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Saudi Arabia Re-Elected as President of UNWTO for 2024
Saudi Arabia Re-Elected as President of UNWTO for 2024_

Saudi Arabia has been re-elected as the president of the UN World Tourism Organization for 2024 and is due to host the 26th session of the UNWTO General Assembly in 2025, making it the first UN General Assembly to be held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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A Successful First Term

Saudi Arabia’s initial tenure as the president of the UNWTO in 2023 saw the launch of various initiatives focused on partnership, innovation, and progress.

These initiatives, driven by a shared vision and strong commitment among all member states, were instrumental in solidifying the foundation for a resilient tourism sector.

“Our achievements during the first presidency were based on a common vision, cooperation, and firm commitment among all members of the organization,” said Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Executive Council.

Looking Forward to 2024

As Saudi Arabia looks forward to its second term, the focus remains on the aspirations and hopes of all member states. The goal is to implement strategies that ensure the tourism sector continues to serve as a platform for economic exchange and cultural and humanitarian harmony among nations.

The Kingdom’s Dedication to Tourism

Image credit Red Sea Global

Saudi Arabia’s leadership has shown unwavering support for the tourism sector, evident in their provision of significant international initiatives aimed at boosting sustainable development.

In October 2021, during the Saudi Green Initiative, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC). The STGC is set to be a key player in promoting sustainable practices within the tourism industry.

[Image credit: PIF]

The PIF has also launched Asfar, a Saudi Tourism Investment Company, with the goal of boosting tourism in Saudi Arabia and attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2030. 

Asfar’s investments in projects such as Neom, Red Sea Global, Diriyah, and other attractive destinations are expected to enhance service quality and diversify offerings through partnerships and strategic alliances with private companies, marking a significant development in the country’s tourism sector.

An International Research Center

The STGC recently announced its plans to launch an international research center. This center is positioned to act as a top-tier reference body, assisting in accelerating the tourism sector’s transition to climate neutrality.

A Vision for the Future

“The Kingdom, during its presidency of the Executive Council in 2023, took a pioneering role in the tourism sector,” Al-Khateeb said. This was based on a meticulously implemented plan, with global cooperation at its core. It served as a foundation for pioneering initiatives aimed at reimagining the tourism sector.

A Session in the Kingdom

In addition to its re-election, Saudi Arabia has been chosen to host the 26th session of the UNWTO General Assembly in 2025. This will be the first time the UN General Assembly will be held in the Kingdom.

A Global Stage for Saudi Arabia

The General Assembly session in Saudi Arabia is expected to feature a range of activities designed to raise awareness of the role of tourism in promoting sustainable development and peace globally.

“Saudi Arabia is determined to reshape the global tourism scene,” Al-Khateeb said.

The event will also offer the Kingdom an opportunity to showcase its advancements in tourism and cultural sectors and foster international cooperation in these critical arenas.

A Message of Commitment

Image credit Ministry of Tourism

Al-Khateeb took to social media to express his honor at the re-election and the opportunity to host the General Assembly.

“It’s my utmost honor to announce that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been selected to host the 26th General Assembly of the UNWTO in 2025. We will continue to ascend and positively impact the tourism sector in order to achieve the global needs and aspirations,” he wrote.

A Second Term

“The election of Saudi Arabia to chair the Executive Council of the UNWTO for a second term is an affirmation of our commitment to empower the tourism sector globally,” Al-Khateeb said in another post.

A Proud Moment

Echoing Al-Khateeb’s sentiments, Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s vice minister for tourism, expressed her pride at the Kingdom’s achievements.

“As we continue to move forward with vision and purpose, the Kingdom proudly steps into the global spotlight once again,” she said.

Looking Ahead

Image credit KAEC

As Saudi Arabia gears up for its second tenure as the president of the UNWTO and prepares to host the 26th General Assembly, the global tourism scene eagerly anticipates the transformative initiatives and progress to come.

 With a proven track record of leadership and innovation, the Kingdom is well-positioned to steer the tourism sector towards a future marked by resilience, sustainability, and cooperation.

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