The UAE’s Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq, has called for boosting co-operation among the Middle East countries to build a sustainable and innovative tourism sector that can support their economies in the long run.
Mr bin Touq, who is also the head of Emirates Tourism Council, said this can be achieved by launching innovative projects that are compatible with the identities of each country.
“The Middle East region boasts several unique tourism advantages and elements that make it a key player in the global tourism landscape, and a sustainable destination for tourists from all around the world," he said.
“Countries in the Middle East need to enhance co-operation … to reformulate tourism goals and policies …
"There also can be a more effective role for the UNWTO [UN World Tourism Organisation] in supporting these efforts, be it through training, marketing or financing."
The minister is leading a UAE delegation to the 25th edition of the UNWTO general assembly in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, between October 16 and 20.
The Emirates is attending the session in its capacity as UNWTO’s vice president for the Middle East region.
Mr bin Touq said the UAE is keen to support all global efforts to shape the future of the tourism sector.
He called for more effective mechanisms that contribute to enhancing tourists' movement around the world and providing them with unique experiences.
Mr bin Touq spoke of the need to make room for greater participation by the private sector in the launch of innovative tourism services that rely entirely on technology.
Global tourism movement had an 84 per cent recovery from pre-pandemic levels, as about 700 million international tourists travelled between January and July 2023, with 43 per cent year-on-year growth, according to a report released by the UNWTO in July.
The Middle East region experienced growth in the number of arrivals during the same period, exceeding pre-pandemic levels by 20 per cent.