The United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO) Region Commission for Middle East had a meeting last week in Riyadh KSA after officially opening a UNWTO Regional Office in the Middle East.
During the meeting discussions centered on adopting a coordinated approach to develop unified protocols for safe and responsible travel through the region. As agreed the UNWTO Middle East member states will work together to harmonize travel protocols by implementing common digital health solution to facilitate travellers’ experience through blockchain technologies.
This agreement opens a new chapter in regional tourism across the Middle East by implementing the IATA-UNWTO destination tracker, a monitoring system to track health data, regulations and movements across borders and to protect the health and welfare of the region’s 450 million inhabitants.
His Excellency Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also addressed the Regional Commission, stating that:
“Saudi Arabia is proud to have played a role in this critical announcement, which will create a new path forward for the Middle East tourism sector, not only in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic but in building a new regional culture of collaboration and coordination for tourism across the Middle East.”
Meanwhile, at the meeting nominations and elections to the statutory organs of UNWTO and their subsidiary bodies were also held. Egypt was voted to serve as the Chair of the Regional Commission for the Middle East for 2021-23, following on from the United Arab Emirates whose two year-term will end at the upcoming UNWTO General Assembly in Marrakesh in October.
Additionally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put forward its candidacy to host World Tourism Day when it rotates back to the Middle East region in 2023.