A Qatar delegation headed by Secretary-General from the Qatar National Tourism Council and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar Al Baker, took part in the Tourism Recovery Summit held on 26 May in Riyadh.
The summit was attended by Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, a number of tourism ministers representing different countries, as well as key figures from the public and private sectors.
Sector recovery and sustainability were therefore the main topics under discussion at the Summit.
Al Baker had several high-level meetings, discussing the way forward for the sector. He met with H E Ahmed bin Aqil Al Khateeb, Tourism Minister of Saudi Arabia and H H Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al Saud, Deputy Minister of Tourism for Strategy and Investment.
The parties discussed bilateral relations between their countries, with a focus on tourism. Al-Baker also met with Pololikashvili to discuss QNTC’s continued collaboration with the UNWTO. Previous efforts resulted in the launch of several initiatives designed to develop the tourism sector both at a local and global level, these include the world’s first digital tourism academy, the first global Sports Tourism Start-Up Competition.
Several new initiatives were announced at the Summit, including an International Fund for Inclusive Tourism. Created with the World Bank, it is the first fund dedicated to supporting the growth of global tourism. The UNWTO will also open its first regional office in the Middle East, which will coordinate policies and initiatives across 13 Middle Eastern countries.
As part of its remit, it will focus on boosting tourism offerings and sustainable development, gathering key sector statistics, sharing information, and stimulating investment in tourism assets, whilst also defining tourism-related health policies.
QNTC’s participation in the Tourism Sector Recovery Summit highlights the importance of coordination in sector recovery efforts and facilitating the safe resumption of international travel and tourism. A first mover in covid-related track and trace technology, Qatar Airways was one of the first airlines globally to trial a digital health passport.
Developed in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it functions as a bespoke application which allows travellers to compile their covid health information that allows for more flexibility and convenience while traveling.
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