UNWTO pledges to develop lesser-known destinations with new initiative

The UNWTO has formally adopted its Tourism Opens Minds initiative at its 25th General Assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on October 20.

Designed to help develop tourism in less-visited areas, the initiative was unveiled at World Tourism Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where attendees were invited to pledge to help make lesser-known destinations more welcoming and accessible, and foster a spirit of open-mindedness to new destinations.

The Tourism Opens Minds initiative was formally adopted during the UNWTO’s 25th General Assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on October 20 (Photo: UNWTO)

Consumers, meanwhile, are being encouraged to be more receptive to other parts of the world when making a travel choice, following a recent YouGov survey showing around half of respondents are uncomfortable travelling to places they know little about and a minority of tourists intend to visit new destinations as they start travelling again.

“Tourism Opens Minds will showcase the powerful role that tourism plays in bridging cultures and promoting a more interconnected and harmonious world,” stated UNWTO, noting that the initiative’s symbol is inspired by the colours of the flags of every country.

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said the campaign “extends a compelling invitation for travellers to broaden their horizons and explore the unchartered corners of our world”.

He added: “By doing so, it not only reveals the beauty of diverse destinations but also nurtures an appreciation for the cultures and people who call these places home.”

Tourism Opens Minds can also help ensure “that every country can harness the potential of a thriving tourism industry” and builds on the UNWTO’s “duty to foster people’s desire to discover the entire world, making the unknown more inviting and enabling new connections between strangers, to give back to tourism the power to build bridges”, he said.

Attendees at the UNWTO General Assembly recommended the secretariat takes steps to advance the initiative, including through the funding of relevant programmes and campaigns.

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