Highlighting its leadership and trailblazing position in the global tourism sector, the Kingdom is set to host the UNWTO 26th General Assembly in 2025. This groundbreaking event, the first of its kind in the Middle East, underscores the Kingdom's prominence in the worldwide tourism arena and its dedication to advancing sustainable tourism and comprehensive global development.
Samarkand, Uzbekistan, October 2023 - The Executive Council of the UNWTO has confirmed the extension of His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, as Chairman for 2024. This decision was made during the 25th session of the General Assembly of the UNWTO, which is being held in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.
His Excellency Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khateeb, stated:
"The first term of the Executive Council, led by the Kingdom in 2023, was marked by initiatives that combined partnership, innovation, and progress. The achievements were based on the shared vision, cooperation and firm commitment among all Member States.”
"Together, we have paved the way to create a vision for a flexible tourism sector. We look forward to continuing our leading role in 2024 and remain mindful of the aspirations and hopes of all Member States. We will work diligently to achieve our targets to ensure that the tourism sector continues to foster economic exchange, cultural convergence, and humanitarian connections among countries worldwide."
Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb also acknowledged the limitless support that tourism receives from the leadership of the Kingdom, emphasizing that this support extends beyond the national level. It includes significant international initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development, such as the establishment of the Sustainable Tourism Global Center, announced by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the Saudi Green Initiative in October 2021. This center will provide best practices to meet the needs of the entire sector, including multinational corporations with clear objectives and unique experiences, as well as micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, which make up 80% of the sector. The center has recently announced the launch of an international research center to serve as a high-level reference for research aimed at accelerating the travel and tourism sector's transition to climate neutrality.
Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb highlighted that, as a confirmation of the Kingdom's vision and commitment to shaping the future of global travel, Saudi Arabia achieved a leading role in the tourism sector in 2023. This period yielded exceptional accomplishments based on a well-executed plan, prioritizing global cooperation and forming the basis for pioneering initiatives aimed at reimagining the tourism sector.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia
Signifying its leadership and pioneering role in global tourism, the Kingdom will be hosting the UNWTO 26th General Assembly in 2025. This event, the first of its kind in the Middle East, reflects the Kingdom's standing in the global tourism landscape and its efforts to promote sustainable tourism and comprehensive global development.
A cornerstone of KSA's tenure was the inception of the Task Force on Redesigning Tourism for the Future, a collaborative endeavor between Saudi Arabia and Spain. This initiative looks to empower the UNWTO to better cater to the dynamic tourism sector, emphasizing its significant role in promoting sustainable and responsible tourism worldwide. The Kingdom continues to raise standards in the tourism sector and enhance global cooperation, with the goal of shaping a more impactful future for this sector in the coming years.