presidency of NECSTouR – we are ready to continue our cooperation with UNWTO. In 2017, we will have as a common priority the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the development of an observatory on indicators for tourism”

“Andalusia welcomes with pleasure the signature of this Memorandum – stated Ms Susana Ibañez, Secretary General for Tourism of Andalusia – and we fully support its political vision. We are honoured to invite Mr Rifai to participate to the NECSTouR Annual General Meeting 2017 in Andalusia and to animate the thematic conference related with the thematic year 2017 that will be organised on that occasion.”

From his side, Mr Rifai stated that "Without the participation of regions, we cannot create integrated tourism routes, advance travel facilitation and visa openness, or truly transition to a green economy, to name just a few policy approaches. UNWTO is committed to cooperation with Europe’s tourism regions, and this is why UNWTO and NECSTouR are proud partners in forging a better path ahead for European tourism".
He underlined the fruitful cooperation between NECSTouR and UNWTO in the framework of the neZEH Project and invited NECSTouR to join the next Fitur conference and the UNWTO General Assembly 2017.


After this first appointment, Mr Rifai joined several important events, related with the role of Regions and Cities in the development of Tourism in Europe (Press release).

Among them:

  • the Brainstorming session on the European Capital of Tourism Preparatory Action at the European Parliament attended also by NECSTouR (read more)
  • the signature with the Government of Flanders of an Agreement for the development of a policy framework and ethical guidelines to develop tourism on historical war sites (read more)