A new day for united global tourism has started at the IFI
- Saudi Arabia and Spain join forces to rethink post-COVID tourism, including through UNWTO.
- HE Ahmed Al Khateeb – Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- HE Maria Reyes Maroto – Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Kingdom of Spain.
The Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Saudi Arabia took place today with the participation of 6,000 financial executives.
The FII Institute is a global non-profit foundation with an investment arm and a single objective: Impact on Humanity. Committed to ESG principles, he encourages the brightest minds and transforms ideas into concrete solutions in 5 areas of intervention: AI and robotics, education, health and sustainable development.
For the first time ever, travel and tourism was another focus and played a major role in this world conference hosted by Saudi Arabia. 150 major leaders of the travel and tourism industry were present, including more than 10 sitting ministers.
The UNWTO has lost its credibility and importance since 2018. While UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvil organized his own event in Barcelona deliberately on the same day and with low attendance, in Saudi Arabia, the leaders came together to shape the future of UNWTO.
The result was an agreement on Saudi Arabia and Spain join forces to rethink post-COVID tourism, including through UNWTO.
This agreement was signed by HE Ahmed Al Khateeb from Saudi Arabia and HE Maria Reyes Maroto from Spain. The UNWTO has its headquarters in Madrid. The deal also ends rumors that Saudi Arabia wants to move the UNWTO headquarters to Riyadh. Saudi Arabia is now a team ready to take the lead in shaping the future of global tourism and the organization behind it – UNWTO.
Joint statement by Saudi Arabia and Spain
1. Today we had an excellent working meeting on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, where we identified a number of areas where Spain and Saudi Arabia can play a leading role to revitalize the tourism sector after the pandemic, for example to become one of the pillars of the global economic recovery. The tourism sector needs strong leadership and coordination to get governments and private sector partners to work more closely together. We need to build a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive tourism sector that ensures long-term prosperity.
2. Saudi Arabia has played and continues to play a leading role in the international coordination of the sector, starting with its G20 presidency in 2020. The Kingdom has built on this with a number of important initiatives. , including a $ 100 million grant to the world. Bank for the Tourism Community Initiative, the Best Villages program, in partnership with the UNWTO, and now the Sustainable Tourism Global Center. Saudi Arabia has worked with international partners to put together a program that aims to rethink the future of tourism and address the underlying challenges facing the industry.
3. During the COVID crisis, Spain has been at the forefront of international efforts to restore mobility, having been one of the first to adopt the EU’s COVID digital certificate. Spain is the second most visited country in the world, receiving 83.7 million international visitors in 2019. It is renowned for its destinations and infrastructure and for its world-class tourism businesses. Spain is a world leader in tourism, a founding member of UNWTO, and is now investing in a new complex that will house the organization’s headquarters.
4. The two countries agree to deepen their cooperation on three key issues to develop tourism: first, the promotion of sustainability, which will be essential to ensure its future viability as a growth sector and its contribution to a carbon-free global economy, and strengthening social inclusion in the host country. communities. Second, collaborate in digital transformation, create smart and connected destinations, optimize the flow and exchange of information and knowledge to accelerate the transformation of the tourism sector. Third, Spain and Saudi Arabia will work together to promote and develop training human resources to build the capacity of people working in this sector, from vocational training to higher education and specialization.
5. Tourism is a vital global sector. And today’s deal will ensure that two of the industry’s leaders work even more closely together for the benefit of all who depend on them.