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Tourism leaders meet in Saudi Arabia to redesign the future of the industry

Tourism leaders meet in Saudi Arabia to redesign the future of the industry
October 27, 2021

150 Travel and Tourism leaders from international governments and businesses are meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for the ‘Redesigning Tourism Summit – Laying Foundations for Future Success’.  

The event recognises the vital role the tourism sector plays in rebuilding the world's economy and will be held as part of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), an international platform bringing together over 3,000 global leaders, investors and innovators.

The fifth edition of FII, Saudi Arabia’s annual investment forum, is taking place between 26th and 28th October 2021 under the theme of ‘Invest in Humanity.’

Speaking at the FII, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Tourism His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb advised "Tourism is a vital sector – and it's growth is important to economies globally. More than 330 million people depend on tourism for their livelihoods. Prior to the pandemic, tourism accounted for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created across the world.

"The sector was hard-hit by COVID – with 62 million jobs lost. We must strengthen global coordination, to push tourism to the forefront of government agendas to create opportunities and sector resilience in the face of future challenges.

"Economies will not recover until tourism recovers. And that means we must unite to redesign tourism based on shared principles that define the future we want to see. I invite you all to join us, to accelerate the recovery and redesign tourism."

Led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the Summit will endorse five 'Principles for Redesigning Tourism':

  1. Tourism is a vital sector that shapes societies and builds economies
  2. Countries will not recover until tourism recovers
  3. To thrive, tourism needs effective public-private coordination and collaboration
  4. Tourism must be part of the solution to climate change
  5. Everyone has a stake in the future of tourism

Arnold Donald, Chair of the World Travel and Tourism Council, and President and Chief Executive Carnival Corporation PLC welcomed the Principles for Redesigning Tourism on behalf of the private sector and advised "It is of vital importance that as we reset the Travel and Tourism industry, we do it purposefully and collaboratively. I represent over 200 private sector CEOs – many of whom have called for greater collaboration with governments to ensure a focus on supporting business, enabling seamless travel, and strengthened support for key tourism destinations who need it most.

“I am pleased to support the Principles for Redesigning Tourism which will ultimately strengthen the tourism industry and its livelihoods.”

Julia Simpson, President and Chief Executive of the World Travel and Tourism Council added "Travel and Tourism is a driving force behind the global economy. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic the Kingdom brought public and private sectors together, under their G20 Presidency. Today, they are bringing the leaders of Travel and Tourism to reignite the sector."

Gloria Guevara, Chief Special Advisor to the Saudi Arabian Minister of Tourism shared "It's great to see the tourism sector at the forefront of this important conference with thousands of public private leaders from the financial world, including investors and decision makers

"The biggest challenge our sector had last year was the lack of international coordination. The Principles recognise critical issues – prioritising international collaboration to ensure that tourism is better for people, nature, communities and our society." 

His Excellency Al Khateeb concluded "COVID-19 has had a devastating and disproportionate impact on developing countries - many of which rely heavily on tourism's contribution to their economies and survival. Developed countries will be impacted if we don't create jobs for the most needed. Tourism contributes to this growth by providing education and opportunities, while reducing poverty.

"The Principles for Redesigning Tourism will help us to jointly shape our future, for existing and new destinations. For our present and our future.

"I would like to thank the FII for putting tourism at the forefront of this year's 5th Anniversary agenda – recognising the vital role the sector plays in rebuilding our world".

The Principles for Redesigning Tourism:

1. TOURISM IS A VITAL SECTOR THAT SHAPES SOCIETIES AND BUILDS ECONOMIES. Around the world more than 300 million people depend on tourism and the wealth that it generates for their livelihoods. Tourism is an enabler of socioeconomic development, job creation, poverty reduction and a driver of prosperity. It provides unique opportunities to women, minorities, rural communities, and youth.

2. COUNTRIES WILL NOT RECOVER UNTIL TOURISM RECOVERS. Prior to the pandemic tourism accounted for 1 in 4 of all new jobs created across the world. COVID-19 has resulted in a 18.5% YOY fall in employment, and the sector's contribution to global GDP reduced by 49.1% in 2020.The impact on developing countries – many of which rely heavily on tourism's contribution to their economies – has been disproportionate. 

3. TO THRIVE, TOURISM NEEDS EFFECTIVE COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION. The sector is vulnerable to shocks, due to its uniquely interconnected and interrelated nature. We need greater international collaboration and empowered international organisations, to reposition the tourism sector more prominently on a global scale. This would ensure an integrated and coordinated approach that maximises the sector's contribution to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

4. TOURISM MUST BE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE. Tourism currently contributes 8% to global greenhouse gas emissions, and the sector is forecast to grow in the coming decades. We need to work together to reduce our contribution to global emissions, and support the millions of SMEs that make up 80% of the global sector in protecting the planet whilst continuing to provide jobs and growth. 

5. EVERYONE HAS A STAKE IN THE FUTURE OF TOURISM. The critical importance of this industry means that we all have a stake in its future. We must work together – governments and private sector, developed and developing nations – to strengthen tourism organisations and increase representation in forums like the G20 so that we deliver the future for tourism that we all want and need.

Image top: Saudi Arabia Minister of Tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb at Future Investment Initiative Summit  Riyadh

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