Danube Region to Host Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories

In a joint effort to advance sustainable tourism development in the Danube region, UNWTO and the countries in the Danube have agreed to establish a Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories in the region, under the auspices of UNWTO. The formal agreement was signed during an official visit of UNWTO’s Secretary-General to Bulgaria (Sofia, Bulgaria, 8 June 2015).

On the occasion of the visit, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, met with the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, to discuss the cooperation between UNWTO and the country and how to strengthen Bulgaria’s tourism sector. During the meeting, Mr. Rifai commended the Bulgarian Government for setting up a Ministry dedicated to tourism.

“High-level political support has been the key to the outstanding progress of the Bulgarian tourism sector in recent years. In 2014, more than 7 million international tourists visited Bulgaria, a new record, and a clear result of the political will to place tourism as a priority in the socio-economic development strategies of Bulgaria“, said Mr. Rifai.

The visit also included the signing of a Letter of Commitment between UNWTO and the Priority Area 3 on “promoting culture, tourism, people-to-people contacts” of the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), representing 14 Member States, to establish a Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories under the auspices of UNWTO.

The Observatories will measure tourism’s social, economic and environmental impact along the Danube River and help define adequate sustainable tourism policies in the region. The Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories in the Danube will join the eight Observatories currently operating in China (seven) and the Aegean Islands of Greece. The agreement was signed by Nikolina Angelkova, Minister of Tourism of Bulgaria, joint coordinator country of EUSDR Priority Area 3, and Mr. Rifai, on the side-lines of the Meeting of the Danube Region – Sustainable tourism through cooperation with European funds and investments.

“The unique cultural and natural assets of the Danube region offer excellent opportunities for sustainable tourism development. I highly commend the Danube countries for taking a leadership role in launching this initiative with UNWTO”, said Mr. Rifai. ”With this network of observatories, the Danube Region is setting an example in Europe and beyond on how regional cooperation can advance sustainable development through tourism”, he added.

“Tourism is a main pillar in the economies of the countries from the Danube region. In the past year the Danube countries have been visited by over 120 million tourists, which generated revenues of over 70 billion euro. It is very important to focus our efforts on establishing the Danube brand as such and on becoming more recognizable worldwide, reaching distant markets in particular. I hope that together with our neighbouring countries we will manage to efficiently use the available cross-border funding. Romania and Bulgaria can avail of 260 million euro; also, we have a joint project with Serbia which amounts to 34 million euro. A great part of these funds are targeted at tourism”, said Ms. Angelkova.

Mr. Rifai also met with the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, and prominent members of the Bulgarian private sector.

 

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  1. Hanh Berisha

    Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles. LA does so many things well; the movies are hits, the women are beautiful, and the closers are dominant. So it’s not surprising that the Dodgers have yet another big time closer in Jonathan Broxton. He has the fifth-most strikeouts of any reliever in the bigs (actually a surprisingly low number for him) and a microscopic 1.07 ERA. Oh, and he’s playing on one of the hottest teams in baseball, one that frequently comes through with walk-off wins. If Joe Torre keeps putting him in for the ninth inning in any close game, he’ll start adding some useful win totals to his overall value. The Dodgers didn’t perform well out of the gate but are surging now; expect his numbers only to improve along with the team…he lead the MLB with 12 saves in the month of May.