Tag Archives: UNWTO

Middle East recorded an increase in arrivals climbing 83% of pre-pandemic numbers: UNWTO

According to new data UNWTO, more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022 – double the number recorded in 2021 though still 63% of pre-pandemic levels. Every global region recorded notable increases in international tourist numbers. The Middle East enjoyed the strongest relative increase as arrivals climbed to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers. Europe reached nearly 80% of pre-pandemic levels as it welcomed 585 million arrivals in 2022. Africa and the Americas both recovered about 65% of their pre-pandemic visitors, while Asia and the Pacific reached only 23%, due to stronger pandemic-related restrictions which have started to be removed only in recent months. The first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer of 2023 also analyses performance by region and looks at top performers in 2022, including several destinations which have already recovered 2019 levels. After stronger than expected recovery in 2022, this year could see international tourism arrivals return to pre-pandemic levels in the Middle East and Europe. Tourists are nonetheless expected to increasingly seek value for money and travel closer to home in response to the challenging economic climate. Based on UNWTO’s forward-looking scenarios for 2023, global international tourist arrivals could reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels this year, depending on the extent of the economic slowdown, the ongoing recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific and the evolution of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, among other factors. UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “A new year brings more reason for optimism for global tourism. UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face …

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Umm Qais in Jordan has been named among the ‘Best Tourism Villages 2022’ by UNWTO for its commitment to innovation and sustainability

Umm Qais, a village in northern Jordan, has been named among the ‘Best Tourism Villages 2022’ by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as a recognition of its commitment to innovation and sustainability. Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Fayez, said that putting the village of Umm Qais on the list is a push factor for tourism in Jordan, and will contribute to empowering local communities, and increasing job opportunities. “This achievement comes within the ministry’s vision, and in compliance with its tourism development plan through the Jordan National Tourism Strategy 2021-2025, which places the tourism sector at the heart of Jordan’s economy and society,” he added. To celebrate the achievement, festivals, art exhibitions, forums, and showcases of industries and handicrafts, will be held in the village. Umm Qais and 135 villages were put forward for consideration by UNWTO Member States based on a set of criteria covering cultural and natural resources, promotion and conservation of cultural resources, economic sustainability, social sustainability, environmental sustainability, tourism development, governance and prioritization of tourism, infrastructure and connectivity, and health, safety, and security. The Best Tourism Villages initiative is the flagship project of the UNWTO Tourism for Rural Development Program. It aims to ensure tourism contributes to reducing regional inequalities in income and development, fighting depopulation, progressing gender equality and women’s and youth empowerment, and advancing innovation and digitalization. It also focuses on improving connectivity, infrastructure, access to finance and investment, innovating in product development and value chain integration, promoting sustainable practices for more efficient use of resources and a reduction of emissions and waste, and enhancing education and skills. The village of Umm Qais lays in the north western corner of Jordan, on the …

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Travel & Tourism sector commits to vision to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030

During COP15 in Montreal, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (the Alliance) announced a new collaboration which will bring together the public and private sectors in a shared vision to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. The vision sees the global Travel & Tourism sector supporting and inspiring governments, businesses, and society to implement the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and help to transform our relationship with the natural world. Signatories to the vision have committed to adopt a nature positive approach to tourism through integrating biodiversity safeguards by reducing carbon emissions, the impact of pollution, the unsustainable use of resources, and by protecting and restoring nature and its wildlife. This collaboration follows the release of WTTC’s ‘Nature Positive Travel & Tourism’ report, which was created jointly with ANIMONDIAL, and focuses on halting and reversing damage to nature so the living world can recover from its current depleted state. This involves minimising ongoing harm and taking positive action to restore nature to produce an overall benefit to biodiversity and help achieve Net Zero. Almost 150 organisations have signed up to the vision so far including international hotel groups, tour operators, travel agents, destinations, and international wildlife charities. Complementing the power of the private sector, UNWTO, as the voice of tourism at the global governance level, will work to bring governments and international organisations on board and announce the shared vision of tourism as a pillar of wildlife conservation and habitat protection. Progress will also be guided by UNWTO’s trusted data and analysis, including groundbreaking Measuring the Sustainability of Tourism (MST) initiative and its growing International Network of Sustainable …

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Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing tourism destination in the G20

Saudi is the fastest growing tourism destination in the G20. Saudi Arabia’s exponential sector growth has seen an extraordinary +121% increase from pre-pandemic international tourism levels as recognized by the newly published UNWTO Tourism Barometer. The substantial tourism recovery recognizes not only Saudi’s considerable investment in tourism, but also the country’s pioneering leadership in future-proofing its tourism sector. Saudi was swift in its response to the pandemic and rolled out vaccines to ensure high immunization rates quickly which accelerated the easing of restrictions and the reopening of the country to tourists. The government also implemented several measures aimed at supporting companies and employees working in the tourism sector thereby mitigating the effects of the pandemic. Tourism is a key pillar of Saudi’s transformative Vision 2030 and the country has ambitious goals to ensure that tourism contributes 10% of the country’s GDP by 2030, with one million jobs created along the way. According to the UNWTO Tourism Barometer, the global tourism sector saw international tourist arrivals almost triple from January to July 2022 (+172%) compared to the same period of 2021. This means the sector recovered to almost 60% of pre-pandemic levels. His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority said: “Recognition of Saudi’s achievements in the UNWTO Tourism Barometer is a key milestone in our extraordinary recovery and much of the success lies in our leadership’s multipronged approach to managing the pandemic and accelerating the sector’s pace of recovery. Saudi opened to the world in September 2019 and through continued leadership and commitment, we have made incomparable progress toward realizing our ambitious Vision 2030 tourism goals. We are …

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Middle East record +157% strong growth: UNWTO

According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism saw a strong rebound in the first five months of 2022, with almost 250 million international arrivals recorded. This compares to 77 million arrivals from January to May 2021 and means that the sector has recovered almost half (46%) of pre-pandemic 2019 levels. The strong growth in the Middle East (+157%) and Africa (+156%) remained 54% and 50% below 2019 levels respectively, and Asia and the Pacific almost doubled arrivals (+94%), though numbers were 90% below 2019, as some borders remained closed to non-essential travel. Here, the recent easing of restrictions can be seen in improved results for April and May. Rising tourism spending out of the major source markets is consistent with the observed recovery. International expenditure by tourists from France, Germany, Italy and the United States is now at 70% to 85% of pre-pandemic levels, while spending from India, Saudi Arabia and Qatar has already exceeded 2019 levels. In terms of international tourism receipts earned in destinations, a growing number of countries – the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Seychelles, Romania, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, Pakistan, Sudan, Türkiye, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Mexico, Croatia and Portugal – have fully recovered their pre-pandemic levels. “The recovery of tourism has gathered pace in many parts of the world, weathering the challenges standing in its way”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. At the same time, he also advises caution in view of the “economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges which could impact the sector in the remainder of 2022 and beyond”.

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UNWTO sets path towards new tourism governance at Jeddah call to action

Public and private leaders have been called on to unite behind the Jeddah Call to Action, a commitment to align with UNWTO’s approach to rethink tourism governance at every level to keep adapting to the challenges faced by tourism as a global driver for recovery. On the back of the 116th session of its Executive Council, held in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UNWTO set down a marker for the future of global tourism. With the pandemic having showed the systemic vulnerabilities of the sector, the United Nations specialized agency called for the construction of a new and reimagined system of governance and financing with the aim of building resilience against future shocks while also making tourism more sustainable. Now is the time to think big. Realize tourism’s unique potential to drive recovery, provide opportunity and build resilience, through better and stronger governance and focusing on jobs, training and education In Jeddah, UNWTO continued with its tradition of complementing the important deliberations of its Executive Council with an open discussion on the biggest challenges and opportunities for the sector. The Forum “Tourism Futures – New Governance and Advocacy”, featured two distinct sessions – “Towards a New Tourism Governance” and “Raising Tourism’s Visibility” outside of the sector. “Now is the time to think big”, said the UNWTO Secretary-General welcoming delegates and speakers. Zurab Pololikashvili stressed the need to “realize tourism’s unique potential to drive recovery, provide opportunity and build resilience, through better and stronger governance and focusing on jobs, training and education”. His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, commented: “We cannot recover backwards. Now is the time to capitalize on this heightened recognition …

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UNWTO focus on inclusivity and sustainability at the Regional Council meeting in Jeddah

The 116th session of the Executive Council was held in Jeddah Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time. It was the largest meeting of the Executive Council since the start of the pandemic, with more than 200 participants and 32 countries represented. Members noted that the meeting came at a pivotal point for the sector as it learns from the lessons of the pandemic while at the same time looking ahead to a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient future. Tourism is united and determined like never before, and UNWTO is guiding it forward, with inclusivity and sustainability at the very heart of all our work “We have faced up to a triple crisis: an ongoing pandemic, a climate emergency and now the return of war in Europe,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said. He stressed that “tourism is united and determined like never before, and UNWTO is guiding it forward, with inclusivity and sustainability at the very heart of all our work”. In his report to Members on achievements since the previous Council meeting six months ago, the Secretary-General illustrated how UNWTO is seizing tourism’s unprecedented relevance, including within the United Nations, in national recovery and growth plans and within the wider public and media conversation. UNWTO laid out its plans to keep advancing the priorities around fostering sustainability, promoting tourism jobs and education, growing tourism investments and accelerating its digital transformation. The Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and host of the Executive Council, Ahmed Al Khateeb, said: “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 …

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Future leaders of tourism workshops ME to be held in Jordan

It has been announced by UNWTO and Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan (MoTA) that they are organizing two in-person workshops that will take place in Amman and Petra addressing the challenges and opportunities for women in tourism scheduled to take place in Amman (9 May 2022) and Petra (11 May 2022). According to the UNWTO, the workshops will be focused on the empowerment of women working in tourism in Jordan, addressing a total of approximately 150 women in both locations with the same agenda, speakers and key topics. During the pandemic, women working in tourism were more affected than men although women account for more roles and contribution in the sector.

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UNWTO opens first regional office in ME

UNWTO has opened its first Regional Office for the Middle East, bringing the United Nations specialized agency closer to its Members and advancing on its commitment to guiding the development of tourism in every global region. At a ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was joined by Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa Al-Saud, Deputy Minister of Tourism for Strategy and Investment, and the Kingdom’s Minister for Tourism, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb to officially open the office. They were also joined by Tourism Ministers from across both Middle East and from every other global region, as well as by leaders from the private sector. The first UNWTO Regional Office will be a centre of conversation, debate and decision-making and bring hope to many people across the region allowing them to enjoy the social and economic benefits only tourism can deliver The new office will serve as a hub for UNWTO to coordinate policy and initiatives across its 13 Member States in the region. This includes a number of tourism projects and products, among them the new “Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO”, launched on the occasion of the opening of the Regional Office. Alongside this, Riyadh will also be home to an expanded UNWTO International Tourism Academy, providing opportunities for people of all backgrounds from across the region, including women and youth. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said, “The first UNWTO Regional Office will be a centre of conversation, debate and decision-making and bring hope to many people across the region allowing them to enjoy the social and economic benefits only tourism can deliver. Work on the office began after the start of the pandemic, proof of our determination …

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Saudi Arabia pledges USD 100 million to proposed World Bank fund to drive Tourism Community Initiative

Saudi Ministry of Tourism, the World Bank, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining their commitment to collaborate on the activation of the Tourism Community Initiative. This collaboration is aimed at building an inclusive and resilient tourism ecosystem that leads to job creation, the development of the private sector, and economic growth through a range of demand-driven investments in line with country needs, development strategies, and global sustainable development objectives. The signing of the MoU took place in Riyadh during the official opening of the first UNWTO regional office outside of the Madrid HQ. His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Minister for Tourism, said: “Tourism is a significant force for good, contributing more than 10 percent of global GDP and supporting one in every ten jobs worldwide. Yet, many countries that have not been able to benefit from tourism to build their economies, communities and livelihoods,” “At last year’s G20 meeting we pressed for a global commitment to support communities with high tourism potential in taking advantage of the opportunities that sustainable and inclusive tourism can offer. That commitment was enshrined in UNWTO’s AlUla Framework for Inclusive Community Development Through Tourism. The collaboration and the envisioned global World Bank fund as mentioned in the signed MoU are aligned with that Framework,” he added. “This initiative has support at the highest levels of all three organization and we are committed to working together towards the advancement of the tourism sector globally” said Issam Abousleiman, Regional Director for the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries at the World Bank. “Cross-border, multi-lateral collaboration is essential to rebuilding and enhancing the global tourism sector, especially after the impact that the …

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