The Bahamas has been elected as Commission for the Americas (CAM) president by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Dionisio D'Aguilar, minister of tourism, will assume the seat for the next two years following the 22nd session General Assembly in Chengdu, China, from September 10 - 17, 2017. Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D'Aguilar, will assume the seat on behalf of the country for the next two years.
"With such unique and diverse cultural and natural attributes that the Americas are blessed with, I pledged to work in collaboration with member states of the region to further develop and promote these attributes globally in an effort to enhance the quality of life of citizens through the advancement of tourism development," Mr D'Aguilar said.
Haiti and Brazil will serve as vice-chairmen for the period 2017 - 2019.
The Commission for the Americas is one of six regional commissions that were established in 1975 as subsidiary organs of the UNWTO General Assembly. The commissions cover the following six regions of the world: Africa, Europe, the Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and South East Asia.
The Commissions meet once a year with the objective of informing the UNWTO body, through the Secretariat, of any concerns or suggestions to improve its responsiveness to member needs. Each Commission elects one chairman, and its vice-chairmen, for a term of two years.
CAM has the third largest number of member countries, following Africa and Europe. It has seen increased participation in its annual meetings by affiliate members, including the private sector, academia and non-governmental agencies, which advances the UNWTO's goals of developing public-private partnerships (PPPs) to grow the tourism economy.
The Americas region recorded 200 million international visitor arrivals in 2016, representing a 7.5 million increase over the same period in 2015. With an annual 3.8 per cent growth rate, the Americas kept pace with the world average of 3.9 per cent.
The growth in the Americas was fuelled by South America, with Chile leading the way through a 26 per cent increase in arrivals, together with strong demand from neighbouring Argentina. The Caribbean contributed a 5 per cent growth in business, due mainly to a robust increase of 13 per cent in visitor arrivals recorded in Cuba.