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At the 120th Plenary Session of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, Taleb Rifai, secretary general, World Tourism Organization, underscored the role that municipalities and regions play in the growth of sustainable and competitive tourism within Europe.

Commenting on the travel industry’s contribution to socio-economic and cultural development as well as regional coopera­tion, Rifai said, “This is the moment to lay the foundations for a new paradigm for the tourism sector; to embrace a sustainable, inclusive and responsible tourism sector that makes clear business sense, drives local development and builds a sense of common fu­ture in Europe.”

Rifai also commended the European Capital of Tourism initia­tive, noting that it promotes local areas along with increasing resi­dents’ pride.