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UNWTO Adopts Saudi, Spanish Proposal to Support Global Tourism

UNWTO Adopts Saudi, Spanish Proposal to Support Global Tourism

Saturday, 4 December, 2021 - 07:30
Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Asharq Al-Awsat

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) adopted on Friday a joint proposal by Saudi Arabia and Spain to form a UN task force to “redesign tourism for the future,” especially in developing countries.

The task force, co-chaired by Spain and Saudi Arabia, will include representatives of the member states of the UNWTO from all regions of the world.

“During the past few months, I met with more than 100 tourism ministers, where we agreed on the vital role that tourism plays in the economy and the importance of the sector’s recovery to advance the economy to pre-pandemic levels,” said Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb.

“Accelerating the recovery will require a level of international coordination and cooperation that has been absent for much of the past two years,” added Al-Khateeb.

“The UNWTO has a critical part to play, and this requires improvements to its working methods so that they become more effective and more transparent,” he noted.

“This new task force will spearhead these efforts and drive this agenda vigorously forward.”

Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said: “We need to strengthen the agenda and workings of the UNWTO, to provide the right foundations for the future of tourism, to ensure real, meaningful, and measurable benefits for member states and for all those who depend on tourism for their livelihoods, as well as to facilitate closer working with the private sector.”

For his part, Najib Balala, Kenyan minister of tourism, said: “Tourism is a critical part of economies, especially in developing countries.

“The pandemic has demonstrated a severe gap in the ability of the UNWTO to support and facilitate international coordination and collaboration for the benefit of the sector globally. The agreement to establish a new task force is an important step forward.

“I look forward to working with this new group to accelerate the recovery and advance this important agenda,” added Balala.

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