UNWTO Opens First UNWTO Office for the Middle East


Posted by JUSTOURS

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations agency, has  opened its first regional office in the Middle East and outside the Madrid headquarters.

The opening ceremony in Riyadh was attended by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and Saudi Minister for Tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb. The Organization chose Riyadh to host its firs UNWTO described Saudi Arabia as one of its most active members during the past three years.

-ever regional office following the Kingdom’s development of its tourism sector, noting the great Saudi support made during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Middle East, meanwhile,  have agreed to work on the creation of harmonized protocols to support the resumption of regional travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement by the UNWTO, the 13- member of the UNWTO Regional Commission for the Middle East met in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the day after the United Nations specialised agency for tourism celebrated the official opening of its first Regional Office in the city.

The UNWTO described Saudi Arabia as one of its most active members during the past three years.


Pololikashvili said that the first Regional Office will be a centre of conversation, debate, and decision-making, and bring hope to many people across the region, allowing them to enjoy the social and economic benefits only tourism can deliver.

“Work on the office began after the start of the pandemic, proof of our determination and the strong support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

High on the agenda was adopting a coordinated approach to developing unified protocols for safe and responsible travel throughout the region.

The UNWTO Middle East Member States have agreed to work together on core initiatives intended to harmonize travel protocols and reinvigorate regional travel through: Developing a common framework to reopen international borders; creating approved Public Health Corridors between destinations to promote specific tourism experiences and relaunch hotspot tourism destinations; and implementing a common digital health solution to facilitate travellers’ experience through interoperability and blockchain as technologies to help develop common standards.

They also agreed to be working to implement the IATA-UNWTO destination tracker, a monitoring system to track health data, regulations and movements across borders and to protect the health and welfare of the region’s 450 million inhabitants.

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