UAE heads 44th meeting of UNWTO Commission for the Middle East in Egypt

SHARM EL SHEIKH, The UAE headed the 44th meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, Commission for the Middle East, which began in the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheikh, with the participation of tourism ministers and officials from Middle Eastern countries and a senior UNWTO delegation, headed by Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO.

Mohammed Khamis bin Hareb Al Muhairi, Ministry Under-Secretary and Advisor to the Minister of Economy for Tourism Affairs, was elected as chairman of the commission, during the meetings of the UNWTO General Assembly that were held in China in September.

The 44th meeting of the commission aims to address its plans and strategies to promote tourism development in the Middle East and monitor the UNWTO’s work and technical projects, as well as to discuss relevant issues and challenges and how to deal with them in the future.

The meeting will witness presentations on the reports of regional sub-commissions concerned with tourism and sustainability, tourism and competitiveness, statistics, and the “Tourism Satellite Account.”

Al Muhairi highlighted the importance of the tourism sector in achieving economic development, as it makes up around 8.9 percent of the GDP of the region’s countries, with a total value of US$224 billion. The sector also provides 7.4 percent of the region’s employment opportunities or around 5.5 million jobs, he added.

He noted that despite these significant figures, they are still less than the international average, and he called on the region’s countries to cooperate in the development and sustainability of this sector.

Al Muhairi also encouraged the UNWTO to continue supporting Middle Eastern countries and implement more initiatives, projects and activities to strengthen the touristic sector, as well as to highlight issues related to tourism, such as security and safety, the sector’s economic, environmental and social impact, and sustainable development.

During the coming period, there will be a greater focus on serving and developing the region’s tourism sector, most notably by promoting innovation, tourism development, future foresight and crisis management, as well as training staff who work in the sector, he said in conclusion.

Source: Emirates News Agency