First UNWTO regional office opens in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Published on : Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The first UNWTO regional office has opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


The UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili, was joined by Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, and Princess Haifa Al-Saud, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Saudi Arabia, to inaugurate the hub that will synchronize initiatives across 13 countries in the Middle East.


“It will be one of the most important places to create new ideas. To execute them. For the middle east region, tourism is becoming more and more important,” said Mr. Pololikashvili.


The opening coincided with the Tourism Recovery Summit which was held by the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism.
The event was attended by global ministers and industry stakeholders, and indicated that the tourism sector is eager to get back to business after a setback of 18 months.


“I think if we take a second to look back at what role tourism did play, it is the job contributor. It is the job creator. It contributes to local economies and villages and towns as well as urban cities. So, moving forwards we support in the recovery of the economy as a whole because the tourism sector contributes to 10% of global GDP,” said Princess Haifa Al-Saud, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Saudi Arabia.


In 2020, the size of the global travel and tourism market declined to 1.27 trillion Euros. It is anticipated to increase to 1.4 trillion this year.


Greece’s minister for Tourism, Harry Theoharis said, “The only way is to somehow establish a common set of rules. So that we need to do is ensure we build from ground up again the framework that will allow it to stand on its own two feet.”


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