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tourismNovember 28, 2022

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

RIYADH: Global leaders in the tourism sector will gather in Riyadh for the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit from Nov. 28-Dec. 1 as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to evolve as a global tourist destination, in alignment with its Vision 2030 goals.

Touted to be one of the biggest tourism events of the year, the global summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future.'

During the event, industry leaders will share their thoughts about the future of the sector and the challenges that should be addressed to ensure a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable travel and tourism industry.

According to a press release issued by WTTC, former British Prime Minister Theresa May will be one of the key speakers at the event, along with other prominent personalities in the sector including Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports.

South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-Moon, who served as the eighth secretary-general of the UN between 2007 and 2016, will also address delegates during the event.

“We are delighted to have such influential speakers already confirmed for our global summit in Riyadh. Our event will bring together many of the world’s most powerful leaders in our sector to discuss and secure its long-term future, which is critical to economies and jobs around the world,” said WTTC's president and CEO Julia Simpson.

Simpson also lauded Saudi Arabia’s tourism efforts and said that the Kingdom’s tourism sector will be the fastest growing one in the region by the end of this decade.

She added: “The government of Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in the recovery of the global travel and tourism sector following two years of crisis. Set to become a major tourist destination, our latest research shows that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector will surpass pre-pandemic levels next year and will see the fastest growth across the Middle East over the next decade.”

This year’s WTTC Global Summit is also supported by a metaverse experience created for potential investors to explore investment opportunities and take part in sessions virtually, according to a press release.

“WTTC will arrive in Riyadh as tourism enters a new era of recovery and we welcome the world to join them virtually in our metaverse,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmad Al-Khateeb.

He added: “Bringing together global leaders from both the public and private sector, the summit will be fundamental in building the better, brighter future the sector deserves and technology and innovation will be key to our collective future success.”

For the first time in history, this year’s WTTC Global Summit will be live streamed to the general public.

The event in Saudi Arabia is timely with a new global consumer survey carried out by YouGov revealing that the appetite for international travel is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic.

According to the survey report, 63 percent of the respondents are planning a leisure trip in the next 12 months, a strong indication of the sector’s bounce back after the economic headwind triggered by the pandemic.

The report also noted that 27 percent of the participants are planning three or more trips in the next 12 months. Earlier in October, while speaking at the Future Investment Initiative, Al-Khateeb said that Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global tourism industry, and the tourist destinations in the Kingdom are being built and will operate in a sustainable manner.

“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said Al-Khateeb.