The Russian Federation has been suspended from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), losing with immediate effect its rights and privileges as part of the United Nations specialized tourism agency.
UNWTO argued that with the invasion of Ukraine, Russia had breached its statutes.
“Most of the 159 member states of the UNWTO backed the move, which was taken at an extraordinary general assembly,” a spokesman for the Madrid-based body said.
The motion, which required a two-thirds majority, was proposed by 22 member states including Spain, Japan, Poland, and France in March.
The agency spokesman did not say precisely how many members had supported it.
Anticipating its suspension, Russia announced at the start of the gathering that it was withdrawing from the organization, and its representative left before the vote.
“The message is clear,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili tweeted after the vote, adding, “Actions will always have consequences. Peace is a fundamental human right. Guaranteed to all. Without exception.”
Pololikashvili formerly served as an economic development minister in Georgia.
Spain’s Tourism Minister, Maria Reyes Maroto, who chaired the general assembly, also welcomed the decision.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military offensive violates the founding principles of the United Nations,” she said.
Russia’s foreign ministry said it was “a politically motivated decision we consider illegitimate” propelled by “anti-Russian propaganda” and “blackmail”.
The UNWTO, which provides technical support to promote tourism, had warned that the conflict in Ukraine would hamper the global tourism sector’s uneven recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN General Assembly earlier this month voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over its invasion of Ukraine, prompting Moscow to announce it was quitting the body.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, launched on February 24, had left thousands dead or injured, reduced towns and cities to rubble, and forced more than five million people to flee abroad.