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UN Tourism Agency Changes Its Acronym

UN Tourism Agency Changes Its Acronym To Avoid Confusion With Trade Body

New York, Dec 1 2005

What a difference two letters make, especially when it comes to confusing tourism with trade! From today the Madrid-based United Nations World Tourism Organization, previously known by the acronym WTO, is adding the letters UN, to differentiate it from the other WTO, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization.

The problem arose, but only in English and Russian among the UN's six official languages, when the World Trade Organization was formed almost two decades after the tourism agency adopted its current name.

The re-designated UNWTO is a specialized UN agency while the now single WTO is a related UN agency. A specialized agency has increased status within the UN system and a voting role in inter-agency mechanisms, such as the chief executives' boards.

The acronym change became effective today with its adoption by UNWTO's General Assembly at its meeting in the Senegalese capital of Dakar.

The Assembly also re-elected Francesco Frangialli as UNWTO Secretary-General for a third term until the end of 2009.

Mr. Frangialli, former Director of the Tourism Industry in France, joined as Deputy Secretary-General in 1990 and succeeded Antonio Enríquez Savignac ad interim from September 1996 before being elected Secretary-General in 1997. He was re-elected in 2001 for the years 2002-2005.

His principal aim is to further extend tourism's contribution to poverty alleviation through sustainable development which promises a radical advance in assistance for developing countries.


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