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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host the 116th Executive Board of the United Nations World Tourism Organization from June 7 to 8 in Jeddah, with around 180 participants from all over the world.

The two-day event will discuss all necessary measures to implement the Council’s decisions and recommendations to support the sector.

An Executive Board session will take place on the first day of the event, followed by a thematic session called The Future of Tourism – New Governance and Advocacy on the second day.

Despite being hit hard after the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism sector has proven resilient, with international tourist arrivals in some regions beginning to equal and even exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to the World Tourism Organization.

The board will identify a potential driver for sustaining the industry in the post-pandemic era by exploring the challenges and opportunities that govern global communications.

To address these concerns, the thematic session will include two distinct tracks. The first is titled “Towards a New Tourism Governance: Lessons for a Resilient Future,” which will include tourism ministers from around the world and high-level representatives from international organizations.

The second session, “Increasing Tourism Visibility”, aims to enhance political and public recognition of the sector in a discussion led by ministers and prominent figures from online and audio media, marketing and business.

The thematic session opens a discussion to think big and reimagine what the tourism sector needs in governance, financing and advocacy.

In proof of its importance, the World Tourism Organization considers the tourism sector to be one of the most important aspects of economic growth and a fundamental pillar of development.

Scan results

The results of a survey conducted by YouGov, commissioned by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, found that Saudis are the most optimistic about the likelihood of taking either a vacation or a business trip abroad in the next six months, reflecting the strong performance of the Saudi economy.

The Future of Tourism survey explored travel trends and consumer expectations in 11 countries around the world.

Nearly 14,000 people were surveyed across China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.

The study also showed that travelers are calling for a change in tourism as the sector shows recovery from the fallout from the pandemic, with 44 percent of respondents wanting greater coordination of health protocols and the use of technology to facilitate travel.

While 34 percent called for greater sustainability of the sector, 33 percent called for more financial protection for travelers, according to the statement.

“The Survey of the Future of Tourism shows that the public wants us to learn the lessons of the pandemic and make changes that put health, sustainability and better use of technology at the core of future tourism,” said Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al. -Fiance.

The survey found that attitudes of travelers have changed after the pandemic, with 55 percent of respondents now likely to travel domestically.

The decline in enthusiasm for travel over the next six months is attributed to economic instability and rising prices.

By aligning vision, leadership and resources, we have been able to create a new tourism paradigm.

Ahmed Al-Khatib, Saudi Minister of Tourism

The biggest impact was seen on business trips, with 18 percent of respondents considering it likely or very likely to travel internationally for business.

However, 42 percent of survey respondents said they were either likely or very likely to travel internationally for a vacation.

Tourism in Saudi Arabia

Recently, Saudi Arabia advanced 10 ranks to 33 globally in the Travel and Tourism Development Index issued by the World Economic Forum.

“Saudi Arabia is a completely new tourist destination. We opened our doors to international tourism right before the pandemic, which is why we are ready and able to think and act in new and different ways,” Al-Khatib said.

“By aligning vision, leadership and resources, we have been able to create a new tourism model that is more flexible and more sustainable in terms of design,” the minister added.

Tourism plays an important role in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan for economic diversification.

As a result, the Saudi authorities plan to invest up to $200 billion and welcome 100 million visitors by 2030. Vision 2030 aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP to 10 percent.

Part of the kingdom’s strategy includes creating job opportunities and building additional tourism facilities, including hotels.