Participants at the UNWTO/Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event on the Future of Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa held at the World Travel Market were unanimous in agreeing that tourism in the region, which has for long lived with uncertainty and a number of external shocks, will return from current challenges stronger than before (London, UK, 9 November 2011).
“The on-going changes in the Middle East and North Africa bring enormous opportunities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the event. “Rule of law and democracy will empower local communities, opening the door for these to be better engaged in the process of tourism development. There will surely be a more transparent business environment, increased support for smaller businesses, as well as stronger regional integration and cooperation.”
Participants recalled that countries in the region were facing what many others had previously experienced and benefited from – the process of transition into a democratic state.
Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Al Fayez, highlighted the on-going investment projects in the country, as well as the efforts to ensure that the benefits of tourism spill down to the community level. ”Communities are the first to be affected when tourism demand falls and this is why we need to support them,” he said.
Mehdi Houas, the Minister of Tourism of Tunisia, stressed that the country is looking to position its culture, history and people at the center of tourism development and promotion.
For Egypt, where tourism numbers this year are expected to have fallen by between 20 and 25% compared to 2010, the Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour, said the country was “committed to tourism as a sector which contributes 12% of national GDP.”
Misperception was highlighted as one of the most pressing challenges, with participants stressing that the Middle East should not be seen as one block but rather as different countries with different realities and challenges.
Close cooperation between the public and private sectors was pointed out as one of the keys for success in the destinations of the Emirates and one of the ways to reinforce the growth of tourism in the region.
“The Middle East is rich in culture and people; the sector has been expanding in terms of infrastructure and air capacity. If we work together there is an incredible future for the region,” said Guy Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group in Dubai.
The UNWTO/ATM debate on the Future of Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa set the scene for a new UNWTO/ATM Forum to be held on 30 April 2012 in Dubai in the framework of the Arabian Travel Market (30 April-2 May).
“We expect that the UNWTO and ATM forum will have a significant and positive effect on regional collaboration to sustain growth in the travel and tourism sector here,” concluded Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.”
This is arguably the oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Next to it is the amulet market where different amulets, talismans, icons and other religious symbolic pieces are available which are said to bring good luck and good fortune to the person using them. It is very interesting to see these. Timings: Daily 9 A.M- 5 P.M Address: Na Phra That Road Admission: B 20 Tel: 02222-6...
By the end of the eighteenth century, Paris had a serious problem: what to do with all the dead bodies? The city’s poor were often buried in mass graves at the Saint Innocents Cemetery, near the center of the city. Eventually, it was filled way past capacity and the decaying corpses were polluting Paris’ groundwater. Finally, at the start of the nineteenth century, new graveyards aroun...
Set beautifully in the midst of bushes and grass, Baneasa Lake is a good site to visit if you’re planning a picnic and lazy day in Bucharest. The place is well kept for people who visit the lake area regularly for quite walks or to let children play in the adjacent grass lands. ...
This attraction is a thirty minute drive west of Riyadh. It features a traditional country club layout with superb grassy greens; the last nine holes are even floodlit for night golf. The club also offers tennis, swimming, and horse-back riding activities as well. ...