Saudi Arabia becomes 1st Gulf state to chair UNWTO Executive Council

Saudi Arabia has become the first GCC country to chair the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council. The election took place at the UNWTO’s 117th Executive Council meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco.

The move follows Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic efforts to cooperate on improving the global tourism sector and increasing its resilience. The term for the Chair of the Executive Council is one year and Saudi Arabia will hold the position for the entirety of 2023, according to a recent press release.

Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, who will represent Saudi Arabia, said: “Saudi Arabia is honoured to have been elected Chair of the UNWTO Executive Council. We firmly believe in the mission of UNWTO and look forward to working with all countries to advance the global tourism sector.”

Al Khateeb continued: “At the heart of the UNWTO is a desire to promote tourism as a catalyst of economic development, which Saudi Arabia wholeheartedly supports. We have committed $800 billion of government investment into the Saudi tourism industry by 2030. Our imperative is that the development we seek, both as a nation and globally, is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.”

Previously, the Kingdom served as First Vice-Chair of the Executive Council, and will now replace the outgoing Chair, Côte d' Ivoire. As Chair, Saudi Arabia will set the agenda for all meetings, ensuring that it captures the most pressing issues and concerns for the tourism industry. Moreover, it will facilitate and moderate meetings effectively chairing the dialogue and encouraging actionable outcomes.

The UNWTO is the leading international tourism organisation, serving as a global forum for tourism policy issues. It is charged with promoting and developing tourism to foster international peace and understanding, economic development, and international trade.




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