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Korean UNWTO Candidate Dho Young-shim issued appeal to tourism ministers

Korean UNWTO Candidate Dho Young-shim issued appeal to tourism ministers

The election date for a new UNWTO Secretary General are getting closer, and the suspense who will be the next leader of the global tourism industry is getting stronger.

Korean Candidate Ambassador Dho Young-shim and her running Mate Carlos Vogeler today issued this appeal to ministers of tourism voting at the upcoming  executive council meeting.


In just a matter of days, one of the most important decisions for the future of global tourism will be taken at the 105th session of the UNWTO Executive Council. May 12th, 2017 is when 33 Executive Council Members will propose a successor to Dr. Taleb Rifai as the next UNWTO Secretary General.

This recommendation cannot be taken lightly – there is too much at stake. Starting from day 1 of taking office, the new Secretary General must build on the invaluable work of Dr Rifai, maintaining and enhancing the support and cooperation achieved with governments, businesses, academia, the UN system, other International Organisations, NGOs, and travellers worldwide.

As you yourself know, the role of tourism in global development – poverty alleviation, sustainability, unity, inclusivity, peace and stability – is too important for leadership risk-taking. Making the right choice demands focus on candidate vision, credentials and character. The world of tourism depends on it.

From the outset of our candidacy, we are very grateful to you for having listened to our approach to the next leadership of the Organisation, which offers a combination of stability and renovation. Together, we will respectfully and responsibly build on the legacy received, injecting an enhanced level of energy and strategic mobilisation to take the Organisation to new heights.

Our candidacy as a team “ticket”, a woman and a man of different, yet complementary professional paths and accomplishments in the tourism sector, and from two regions of the world distant from each other, yet clearly determined to work together, is unique. Our combination is a perfect fit as a team, and our experience with UNWTO will ensure our effectiveness from day one. Over the past twenty years we both have been intimately associated to the Organisation, both externally and internally.

By choosing us the Secretariat of the UNWTO will be headed for the first time by a woman, and by someone from Asia, the second region of the world by its tourist activity after Europe, which has held the post of Secretary-General on three out of five occasions.

Importantly, the fact that we both come from the G20 and the OECD economically advanced countries – the Republic of Korea and Spain – enhances our ability to strengthen UNWTO membership, bringing back to the UNWTO the industrialized countries that are currently distant from the organisation or even those that were never with us.

Our partnership reflects our vision: one of a strong, delivery-focused UNWTO, championing global Tourism as a key enabler to fulfilment of the greater global growth agenda. Our immediate priorities will be:


  • To establish a lean, agile & delivery-focused structure with the necessary transparency of internal processes and resource allocation, together with sound financial management and effective generation of voluntary contributions.
  • To increase and strengthen the membership body, using our network of high-level connections as OECD countries and also within the UN System.
  • To adopt a customer relationship policy for members to reach high satisfaction levels and loyalty, and instil a sense of pride in being a UNWTO Member.


  • To define priority projects / themes, especially with regard to new marketing trends, as well as new tourism markets and tourist profiles, with a special focus on the main outbound markets
  • To amplify efforts toward an increased facilitation of travel in a safe, secure and seamless manner. We will propose to use the privilege UNWTO possesses as a specialized agency of the UN, to put the two issues of tourism visas and travel advisories to the ECOSOC, in accordance with the agreement linking the two institutions.
  • To assist Small Islands States as well as coastal States, to apply sustainable development models to their fragile environments and to the low level of diversification of their economies
  • To promote women empowerment and gender equality in tourism
  • To pay a special attention to social tourism, promoting universal access to travel and leisure for vulnerable groups: seniors, disabled people, indigenous communities or disadvantaged groups
  • To encourage the development of Public Private Partnership initiatives among members
  • To make UNWTO an exemplary organization for sustainable development solutions and environmental and societal practices, and develop partnerships around climate change, green growth, etc.
  • To advance in the use of technology for smart destinations and the new concepts of digitalization applied to Tourism, identifying opportunities for members, including analysing, processing and application of big data, virtual reality, augmented reality for better understanding, planning and optimizing the visitors´ experiences.
  • To assist members in destination management and improving competitiveness and attractiveness, and defining standards, in terms of environment and quality of services at the destination level 


To strengthen the research capacity of the Organisation producing a wealth of studies for advocacy purposes, including:

  • accurate measure of the economic and social effects of sustainable tourism with a methodology that cannot be questioned and all the necessary indicators
  • resources allocated by countries and destinations to marketing, branding and promotion activities to be able to design a global marketing model for measuring the impact and the efficiency of promotional campaigns on foreign markets
  • domestic tourism to better understand its nature and measure its impact
  • issues and impacts related to “private services on digital platforms”, inaccurately identified as “collaborative/sharing economy” incl. consequences on more traditional components of the travel industry
  • evolution of some niche markets including business tourism / MICE, cultural tourism, shopping tourism, urban tourism, cruises, adventure tourism, youth tourism, health & wellness tourism, religious tourism, gastronomy and wine tourism, as well as rural tourism and mountain tourism and evaluate the tourism impact of major sports and cultural events.


The Executive Council’s choice identification and proposal of the next Secretary General of the UNWTO needs to focus on competence in Tourism, for Tourism. The future of the UNWTO and wider UN system’s ability to utilise Tourism as a critical tool for development of nations, as well as fulfilment of the SDGs, depends on the Executive Council Members choosing carefully and responsibly the most capable and experienced leadership.

Together we must ensure it is a future defined by leadership before leaders.

We thank you.

Dho Young-shim                                                                                                     Carlos Vogeler