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The business programme of the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly launched in St Petersburg

From 9 to 13 September 2019, St Petersburg is hosting the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly, the biggest event in the global tourism industry. The city has welcomed about 1,100 members of the UNWTO representing 140 countries, including 100 representatives of tourism ministries from around the world. The General Assembly will bring together more than 2,000 participants in total. The Russian delegation will be led by Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Chairwoman of the Coordination Council for Tourism Development in the Russian Federation. She will be joined by Zarina Doguzova, Head of the Russian Federal Tourism Agency, Vyacheslav Fetisov, UNWTO Ambassador from Russia, and major players of the Russian tourism industry.

The 16 events of the Assembly’s business programme will be complemented by Saint Petersburg Travel Hub, a travel forum showcasing Russia’s tourism potential, which will be held for the first time at ExpoForum on 11–12 September. A total of 33 Russian regions will present their potential and best practices. The forum’s programme comprises 11 panel sessions, discussions, and roundtables on the industry’s topical issues such as creating a more comfortable urban environment, as well as transport, sustainability, and MICE promotion within Russia.

«This week Russia is hosting the tourism industry’s top players from across the globe. For many, it will be their first visit to Russia. We will use this unique opportunity to showcase the endless opportunities for developing tourism in thу country, share our own success stories with our international partners, and set the direction for the industry’s further development in line with the global trends,» said Anton Kobyakov, Adviser to the Russian President.

«This is the first time that the tourism industry’s key event is held in Russia, and our city is honoured to play host to the forum. The General Assembly will be an excellent opportunity to present St Petersburg and other Russian regions, from Kamchatka to the Baltic, to the entire world. We expect the introduction of e-visas from 1 October 2019 to encourage more tourists to visit St Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. St Petersburg has prepared a vast and exciting exhibition for the forum. The city is keen to foster stronger ties with Russian regions. Domestic tourism is an important segment and should be promoted as strongly as inbound tourism. We are planning a number of meetings between representatives of the Russian and international tourism community. We will also offer a rich cultural programme to our guests,» said Alexander Beglov, Acting Governor of St Petersburg.

The key events of the 23rd session of the UNWTO General Assembly include the High-Level Forum on Medical and Health Tourism, to be hosted at the Tauride Palace; a report by UNWTO’s Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, to be presented at the official opening ceremony on 11 September at ExpoForum; and Ministerial Debates on education and employment in tourism and the High-level Summit on Innovation and Sustainable Development in Tourism to take place on 12 September as side-events of the General Assembly.

«This week we have a very busy agenda ahead of us. This is the first time that Russia is hosting a UN event of this scale, and I would like to note that we are very pleased with the choice of St Petersburg as the host city — the city gave us a great welcome, and everything has been well organised,» said UNWTO Senior Media Officer Marcelo Risi.

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