Tourists arrive at Palau Pacific Resort dock. (File Photo)

Palau has become the newest member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

A resolution issued during the UNWTO’s 23rd General Assembly that was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia on September 9-13, 2019 stated that it welcomes Palau’s decision to join the group. It was then recommended to the body that Palau’s membership obligations will take effect on January 1, 2020.

In a letter addressed to UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. said that Palau is making “a significant step by becoming a UNWTO member.”

“As a small island country and large ocean state, I feel we have much to offer with our experience of being on the front line of both global environmental issues and global trends in tourism,” Remengesau said.

Remengesau added that with the UNWTO’s expertise and its member states’ commitment, they could find sustainable solutions that could strengthen livelihoods and at the same time, protect the natural world.

“Our natural world enriches our lives and provides incredible resources, including our precious tourism assets. It is our responsibility to ensure future generations enjoy its benefits.  We cannot rest on this responsibility; we must challenge ourselves to continue to innovate and work toward a better future of responsible travel,” Remengesau said in the letter.

UNWTO is a specialized agency that works on the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)