What makes Zurab Pololikashvili a Global Shaker?
Zurab Pololikashvili has been Secretary General of the UN’s World Tourism Organisation since January 2018.
As the highest profile tourism body in the world, UNWTO runs the World Tourism Day 2020, which this year has a focus on tourism and rural development — and paying attention to the role tourism plays in preserving and promoting cultural heritage around the world.
The UNWTO also reports on changes to the tourist sector, noting that travel restrictions around the world had led to a 65% decrease in international tourist arrivals in the first half of 2020.
Pololikashvili has been using his institutional position to try and secure sustainable tourism commitments from major companies around the world. In late 2019, he met with the CEO of Spain’s largest airline, Iberia, to sign a cooperation agreement for sustainable tourism.
This is reflected in his comments. “Our sector gives them [residents in tourism destinations] the chance to make a living. To earn not just a wage, but also dignity and equality,” Pololikashvili said, as quoted on the UNWTO website. “Tourism jobs also empower people and provide a chance to have a stake in their own societies — often for the first time.”
Before his role at UNWTO, Pololikashvili was the Georgian Ambassador to Spain, Algeria and Morocco. He was also Minister of Economic Development of Georgia, tasked with advancing foreign trade and investment policy and promoting the development of tourism, infrastructure and transportation sectors. He reportedly doubled the number of international tourist arrivals to Georgia from 1.5m in 2009 to just under 3m by 2011. The UNWTO website writes that the reforms “paved the way for sustainable tourism practices in Georgia and poverty alleviation initiatives.”
Pololikashvili also has experience in the private sector, having served as Manager of International Operations for one of the largest banks in Georgia, TBC Bank, and as also as Vice President of the TBC Group.
He has a university degree in Banking, from Georgia Technical University, Tbilisi. He speaks Georgian, English, Spanish and Russian fluently, and also French, Japanese and Polish.Tags: Sustainable Travel, tourism, UNWTO