Saudi Arabia hosted the official start of the 116th UNWTO Executive Council Meeting, an influential forum that brings together global tourism executives to shape the industry’s future.

As First Vice Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb discussed with global leaders how tourism must be an integral element of a stronger and more sustainable world, and he urged increased collaboration to speed up the sector’s recovery.

His Eminence Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al Khateeb, stated that tourism is a key engine of growth, opportunity, and development, and they are currently at a worldwide crossroads. He added, “Our sector could create 58 million jobs in 2022, to reach more than 330 million, just 1% below pre-pandemic levels. This can only be achieved with strong leadership, a clear vision, and resources.”

“The resurgence of tourism in a number of nations presents a rare opportunity to rethink tourism governance, communications, and beyond. We have a wonderful potential to establish a bright future for the global tourism industry, and we must take advantage of it.”

Adopting the Meeting agenda, Member States commended UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili’s report on current developments in international tourism, as well as UNWTO monitoring reports and instruments developed since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The UNWTO Secretary-General, His Excellency Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Tourism of Côte d’ Ivoire and Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council, His Excellency Siandou Fofana, stated, “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.”

The two-day gathering, held in the historic city of Jeddah, is the largest Executive Council meeting held in person since the outbreak of the pandemic. The meeting exemplified the Executive Council’s commitment to adopting a unified strategy, as it aimed to establish strong collaboration between member states in order to stimulate the global tourism rebound.

Ministers and representatives from 35 Member States of the Executive Council, as well as global tourism leaders and business sector decision-makers, accompanied His Excellency in Jeddah.


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