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Korea to host UNWTO general assembly in Gyeongju

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said it is hosting the 19th General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, from Oct. 8-14.

At the biennial meeting, tourism policy makers, scholars and industry leaders from 154 countries will discuss the UNWTO’s budgets, programs and have a look at tourism spots around Gyeongju, the ministry said.

Key participants include UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai, U.N. Deputy Secretary General Asah-Rose Migiro and Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

One of the highlights of the event will be a ministerial meeting on Oct. 10 where about 60 speakers, including officials from U.N. will discuss “fostering growth and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through tourism, culture and sports.” Culture Minister Choe Kwang-sik will preside over the ministerial meeting and deliver a keynote speech.

Korea jointly hosted the UNWTO’s 14th general assembly in 2001 with Japan and this is the first time the country is hosting the international event exclusively, the ministry said.

The UNWTO has 154 member nations and seven associate member nations.

Korea joined the UNWTO in 1975.

By Kim Yoon-mi (