Minister Angelkova meets WTO’s Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, in Belgrade

29 June 2017

The Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, met the Secretary-General of UN’s World Tourism Organization  (WTO), Taleb Rifai, in Belgrade, during the Conference on Sustainable Development of Tourism in the Danube Region: New Perspectives. The forum was jointly organized by WTO and Serbia’s Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications.

The two discussed current topics in bilateral cooperation and the perspectives to Bulgaria’s participation in WTO events. There are projections to schedule in May 2018 an International Conference in Sofia themed in tourism and energy, where European Commission representatives and Taleb Rifai would be invited, Minister Angelkova announced. The conference will be held during Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU Council.

Taleb Rifai praised Minister Angelkova for the good arrangement of the first International Congress on World Civilizations and Creative Tourism under WTO’s aegis, which was held in late 2016. The two discussed the idea of turning the conference into a traditional one, with Bulgaria being the host every other year.

Minister Angelkova emphasized that only days ago Sofia hosted another significant event in partnership with WTO – the second international seminar entitled Along the Western Silk Road. Representatives of the 33 member states of WTO’s Silk Road program were invited to attend, with over 120 diplomats, entrepreneurs, university and research center representatives being in attendance. The opportunities to activate transnational cooperation among the member states of WTO’s Silk Road program were successfully discussed, along with the setting up of trans-border products promoting tourism development, during 2017 – the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, Minister Angelkova emphasized.

She also pointed out that our country has initiated the creation of a joint postmark with WTO dedicated to the large-scale initiative in 2017. The postmark is expected to be validated during the 22nd session of WTO’s General Assembly, which will be held in the Chinese city of Chengdu next September.

Bulgaria has also filed its nominations for chair and deputy chair of WTO’s Europe Regional Committee, WTO having notified to such effect the other member states. The decision is likely to be during the China session. WTO’s Convention on Ethics in Tourism is also expected to be presented for approval by the other member states during that session. The Ministry of Tourism took part in the task group to create the document, which will adhere to the principles stipulated in WTO’s Global Code of Ethics in Tourism.

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