On January 1, 2018, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili took over as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism. Prior to his current responsibilities, Mr. Pololikashvili was Ambassador of Georgia to Spain, Andorra, Algeria, and Morocco, and, until December 2017, the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Before that, he spent two years as Minister of Economic Development of Georgia, which included responsibility for the country’s long-term fiscal growth strategies. He was instrumental in launching an innovative policy for the development of tourism in Georgia, which helped pave the way for sustainable tourism practices and poverty alleviation initiatives in Georgia.
The following Q&A has been edited for clarity, flow, and length.
GREEN MATTERS: How would you describe sustainable tourism (and its importance) to a person you meet on the street?
ZURAB POLOLIKASHVILI: Sustainable tourism is the type of tourism that makes a low impact on the local environment and culture while contributing to generating income and employment for the local population.