The meeting focused on cooperation between countries and tangible action to facilitate the resumption of safe travel.
To support this, Saudi Arabia has now vaccinated over three million people, with the vaccine available for free for all those over the age of 16.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, co-hosted a virtual meeting of the UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee with the organization’s Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The meeting’s participants, which include UNWTO Member States and representatives from global industry organizations, discussed the importance of multilateral cooperation and tangible action to facilitate the safe and seamless resumption of international travel. These efforts will support the sector’s recovery by building confidence among travelers and tourism businesses.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia asserted the Kingdom’s leadership in coordinating and shaping recovery strategies: “As the global community continues to navigate the effects of the pandemic, we must find new and innovative solutions to bring our countries into the new normal, while paving the way to recovery, and ensuring that no country is left behind. This should be based on collective, coordinated and tangible action to ensure that as we build back, we emerge stronger and more resilient.”
He thanked the UNWTO and Secretary General Pololikashvili for hosting the meeting and the group heard from the Greek Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the UNWTO Crisis Committee, His Excellency Harry Theoharis. HE Theoharis reiterated the importance of the provision of financial support to tourism businesses to overcome the crisis while protecting the lives and livelihoods which depend on the sector, as well as the importance of technology to facilitate international travel and restore confidence.
The Minister also offered the group an update on the Kingdom’s progress on its national vaccination campaign which was launched in December 2020. Since then, Saudi Arabia has vaccinated more than 3 million people. He noted that vaccination is now available free of charge to all Saudi citizens and residents over the age of 16, and that the Kingdom has implemented a digital solution for the registration, scheduling, and management of appointments.
The meeting was attended by Member States of the UNWTO Crisis Committee including China, Italy, Greece, Brazil, and representatives of international organizations including the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the World Travel & Tourism Council, the International Maritime Organization, Cruise Lines International Association, Airports Council International and the International Air Transport Association.
The UNWTO Global Tourism Crisis Committee plans to re-convene next month to progress plans on how the sector can drive collaborative solutions for recovery.