The Saudi capital Riyadh hosted last week several members from the travel industry from both public and private sectors at the Tourism Sector Recovery Summit, which was held to discuss solutions to promote the tourism sector after the crisis it suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The summit saw the announcement of the establishment of the International Fund for Comprehensive Tourism and the establishment of a regional office of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Saudi Arabia. According to the Kingdom’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia, in cooperation with the World Bank, will allocate USD100 million for the fund which will support global tourism growth in collaboration with the World Bank.
The participants at the summit represented 16 tourism ministers from around the world along with private sector leaders in the fields of aviation, hospitality and cruises, as well as industry-related bodies. The participants shared experiences, ideas and opportunities through bilateral panel discussions and meetings in pursuit of a more sustainable and flexible tourism future.
The UNWTO Middle East Member States agreed to work together on core initiatives intended to harmonize travel protocols and reinvigorate regional travel through developing a common framework to reopen international borders; creating approved Public Health Corridors between destinations to promote specific tourism experiences and relaunch hotspot tourism destinations; implementing a common digital health solution to facilitate travellers’ experience through interoperability and blockchain as technologies to help develop common standards; and working to implement the IATA-UNWTO destination tracker, a monitoring system to track health data, regulations and movements across borders and to protect the health and welfare of the region’s 450 million inhabitants.