MADRID, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Taleb Rifai, expressed his satisfaction that the organization's forthcoming 22nd General Assembly will be held in the Chinese city of Chengdu in a communique published by the organization.
The UNWTO General Assembly is a bi-annual event and will be held between September 11-16th with the aim of discussing how tourism can contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, as well as the UNWTO's actions for the period 2018-19.
Chengdu will see a high level debate on tourism and the Sustainable Development goals, as well as a session on the possibilities of smart tourism.
"This General Assembly gives us a unique opportunity to take key decisions that will guide us towards making a strong contribution to the future of people and planet," Rifai explained.
"China is not only the world's fourth most-visited country and the first outbound market in the world; it is also an example of a country prioritizing tourism as a driver for development," he said.
The efforts of the Chinese authorities "to define tourism as a strategic pillar of the national economy and an effective development tool make China a fitting host for this UNWTO General Assembly," he said.
Rifai added that the General Assembly "is our opportunity to strengthen our sector in view of the changes it faces".