Saudi Arabia hosts UNWTO Commission
The 46th meeting of the UNWTO Commission for the Middle East took place last month, with Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, participating from Al-Baha, one of the distinctive tourism destinations announced as part of the "Saudi Summer" programme launched in the Kingdom.The meeting was held virtually with the participation of the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili, ministers and officials from Member States, representatives of Arab and International Organizations, and the UNWTO Regional Director for the Middle East, Basma Al-Mayman. The meeting, rescheduled from April this year, was convened in order for all relevant parties to discuss efforts of how the Middle East and global tourism sector can overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Al-Khateeb said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers the UNWTO as one our primary stakeholders, and we are working with it on a number of projects, including a study on women’s contribution to the tourism sector in the Middle East, which is of significant importance as we progress towards achieving our development goals. We are aiming to host more meetings and conferences with the UNWTO in the Kingdom so we can continue these important efforts whilst highlighting the Kingdom’s amazing tourism sites and destinations once it is safe to do so. "We are developing tangible action to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, support the tourism sector and integrate it within economic recovery programmes while promoting the highest standards of safety for travellers. To this end, we will work with our partners in the UNWTO and WTTC, as well as through our work as G20 President, to continue these multilateral efforts towards a global tourism recovery plan."