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Saudi Arabia calls for international cooperation to safely restart tourism at UN meeting
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 20 - 01 - 2021

Saudi Arabia stressed the importance for the international community to work together to ensure the full recovery of the sector especially as vaccines campaigns are accelerated globally. The Kingdom made this call this week in the meeting of the 113th Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The meeting reviewed a number of issues related to the organization's efforts to serve the international tourism sector in cooperation with member states. This included the efforts to help the recovery of the sector by standardizing international protocols to lift restrictions on the movement of travelers, and continued coordination to support the private sector.
Saudi Arabia expressed its appreciation to Spain for hosting of the 113th Executive Council meeting and commended the efforts of the UN World Tourism Organization geared towards the development and recovery of the tourism sector worldwide.
The Kingdom plays an active role in the organization and is a member of various governing and technical bodies of the UNWTO such as the Global Tourism Crisis Committee, the E-Learning Committee, and the International Code Development Committee for the Protection of Tourists.
Haifa Al Jedea, general supervisor of International Cooperation at the Ministry of Tourism, said, "Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to cooperation and partnerships with international organizations like the UN World Tourism Organization, and we are delighted that the UNWTO is able to recognize the Kingdom's tourism priorities and ambitions through selecting Riyadh as its regional hub. The UNWTO Middle East Regional Office will open and be fully functioning in the first half of this year."
Al Jedea went on to say that, "the UNWTO office will play an essential role in building up the sector not only for the region, but also for surrounding countries in Africa and Asia. The collaboration with the UNWTO to establish this office underlines the Kingdom's commitment to international cooperation aimed at supporting the tourism sector regionally and globally."
Tourism is a fundamental pillar of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which aims to raise the contribution of the tourism sector to 10% of GDP, in addition to creating one million new job opportunities by 2030. The country also seeks to be a leading global tourism destination, hosting 100 million visits annually by 2030.
This will be achieved in partnership with the international community, as Saudi Arabia works with other countries to help build a thriving global tourism industry and develop sustainable tourism destinations.
As a modern tourism destination, the country is focusing on sustainability from the start, representing one key offering that will help attract tourists from all over the world to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia foresees a positive outlook for the tourism sector in 2021, with increasing hopes for the reopening of tourism from outside the country, in addition to the revitalization of domestic tourism through the Saudi Tourism Authority, which presented a successful season during the summer, and recently launched its Winter campaign. — SG


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