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UNWTO’s first regional office opens in Riyadh UNWTO’s first regional office opens in Riyadh

UNWTO’s First Regional Office Opens in Riyadh

The first United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) regional office was officially opened today in Riyadh by UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili and the Saudi Minister for Tourism, H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb at an event attended by regional tourism ministers and industry leaders.

The new office will serve as a hub for UNWTO to coordinate policy and initiatives across 13 countries in the Middle East, acting as a pivotal forum for engagement to drive tourism initiatives in the region and build long-term growth for the sector.

 The office will lead UNWTO’s work across the region, promoting tourism products, sustainable development and the collection of tourism data and analysis. Responding to a need for locally relevant initiatives to drive effective change, the office will champion investment in tourism assets and capabilities, and spearhead regional collaboration in data-sharing and health policy.

 H.E. Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Minister for Tourism, in a keynote address pledged continued support to the UNWTO and the development of global tourism. “As the first UNWTO office of its kind, the Riyadh office will serve as a beacon for regional collaboration. We are thrilled to host the office in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “During Saudi's Presidency of last year’s G20, we took the opportunity to host the first ever T20 meeting. At that meeting we committed to work with our partners around the world in developing a strong industry based on the principles of sustainability and opportunities for all. The establishment of this office is a continuation of that commitment.”

 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism is hosting and supporting the regional office as part of a long-standing partnership between the Ministry and UNWTO. Together, the two organizations have taken a leading role throughout the global COVID-19 health crisis to shape recovery strategies for the travel and tourism sector. This new initiative delivers on the commitments made during Saudi’s Presidency of the G20 and outlined in the AlUla Framework for Inclusive Community Development and the Diriyah Communique.