Tag Archives: UNWTO

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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Saudi Ministry of Tourism convenes UNWTO to discuss restart of tourism

His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, co-hosted a virtual meeting of the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee with the organization’s Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The meeting’s participants, which include UNWTO Member States and representatives from global industry organizations, discussed the importance of multilateral cooperation and tangible action to facilitate the safe and seamless resumption of international travel. These efforts will support the sector’s recovery by building confidence among travelers and tourism businesses. His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb asserted the Kingdom’s leadership in coordinating and shaping recovery strategies: “As the global community continues to navigate the effects of the pandemic, we must find new and innovative solutions to bring our countries into the new normal, while paving the way to recovery, and ensuring that no country is left behind. This should be based on collective, coordinated and tangible action to ensure that as we build back, we emerge stronger and more resilient.”

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UNWTO and Google host Tourism Acceleration Program in Middle East

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in partnership with Google hosted their second edition of the global Tourism Acceleration Program in the Middle East region, a program designed to boost innovation and digital transformation in the tourism sector in each of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt by providing key insights and market intelligence for effective tourism planning. The online event was attended by UNWTO Member States’ tourism ministers, top travel associations, tourism boards and Destination Marketing Organizations from across the region. Participants gained first-hand access to UNWTO and Google’s insights of the tourism sector and developed new strategies for a more sustainable recovery. UNWTO is proud to partner with Google to bring the power of innovation and digital transformation to tourism across the Middle East region. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO said, “UNWTO is proud to partner with Google to bring the power of innovation and digital transformation to tourism across the Middle East region. The effective use of data can help destinations of all sizes grow their tourism sectors, while at the same time providing key insights into how tourism can be managed responsibly and inclusively, with sustainability as the driving force.” Commenting on the program, Lino Cattaruzzi, Google’s Managing Director in Middle East, said: “Digital skills are now more critical than ever and they will be vital in helping our region recover more quickly and more sustainably. Today’s acceleration program is an opportunity for tourism boards and businesses in Middle East  to prepare and find new ways to engage with would-be travelers. We remain optimistic about the future of the travel and tourism sector, and about the role that Google and technology can play to help it recover …

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Engaging communities in tourism

Natalia Bayona

Natalia Bayona, Director Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments- UNWTO said, “Looking at World tourism day this year there are two areas they are focusing on in terms of rural development. First is development of rural areas is part of teaching opportunities to the community and secondly to identity and heritage of the destination bringing rural experiences as a way to preserve heritage and added value. She also reiterated that at this point of time social distance is important hence nature, adventure and cultural tourism are other ways to diversify. She further stated that in creating innovation in tourism sector with technologies they signed an agreement with google arts and culture where you can multiply rural territories to spread the voice and promote as emerging destinations.”

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UNWTO to establish regional office in Riyadh, KSA

His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister for Tourism announced that the establishment of the UNWTO Regional Office for the Middle East in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia has been approved by UNWTO Executive Council members. The announcement was made in a statement at the 112th session of the UNWTO Executive Council, hosted in Georgia, Tbilisi. The new UNWTO Regional Office will serve as a hub for the UNWTO to 13 countries in the Middle East. The office will focus on building long-term growth for the sector and human capital development in the travel and tourism sector in the region. The office will also include a dedicated Statistics Center whose objective is to become the leading authority on tourism statistics for the region. In the statement, His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb reiterated his continued support to the UNWTO. “International cooperation and the role of the UNWTO are more important than ever. I am therefore very excited that Saudi Arabia will become home to the first ever UNWTO Regional Office, which aims to support growth at a national and regional level. We hope this will provide a model for future collaborations around the world. Tourism not only boosts economies, it also builds bridges between cultures and enriches lives. It is one of the only sectors that is able to drive such tangible transformative change, on so many levels.” His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb further highlighted the importance of tourism within the Kingdom’s vision and national strategy. “In Saudi Arabia, we are very aware of the transformative power of tourism on the economy and people. We may still be a young destination, but tourism is at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future,” said …

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WTM partners with ITIC to launch ‘tourism investment summit’

WTM LOGO

WTM London and ITIC will come up together to host a tourism investment summit that will help recover businesses and restore travellers’ confidence after the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference aims to explain the financial mechanisms that allow travel companies to recover and rebuild. Investment experts will also give guidelines on how to prepare for any other future global disaster. Dr. Taleb Rifai, Chairman of ITIC and former Secretary-General of UNWTO said, “It is a great honour and a privilege for ITIC to partner with WTM, the greatest and most impactful Tourism Trade Show in the world. It will focus to prepare a comprehensive tourism recovery plan, to rebuild destinations, encourage innovation and investment, and rethink the tourism sector”. Ibrahim Ayoub, Group CEO, MD and Organiser of ITIC said, “We are thrilled to partner with WTM for our third tourism investment conference where Ministers, Policy Makers, Tourism Leaders and Projects Owners will engage with Investors and Private Equity firms to discuss and explore new financial mechanisms and alliances in sustainable investments in the industry and readying for market recovery in the post COVID-19 era”. Simon Press says, “Our virtual event provides us with the opportunity to work closely with the global travel professionals and ensure we can support the industry in recovering, rebuilding and innovating as quickly and efficiently as possible. “WTM Virtual will embrace travel professional’s communities around the globe. We’re very excited to provide to our clients and visitors the opportunity to attend both shows: live and virtual this year”.

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Saudi Arabia hosts 46th meeting of UNWTO Commission for the Middle East

46th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission for the Middle East was successfully concluded, with His Excellency Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, participating from Al-Baha, one of the distinctive tourism destinations announced as part of the ‘Saudi Summer’ programme launched in the Kingdom last week. The meeting was held virtually with the participation of His Excellency the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, ministers and officials from Member States, representatives of Arab and International Organizations, and the UNWTO Regional Director for the Middle East, Basma Al-Mayman. Speaking during the meeting, His Excellency Al-Khateeb said, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers the UNWTO as one our primary stakeholders, and we are working with it on a number of projects, including a study on women’s contribution to the tourism sector in the Middle East, which is of significant importance as we progress towards achieving our development goals. We are aiming to host more meetings and conferences with the UNWTO in the Kingdom so we can continue these important efforts whilst highlighting the Kingdom’s amazing tourism sites and destinations once it is safe to do so.” “We are developing tangible action to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, support the tourism sector and integrate it within economic recovery programmes whilst promoting the highest standards of safety for travellers. To this end, we will work with our partners in the UNWTO and WTTC, as well as through our work as G20 President, to continue these multilateral efforts towards a global tourism recovery plan,” he concluded.

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UNWTO calls for responsible restart of tourism sector

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released new data measuring the impact of COVID-19 on the sector, as tourism slowly restarts in an increasing number of countries. UNWTO emphasises the need for responsibility, safety and security as restrictions on travel are lifted. The Organization also reiterates the need for credible commitment to support tourism as a pillar for recovery. After several months of unprecedented disruption, the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer reports that the sector is beginning to restart in some areas, most notably in Northern Hemisphere destinations. At the same time, restrictions on travel remain in place in a majority of global destinations, and tourism remains one of the worst affected of all sectors. Against this backdrop, UNWTO has reiterated its call for governments and international organizations to support tourism, a lifeline for many millions and a backbone of economies. Restarting tourism in a responsible way a priority. The gradual lifting of restrictions in some countries, together with the creation of travel corridors, the resumption of some international flights and enhanced safety and hygiene protocols, are among the measures being introduced by governments as they look to restart tourism.

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UNWTO joins President Sánchez for revival of Spain’s tourism sector

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has welcomed Spain’s readiness to lead the way in restarting tourism. The head of the United Nations specialised agency attended a meeting with Spanish President Pedro Sánchez in Madrid to learn about his government’s work to ease restrictions on travel introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, UNWTO was invited to speak during the presentation of the restart plan as Spain looks to harness the power of the tourism sector to drive wider economic recovery. As well as being one of the world’s leading tourism destinations, Spain is also the host country of UNWTO and one of its firmest allies in the mission to make the sector a cornerstone of national and international sustainable development. COVID-19 hit Spain hard, bringing tourism to a near-standstill. Now, under President Sánchez’s leadership, the government is working to restart tourism, providing a lifeline for the millions of people across Spain who depend on the sector for their livelihoods. The government has announced will soon open its borders to tourists from within the European Union. At the same time, the Spanish government has announced a support package worth 4.2 billion Euros for tourism, a sector that supports millions of jobs across the country.

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