MADRID, Spain, (UNWTO) – The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations (UNWTO) has returned to Riyadh to serve as a bridge between public and private leaders as tourism faces up to big challenges of today: high inflation, geopolitical insecurity and the climate emergency.
At the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, taking place this week in the Saudi capital, UNWTO stressed the vital importance of education and investments as twin factors in ensuring tourism fulfils its enormous potential as a driver of sustainable and inclusive development. The high-level participation of UNWTO in this leading private sector forum further highlighted the Organization’s unique and natural ability to connect political ambitions and private sector capacity.
Education: An investment in tourism’s future
Speaking before the Summit’s two main events, the Global leaders’ dialogue and the summit’s opening panel, UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “This year, we brought tourism to the UN General Assembly for the first time and we have also put tourism on the G20 agenda”, adding “that is why I am here: UNWTO can be your voice at the global governance level”.
Carrying forward the momentum of key events held during 2022, including World Tourism Day in Bali, the ministers’ Summit at World Travel Market in London and, most recently, the UNWTO executive council meeting in Marrakesh, the WTTC Summit provided the latest high-level platform for UNWTO to advance its priorities of growing investments in tourism and promoting tourism education and training. As Pololikasvili told participants, skills development is “an investment in the future, to build the tourism sector we need.”
A vision for tourism
Against the backdrop of the WTTC Summit, UNWTO invited all high-level delegates to return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2023 for the official World Tourism Day celebrations (27 September), to be held around the theme of ‘Green Investments’. The hosting of the international day for the sector will further advance the Kingdom’s ambition to become a top emerging destination.
The Kingdom is a strong supporter of UNWTO’s mission to make tourism a driver of sustainable and inclusive development. UNWTO opened its first regional office for the Middle East in May 2021 in Riyadh. Built-in record time and during a pandemic, the office is set to become a regional and global hub of tourism education and training as well as of tourism for rural development.