UNWTO agrees to India's stand on grading tourism destinations

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New Delhi, Oct 20 (UNI) The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has agreed to India's proposal against allowing certification, grading or ranking of tourist destinations by CED (Centre of Excellence for Destination) with which the UNWTO has entered into an agreement.

At the 84th Session of the Executive Council of the UNWTO, chaired by Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, at Madrid in Spain early this week, India expressed its concerns about CED assuming the role of a certification agency which would lead to standardising of cultures, heritage and biodiversity of nations and could seriously undermine the concept of diversity that drives tourism across the world.

India was strongly supported in its stand by the members of the Working Group set up by UNWTO to examine the by-laws and procedures for running the CED.

Costa Rica, Brazil, France, Iran, Ghana and Spain besides India were members of the Working Group which was constituted by a resolution adopted at the last meeting of the Executive Council held in Jeju, Korea in June 2008 which was also chaired by Ms Soni.

The CED would now extend technical assistance to destinations in developing countries to achieve excellence and attract more tourists. In addition, developing countries could ask UNWTO's support for securing financial and technical assistance.

One of the main agenda items taken up during the Executive Council Meeting pertained to cooperation between CED and UNWTO.

The CED currently operates in Montreal, Canada and was set up to provide guidance to tourism destinations.

The Meeting reiterated its commitment to the resolution on 'Climate Change and Tourism' adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly at its 17th Session held at Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, emphasising that there should not be any discrimination against developing countries.

It agreed to take consensus based measures to implement the resolution within the framework of the UNFCCC.

Ms Soni, in her address to the Executive Council, highlighted the need for pursuing tourism growth in consistence with environmentally sustainable principles and practices.

The UNWTO's Executive Council agreed to create a Resilience Committee to support its Members with accurate economic analysis and response mechanisms to combat challenges arising out of global uncertainties due to financial crisis.

UNI SH AKJ HT1532

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