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Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2016
Terrorism has indeed become a challenge to the development of tourism around the globe, said Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Dr. Taleb D. Rifai. However, he stressed that cooperation within the security domain amongst all nations will help to defeat terror.
He said that tourism in the Middle East had faced many security challenges throughout the years; however, the region always managed to revive its tourism industry, despite the fact. Tourism in the Middle East had witnessed a three percent growth in 2015, noted Dr. Rifai.
He was speaking during an Arab-Spanish Ministerial Round Table on Tourism Development Policies and Strategies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Held as part of the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR), which saw the participation of 164 countries, the round table focused on the future of tourism in MENA and how to tackle the various conflicts, as well as, an unclear economic future plaguing the region.
In the opening of the roundtable, Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Ybanez Rubio, said that, like MENA, the Mediterranean region had been under a lot of security pressure recently, stressing that, it was important to cooperate with various regional organisations to address the matter.
Issues such as migration, unemployment, and the current dire state of the economy in the region, required swift actions and solutions, to bring tourism development to the forefront of the agendas of countries in the Mediterranean, said Rubio.
The roundtable is organised by Casa Arabe (Arab House) and the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
Arab officials from Kuwait, the UAE, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Algeria, shared similar views regarding the importance of countering terrorism as a tool to develop tourism in the MENA region, saying that, this was an international obligation.