Preliminary programme


38th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session

Yerevan, Armenia, 1-4 October 2016


The Plenary Session will be preceded by the following activities to be held during the weekend (1-2 October):

1 October

09:00-10:00 - Yerevan City Tour

The capital of the Republic of Armenia is one of the oldest cities in the world, the foundation dating back 782 BC. Yerevan is home to the rich cultural and historical heritage of centuries of human civilization and the countless museums, monuments and churches have been witness to the spiritual, cultural and scientific evolution of the city. Yerevan is first and foremost an historical and cultural tourist attraction, however it also represents a great potential for a wide range of high quality tourism products and services for an international tourism market.

10:30-11:30 - Visit to Khor Virap Monastery

The Khor Virap (meaning ´deep dungeon´) monastery is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Armenia. Standing at the foot of the snow-capped peaks of Mount Ararat, and offering a spectacular view of the mountain, the Monastery has become the national symbol of Armenia. It is where Grigor Luisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before curing King Trdat III of a disease, causing the conversion of Armenia into the first officially Christian nation in the world in the year 301.

12:00 – 14:00 - Participation in the Areni Wine Festival 2016

Located in the Village of Areni in the Vayots Dzor Province, the Areni Wine Festival provides a great opportunity to discover the long history of wine in Armenia. Throughout the festival, visitors will get the chance to sample the best range of Armenian wines.

14:00 – 15:00 - Lunch with Armenian wine tasting

15:00 – 16:00 - Visit to Areni cave complex

Located just above Areni in the Vayots Dzor province, the Areni-1 Cave Complex has proven to be a treasure trove of Copper-Age artifacts including the oldest shoe, brain, and winery in the world.

16:00 – 18:00 – Return to Yerevan

19:00 – 21:00 Participation in the national celebration of the International Tourism Day

Armenian authorities will postpone the celebration of World Tourism Day from 27 September to 1 October, in order to have it coincide with the UNWTO delegation visit.


2 October

09:00 – 11:00 Visit to The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

The Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin is the most well-known symbol of the Armenian Church. Built and consecrated by St. Gregory the Illuminator and St. Trdat the Great in 303 AD, the Cathedral is located in the city of Vagharshapat. Located on the grounds of the Mother See are the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church, and the residence of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos and Supreme Patriarch of All Armenians. World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2000

11:30–12:30 Visit to Ararat Yerevan Brandy Factory

Ararat is an Armenian brandy produced by the Yerevan Brandy Company since 1887. It is made from Armenian white grapes and spring, according to a traditional method.

13:00 – 14:00 – Lake Sevan

Located in the Gegharkunik Province and 1900m above sea level, the great blue expanse of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) covers 940 square kilometres, and is 80km by 30km at its widest. The largest lake in the Caucasus, it's also one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. Its colours and shades change with the weather and by its own mysterious processes, from a dazzling azure to dark blue and a thousand shades in between. The lake supports a healthy fish population, including the endangered ishkhan (prince trout), named for a row of spots like a crown on its head. Other species include introduced crayfish and sig (white fish)

14:00-15:00 - Lunch at a lake view restaurant

15:30 – 16:30 – Visit to Dilijan city

Dilijan is a resort town with mild climate and fresh air in the northeast of Yerevan. It is famous for its amazing surroundings, often dubbed the ´Armenian Switzerland´ by the locals, due to the densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows.

16:30 – 18:30 – Visit to the UWC Dilijan Collage

The UWC Dilijan College is the 14th member of the UWC (United World Colleges) movement, one of sixteen colleges around the world, and the first international boarding school in Armenia. The college matriculated its first 96 IB1 students (11th graders) in September 2014. Currently, the school offers IB Diploma years 1 and 2 (grades 11-12).The mission of the UWC movement and of the school is to ´make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future´.

18:30-22:00 Inaugural Dinner (Flying Ostrich by Dolmama, Dilijan, Armenia)

Speeches will be made by Armenian and UNWTO representatives

22:00 – 23:30 – Back to Yerevan


3 October (Radisson Blu Hotel in Yerevan City Center)

9:00-10:30  Meeting of the Board of the Affiliate Members (Board members and observers)*

*There will be consecutive interpretation provided during the Board meeting

Plenary session:

The plenary session will take place during two consecutive days at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Yerevan City Center. The agenda will be comprised of six debates aimed at generating an enriching interaction among members around specific topics included in the action plan. The overall event will be interspersed with three inspirational lectures given by internationally renowned personalities in various fields.

*There will be simultaneous interpretation available for the Plenary session

11:00-11:40 Opening

·         Opening of the session by the Chairman of the Affiliate Members Board and approval of the agenda

·         Welcoming remarks by UNWTO Secretary General

·         Speeches by Armenian authorities


11:40-12:00 Inaugural presentation on the future of tourism

By Eduardo Fayos-Solà

Dr. Eduardo Fayos-Solà has dedicated his career to advancing the theory and practice of tourism policy and governance from various positions in academia, the private sector, government, and international organizations. He began his career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Valencia and adviser to the first democratically elected parliament of Spain on public policy matters, including tourism. Later, Dr. Fayos-Solà was appointed Director General of the Tourism Institute of Valencia followed by his appointment as the Director General of Tourism Policy of Spain. In this capacity, one of his main accomplishments was the preparation, parliamentary approval, and implementation of Spain’s first Tourism Policy Plan. Between 1994 and 2011, Dr. Fayos-Solà held several positions at UNWTO, including Head of Education and Training and the Executive Secretary for the UNWTO Knowledge Network.


12:00-12:15 Report by the Chairman of the Board of the Affiliate Members

12:15-12:30 Presentation of the Affiliate Members Programme Action Plan by the Director of the Affiliate Members Programme

12:30-13:00 Keynote speech

Marketing innovation and the FUTURE of Tourism: From Personalised Environments, Personalised Service Spectrums and Personal Informatics  ... To Frontierism, Holographic Laptops and EMOWEAR

By Professor Luiz Moutinho

Professor Moutinho is the Professor of BioMarketing and Futures Research (the first Chair in the world in these two scholarly fields) at the DCU Business School, Dublin City University in Ireland. Previously, and for 20 years, he had been appointed to the Foundation Chair of Marketing at the Adam Smith Business School , University of Glasgow, Scotland. He completed his PhD at the University of Sheffield in 1982.  He has been a Full Professor for 26 years and held posts at Cardiff Business School, University of Wales College of Cardiff, Cleveland State University, Ohio, USA, Northern Arizona University, USA and California State University, USA. His areas of research interest also encompass bio-marketing, neuroscience in marketing, EMOWEAR, a wearable tech device that detects human emotions, evolutionary algorithms, human-computer interaction, the use of artificial neural networks in marketing, modelling consumer behaviour, marketing futurecast and tourism and marketing.


13:00-14:30 Networking Lunch

14:30 – 15:00 Presentations by Affiliate Members


15:00-17:00 Open Debate 1:

Future of Tourism

Introduced and Moderated by Prof. Eduardo Fayos-Solà, Ulysses Foundation

17:00-17:30  Keynote Session

New Niches in Cultural Tourism: the archaeoastronomical context

By Dr. Clive Ruggles

Clive is Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, UK. He has worked in many parts of the world and published numerous books, papers and articles including the 3-volume Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (2014), for which he was editor-in-chief. He has ongoing fieldwork projects in Hawa‘i and is a leading figure in the joint initiative by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the International Astronomical Union working to recognise, protect, and promote the world's most important astronomical heritage sites.

17:30-19:00 Open Debate 2:

Cultural Tourism

Introduced and Moderated by Mr. Olivier Messmer, Smithsonian Institution

21:00 Official Gala Dinner (Megerian Carpet Museum)


4 October (Radisson Blu Hotel in Yerevan City Center)

9:00-11:00 Open Debate 3:

2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Introduced and Moderated by Ms. Brianda López, Hostelling International

11:00 – 11:30 Presentations by Affiliate Members

11:30 – 12:30 Open Debate 4:

City Tourism

Introduced and Moderated by Dr. Donald Hawkins, George Washington University

12:30 -13:00 Presentations by Affiliate Members

13:00-14:30 Lunch

14:30-16:00  Plenary Meeting closing session

Open general debate  

21:30 Closing Dinner (7 Qar, Garni Village)


5 October

Optional visit to Zorats Karer (Syunik Province, Armenia)

The ancient site of Zorats Karer is known as the world´s oldest observatory made up of two hundred and twenty upright basalt stones up to 3m high set along sweeping lines and loops, some punctured with sight holes aligned with stars. Also known as Karahundj or Carahunge, which means ‘speaking stones’, and often dubbed, Armenia´s Stonehenge, the site is situated on a rise above the river plains ringed by mountains, is dotted with tombs dated to 3000 BC. The astronomical design of Zorats Karer is most evident at the solstices and equinoxes. Lines of stones define an egg-shaped area with a burial tumulus in the centre, with a north arm stretching 170m and a southern alley 160m long. The creators had a deep knowledge of astronomy, including the zodiac and the lunar phases, combined with worship for stars.