UNWTO has a highly controversial and political aspect to it when the Republic of Crimea was noted in the framework of the UNWTO General Assembly in St. Petersburg. Widely ignored by media, deliberately overlooked by delegates from western European countries, the Russian host was loud and clear with its support for their youngest Republic Crimea. Crimea was taken from Ukraine and most western countries consider the region to be part of Ukraine.
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On September 11-12, the Government of St. Petersburg, with the support of the Federal Tourism Agency, organized the Saint Petersburg Travel Hub exhibition, within which the tourism potential of the Republic of Crimea was also presented. In the days of the forum, the Crimean stand was visited by Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Zarina Doguzova, Head of the Federal Tourism Agency, and Alexander Beglov, Acting Governor of St. Petersburg.
A special program was organized in Moscow on September 14 and 15. Within two days, business sessions, official meetings, and cultural events were attended by ministers, delegates and representatives of the public and private sectors of the countries participating in the organization.
The plenary session, moderated by Sofiko Shevardnadze, focused on tourism as part of the development strategy of global cities. The event was attended by the leadership of the UNWTO, Moscow, Russian Railways, Google experts, international experts, as well as the UNWTO Ambassador from Russia Vyacheslav Fetisov.
The UNWTO General Assembly is the world’s largest tourism summit. Delegations of regular and affiliated members, each represented by no more than five delegates, as well as observers, have access to plenary meetings of the Assembly. In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals.