UNWTO opens regional office in Saudi Arabia

The facility will be a centre of debate and decision-making

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has opened its first regional office for the Middle East.

At a ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, UNWTO secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili, was joined by Saudi minister of tourism, Ahmed Al Khateeb, to officially open the office.

Pololikashvili said: “The first UNWTO regional office will be a centre of conversation, debate and decision-making and bring hope to many people across the region allowing them to enjoy the social and economic benefits only tourism can deliver.

“Work on the office began after the start of the pandemic, proof of our determination and the strong support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The UNWTO also contributed expert insights to the tourism recovery summit, organised by the Saudi ministry of tourism, held against the backdrop of the regional office opening.

Al Khateeb added: “We are thrilled to host the new regional office in Saudi Arabia. This demonstrates our commitment to working with our partners at the UNWTO to develop a strong industry based on the principles of sustainability and opportunities for all, across the region and globally.”

They were joined by regional and international tourism ministers, as well as leaders from the private sector.

The new office will serve as a hub for UNWTO to coordinate policy and initiatives across its 13 member states in the region.

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