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Foreword Message
From the Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Dr. Taleb Rifai


On behalf of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), I welcome you to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage City of Georgetown, Penang for the 4th World Tourism Conference, organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia and UNWTO.

With 1.8 billion international tourists forecast for 2030, our sector is at a crossroads. Markets are growing at unprecedented rates. Technological advancements have given rise to new business models and empowered consumers.

What’s more, the time has come for the sector to firmly commit to the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed upon by 193 countries in 2015 to guide our common action to 2030. If our sector is to contribute, we must ensure tourism is a force for good for people and planet alike.

This 4th edition of the World Tourism Conference, under the theme ‘Tourism Delights: Delivering the Unexpected’, is dedicated to the mantra 'Tourists First'. The conference will focus on how our sector can capture the hearts and minds of the new generation of connected, well-informed and responsible tourists.

It will focus specifically on: the opportunities and challenges of global tourism; how to improve the tourism sector’s socio-economic contribution in local communities; and how to enhance tourism experiences and maximize the value of marketing.

We believe this conference offers an excellent opportunity to share experiences and knowledge in a path to build a more competitive and sustainable tourism sector.

Looking forward to greeting you personally, I wish all participants an engaging and successful few days.