Saudi Tourism Minister Chairs 121st UN Tourism Council in Barcelona

The Minister of Tourism, Mr. Ahmed bin Al-Khateeb, chaired the 121st meeting of the United Nations Tourism Organization’s Executive Council. The meeting took place in Barcelona from June 10 to 11. The event was also attended by tourism ministers from around the world.

In his speech at the meeting’s opening session, the Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the United Nations Tourism Organization’s Executive Board said: “Chairing the 121st meeting of the United Nations Executive Board for Tourism was historic for us. It united world leaders to confront pressing challenges in tourism and push the global sector to achieve tangible progress. This gathering confirmed our collective vision for the continued prosperity of the tourism sector, emphasizing the need for innovative models to sustain it and maintain strategic partnerships.”

وزير السياحة يرأس اجتماع المجلس التنفيذي لمنظمة الأمم المتحدة للسياحة الـ 121 في برشلونة

The meeting discussed international tourism trends, the general work programme and financial growth strategies for the tourism sector. Moreover, the tourism sector is expected to contribute $16 trillion to global GDP by 2034.

The large increase in the number of tourists from abroad helped Saudi Arabia lead the Middle East in tourism recovery. In 2023, it was the only region globally to exceed pre-pandemic tourism levels, with a 56 percent growth compared to 2019.

Re-election to Chair UN Executive Council for Tourism

The Kingdom’s re-election to chair the United Nations Executive Council for Tourism in 2024 for the second year shows its important and growing role in fostering a flexible global tourism sector.

وزير السياحة يرأس اجتماع المجلس التنفيذي لمنظمة الأمم المتحدة للسياحة ويستعرض الفرص الاستثمارية مع كبار المسؤولين التنفيذيين بالقطاع في إسبانيا - صحيفة مال

Additionally, Al-Khateeb hosted a roundtable with senior executives in Spain’s private tourism sector. This took place alongside the UN Tourism Organization’s Executive Council meeting. He discussed attractive investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, including the Investment Enablers Program and hospitality sector initiatives. Al-Khateeb emphasized the diverse tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia and plans to improve air connectivity between Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Europe.

This growth is due to the Kingdom’s launch of the electronic visit visa, allowing tourists from 66 countries to explore its many attractions. Finally, these efforts aim to increase the number of foreign tourists to 70 million by 2030.

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