The Middle East has experienced huge changes since the UNWTO Ministers Forum was last held at ATM back in 2015. This year, more than 20 ministers will come together with industry leaders in the MENA region to consider methods of capitalising on tourism growth and building a sustainable ecosystem for the sector to unlock its potential within each country’s National Agenda.
Specific areas of focus will include GDP growth and economic diversification, innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity, job creation, human capital and infrastructure development, investment and export promotion.
“Tourism has become a key economic activity across the region, particularly in the GCC countries, where it is establishing itself as a pillar and key driver of the modern ‘post–oil’ economies of those countries,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
“In addition to generating foreign exchange earnings and creating jobs, tourism promotes trade and investment and significantly contributes to the development of other sectors of the economy - such as construction, manufacture, retail and financial services - and it also contributes significantly to the socio-economic integration of countries of the MENA region,” he added.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said, “Future job creation and entrepreneurship in the regional industry will be a first priority for the Forum. The MENA-OECD Investment Programme estimates that, in order to maintain current employment levels, between 25 million and 50 million new jobs will be required over the next decade, requiring an average annual growth rate of 5.5 per cent.”
Taking place on Monday, 24 April from 3.30pm, at the Al Multaqua Ballroom, the Forum will be held under the patronage of H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates. This will follow the 42nd meeting of the UNWTO Commission for the Middle East which is being held at 10am in the morning.
The Forum will address the following issues:
- Empowering evidence based decision making and accurate measurement of the contribution of tourism to current and future economic growth - particularly as regards GDP, jobs and exports - and its multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy.
- Enhancing the contribution of domestic tourism alongside international tourism (especially intra-regional) in delivering sustainable economic growth from the sector.
- Main challenges and opportunities for securing investment in tourism (FDI and domestic investment).
- Strategies and measures to strengthen tourism’s resilience to external shocks.
- Ensuring that economic growth due to tourism leads to the sustainable and inclusive development of host communities and the transition towards a green economy.
- Investing in technology - driven innovations to enhance performance and improve competitiveness.
- Policies to promote job creation and entrepreneurship
- Strengthening the sector’s institutional framework, engaging and aligning key governmental role players on tourism policy issues and targets and developing result driven partnerships with local and international stakeholders.
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