The United Nations World Tourism Organisation appointed President Coleiro Preca as a United Nations Special Ambassador for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
This is the second time that President Coleiro Preca has been given recognition by the United Nations, following the “Agent of Change Award”, awarded in September 2016, in New York.
At the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Headquarters, in Madrid, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca had a meeting with Secretary General Mr Taleb Rifai and officials of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. During her working visit in Spain, President Coleiro Preca is leading a delegation made up of the President and the CEO of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, as well as High-Level Representatives from the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, of which the President is patron; and the Director for Strategy and Planning within the Ministry for Tourism.
During the meeting, President Coleiro Preca and Secretary General Ambassador Rifai, spoke about the importance of sustainable and responsible tourism, as a means to build peace, social cohesion, and prosperity for all humanity.
Mr Tony Zahra and Mr Andrew Agius Muscat spoke about the initiatives being taken by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation to turn the Mediterranean and Malta into a hub of educational, cultural, technological innovation, and environmental sustainability, for the tourism industry.
As Patron of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation, the President formally asked the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to affiliate the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation within this global organisation. Through this affiliation, which was accepted, in principle, by Secretary General Rifai, the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation will be in a position to share good practices and initiatives which it is spearheading, to other regions of the world.
President Coleiro Preca and Mr Taleb Rifai unveiled a commemorative plaque, to mark the visit which she and the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation made, at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid, which is also the first visit by a Maltese Head of State at the World Tourism Organisation.
The delegation accompanying the President is composed of President of MHRA Mr Tony Zahra, and Co-Founder and President of the Board of Governors of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation; Dr Tijani Haddad, Deputy President of the Board of Governors of the MTF; Mr Andrew Agius Muscat, CEO of MHRA, and Co-Founder and Secretary General of the MTF; Mr George Micallef, Board Governor of the MTF and MHRA Representative; Dr Barbaros Kon, Dr Hisham Zaazou and Mro Bruno Santori, Board Governors of the MTF; and Ms Karen Demicoli, Strategy and Support Director within the Ministry for Tourism.