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UNWTO boss to make first-ever appearance at CTO conference

Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)Taleb Rifai, head of the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable tourism, will make his first-ever appearance at a Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) event when he presents at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) next month.

Rifai will be joined by president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) David Scowsill and CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley on a panel to discuss how to pilot an industry through a perpetual state of flux.

"The commitment of the UNWTO and the WTTC to participate in this conference fulfils our mandate to make leaders of the global tourism industry accessible to our members, to share information with us and exchange ideas on how to resolve issues and challenges, and how to take advantage of opportunities in tourism, globally," Riley said.

During the session titled 'No Place For The Status Quo', the tourism leaders will delve into factors such as changing demographics and attitudes, which drive the tourism industry into a state of constant transition, and how to continuously align the product to consumers' tastes.

"There really is no status quo in the tourism sector. Things are constantly changing. It's a dynamic industry. It's vulnerable to external shocks, but it always recovers. When we look at issues that affect public health, security, terrorism, economic shocks, all of these things affect the success and the sustainability of the tourism sector," the CTO secretary general added.

The session takes place from 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday, September 16, immediately following the feature address by Craig Landry, president of Air Canada Leisure Group.

The State of the Tourism Industry Conference, which has as its theme 'Honouring Our Legacy, Defining Our Future', is the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners, and directors of tourism; hotel and airline executives; travel agents; students; the media; and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.

A number of other presenters have been confirmed for SOTIC, which will explore subjects ranging from how to transition the product and multicultural and emerging markets to create a luxury experience.

This year's conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort is organised in collaboration with Barbados' Ministry of Tourism and International Transport and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. 

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