The Middle East Tourism Summit: Collaboration is key to recovery

The Middle East Tourism Summit: Collaboration is key to recovery

The Middle East Tourism Summit, organized by ITIC in partnership with Arabian Travel Market 2021, rounded off the Middle East region’s largest travel and tourism showcase by calling for continued collaboration at government level to support the recovery of the tourism industry in the Middle East. The comments came ahead of ATM Virtual, which takes place May 24-26.

“Governments must come together. They must work together. There is no sense in any country working on its own anymore,” said Taleb Rifai, chairman of International Tourism and Investment Conference (ITIC) and former secretary general of UNWTO.

The summit, which will also take place virtually on May 27, was held under the theme “Invest-Rebuild-Restart the tourism industry in the Middle East” and was attended by high-level decision makers, professionals and investors who discussed the challenges, issues, opportunities and, most importantly, the way forward for the tourism industry in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. The summit also focused on green sustainable investment, underscoring a new vision for responsible tourism recovery.

“Putting sustainability at the heart of the future development of the tourism industry in the Middle East will be crucial to meet the expectations of local and international visitors, who are now more socially aware and informed, than ever before. The industry has undoubtedly made huge strides in this area, with a range of initiatives across the sector positively impacting the environment,” said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME of ATM.

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Elsewhere on the conference agenda on the final day of ATM was an insightful session titled: “East Meets West: Lessons Learned Leading to Recovery and On-going Resilience” with guest panelists from industry associations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The consensus was that it is extremely important for countries and destinations to work together and share best practices, aligning protocols in order to get global travel restarted seamlessly and safely — a point reiterated by aviation experts earlier at ATM. According to the panel, the most pressing issue making the current situation so challenging for the industry is the fact that the situation remains unpredictable and there is a lack of clarity, so planning in the medium to long term is very difficult.

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