In a sweeping turn of events, the heart of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, stepped into the limelight, welcoming the world’s most influential tourism leaders and luminaries. This rendezvous in Riyadh wasn’t just any gathering but marked World Tourism Day 2023, a pivotal event that heralds the dawn of a new era for global tourism.
Positioned under the emblematic banner, “Tourism and Green Investments,” this year’s theme stresses the imperative need for harmony in growth. But it’s not just about numbers; it’s about fostering mutual respect, nurturing economic viability, and sewing the fabric of social prosperity in a rapidly evolving world.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 mirrors this global sentiment, casting tourism and sustainable development as its linchpins. And why not? With Saudi leading the G20 pack in post-pandemic tourism recovery, its role as the host nation couldn’t be more fitting. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global tourism arena is set to touch a staggering $9.5 trillion GDP contribution this year alone.
His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, eloquently articulated the nation’s aspirations. “We’re on the brink of revolutionizing global tourism, steering it towards sustainable growth, job proliferation, and economic tenacity. Tourism is more than a business; it’s a movement that promotes understanding, erects bridges of camaraderie, and secures our cultural and environmental legacy,” he emphasized.
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, echoed these sentiments. “Our focus this World Tourism Day centers around the pivotal role of investing in a holistic sector, encompassing people, our planet, and prosperity. It’s heartening to see Saudi Arabia’s commitment, turning the wheels of change, emphasizing innovation and education as pivotal growth catalysts,” he said.
Four years after opening its majestic gates to the world, Saudi Arabia remains unwavering in its dedication. From connecting its people to the world to fostering global relationships, cultivating the next generation of hospitality maestros and spearheading international investment ventures, the Kingdom is on a trajectory to redefine global tourism.
World Tourism Day 2023, by all metrics, is historic. The most significant congregation in its 43-year legacy, the event is embellished with sessions, discussions, and workshops helmed by global leaders. Attendees are also invited to a grand soiree at Riyadh’s iconic UNESCO Heritage site, Diriyah, underlining the monumental significance of the occasion.
Saudi Arabia’s rise to the Chair of the UNWTO for 2023 isn’t serendipity; it’s a testament to its unwavering commitment to the global tourism realm. Riyadh’s rapid emergence as the nexus for significant business events underscores its pivotal role in the grand narrative of international tourism.
Written by: My Thanh Pham
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