The executive council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has give in to India's proposal of not allowing certification, grading or ranking of tourist destinations by the global Centre of Excellence for Destinations, with whom UNWTO had entered into a MoU to grade travel and tourism destinations.
At the 84th meeting of the executive council of UNWTO held in Madrid, Spain, tourism minister Ambika Soni, who is the chairperson of the council, expressed 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.
Soni was backed on the issue by the members of the working group set up by UNWTO to examine the bye laws and procedures for running the CED.
Members of the working group, constituted by a resolution adopted at the last meeting of the executive council held in Jeju, Korea, in June 2008, also chaired by Soni, included Costa Rica, Brazil, France, Iran, Ghana, Spain besides India.
The Centre of Excellence for Destinations will now extend technical assistance to destinations in developing countries to achieve excellence and attract more tourists. In addition, developing countries can also ask for UNWTO's support for securing financial and technical assistance.
The executive council meeting reiterated that there should not be any discrimination against developing countries, first mooted through the resolution, Climate Change and Tourism, whioch was adopted by the UNWTO General Assembly at its 17th Session held at Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia. The meeting agreed to take consensus based measures to implement the resolution within the framework of the UNFCCC.
Soni, in her address, alsio highlighted the need for pursuing tourism growth in consistence with environmentally sustainable principles and practices. She briefed the delegates about the initiatives taken by India under the 'National action plan on climate change'.
UNWTO's Executive Council is setting up 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.