Saudi Arabia hosted the official opening of the 116th UNWTO Executive Council Meeting, a powerful vehicle that brings together global tourism leaders to shape the future of the sector.
As First Vice Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ahmed Al Khateeb discussed with global leaders how tourism must be a key part of a stronger and more sustainable world and called for greater collaboration to accelerate the sector’s recovery.
“Tourism is a vital driver of growth, opportunity, and development and today, we are at global cross-roads. Our sector could create 58 million jobs in 2022, to reach more than 330 million, just 1 pc below pre-pandemic levels. This can only be achieved with strong leadership, a clear vision, and resources,’’ Al Khateeb said at the inauguration of the meeting.
“Tourism’s restart in many countries around the world offers a unique chance to rethink tourism governance, communications and beyond. We have an incredible opportunity to set a new way forward, to create a strong future for the global tourism sector, and we must seize it,” the minister added.
Adopting the Meeting agenda, Member States welcomed the report on current trends in international tourism provided by UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili, alongside UNWTO monitoring reports and tools developed since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“It is our joint responsibility to shape a more sustainable tourism sector. We must re-think tourism development, re-invent tourism destinations and businesses and re-build the whole of the tourism eco-system. The 116th UNWTO Executive Council is where we come together to take the first steps towards this ambitious but vital goal. Thank you, Saudi Arabia, for enabling us to meet in person and kick-start this journey, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and Siandou Fofana, Minister of Tourism of Côte d’ Ivoire and Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, said on the occasion.
The two-day meeting, held in the historical city of Jeddah, was the biggest in-person, Executive Council meeting held since the pandemic began. Aimed at fostering strong coordination between member states to boost the recovery of global tourism, the meeting demonstrated the Executive Council’s determination to adopt a joined-up approach.
Al Khateeb was joined in Jeddah by Ministers and representatives from 35 Member States of the Executive Council, alongside global tourism leaders and private sector decision-makers.