NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Kenya’s Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has been elected Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Commission for Africa for the 2017-2019 term.
He was unveiled at the ongoing 22nd General Assembly of the UNWTO conference in the city of Chengdu, China.
Balala takes over from Zimbabwe’s Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi who was re-elected to the position two years ago for the 2015-2017 term.
UNWTO is the world’s most powerful tourism organisation with equivalent status as the World Trade Organization.
Regional commissions, such the one Balala will be heading, were established in 1975 as subsidiary organs of the General Assembly. The six normally meet once a year.
“They enable member states to maintain contact with one another and with the Secretariat between sessions of the General Assembly, to which they submit their proposals and convey their concerns,” reads the UNWTO website.
Each commission elects one chairman and vice-chairmen from among its members for a term of two years connecting from one session to the next session of the Assembly.
Balala’s election will be a crown to his already illustrious career in the tourism circles.
Balala, who has in the past won the Africa Tourism Minister of the year ward (2009), has been credited for spearheading the country’s tourism sector’s recovery efforts after it crashed towards the end of 2012 following bouts of terror attacks in Nairobi and at the Coast.
The sector, under his leadership, has been recording gains between 13 per cent and 16 per cent in the last two years.