Tag Archives: Secretary General

WTM closes on a festive note

World Travel Market 2017, ExCeL London - Busy first morning

The final day of WTM London 2017 concluded with WTM Festivals, allowing visitors to experience the culture, hospitality and cuisine of the Caribbean, Tokyo, Indonesia, Ecuador, Bulgaria, Ghana, Senegal and Brazil. Pertinent issues such as Brexit, overtourism and development were debated among the tourism ministers’ agenda. The annual UNWTO and WTM Ministers Summit debated strategies to cope with overtourism, which is threatening the tourism trade in destinations such as Barcelona, Venice and Amsterdam. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO, said there have been many protests against overtourism in 2017, with slogans such as “tourists go home” and “tourists are terrorists.” He warned, “We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities. We need to diversify visitors’ activities, reduce seasonality and raise awareness of less busy destinations.” WTM brought together the leadership of the International Hotel Investment Forum and WTM London’s expertise to create an exclusive platform for ministers and investors in travel destination development. Keith Evans, Vice President Hotels, Starwood Capital, highlighted Greece’s potential, “There’s a good strong fundamental tour infrastructure; Greece is setting itself up as a market that has an interesting few years ahead.”

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Dubai Free Zones Council conducts VAT workshop

VAT workshop image

The Dubai Free Zones Council and the Federal Tax Authority organised a workshop on Value-Added Tax (VAT), to be implemented in the UAE from 2018. More than 70 representatives of companies operating across Dubai’s various free zones participated in the event. With the aim of helping free zone entities fulfil their tax obligations, the workshop provided an overview of VAT and related mechanisms, the implementation timeline, products and services it will cover, as well as tax-exempt sectors. The session clarified the impact of the new tax law on activities such as bookkeeping as well as on the preparation of invoices and other financial documents. Dr Mohammed Alzarooni, Secretary General of the Dubai Free Zones Council, stressed on the importance of the workshop for enabling entities operating in the free zones to prepare for full compliance with the new tax legislation. He said, “Companies must take effective measures to adapt their operations, financial management and information systems to the new tax environment. The necessary changes are also set to impact professional capacities – accountants will need additional training and the job market may see a surge in tax adviser vacancies.”

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Philippines to host UNWTO Tourism Statistics Conference

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The Philippines is all set to host top tourism officials from 156 countries for the 6th United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Conference on Tourism Statistics next month. The conference will be held from June 21-24 at the Marriot Hotel Grand Ballroom of the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City. This conference, bearing the theme “Measuring Sustainable Tourism”, will be highlighted by a ministerial roundtable of Tourism Ministers, Environment Ministers and Chief Statisticians. The opening ceremony will be presided by Dr Taleb Rafai, the UNWTO Secretary General; Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo, Secretary, Department of Tourism, Philippines and Ernesto M. Pernia, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary, National Economic and Development Authority, Philippines. In addition to the government representatives from 156 member countries, expected in attendance are more than 1500 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions and tourism associations.

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