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WTTC recognizes Saudi Arabia’s leadership to recovery of tourism sector globally

October 12, 2020

Plan presented to resume international travel and save 100m jobs in the world

LONDON — The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), pays tribute to the leadership of Saudi Arabia, and for its support to the local and global private sector, at the historic meeting of G20 Tourism Ministers and more than 45 CEOs of the world’s biggest travel companies, and private sector leaders from the G20 countries

During their G20 Chairmanship of the Tourism Track, Saudi Arabia requested the collaboration of the global travel and tourism sector on developing a concrete plan to accelerate the global recovery.

As a result, WTTC presented the 100 million jobs recovery plan, which included input from its whole membership, other leaders, and international organizations, which aims to resume international travel and accelerate the recovery through unprecedented public-private collaboration.

Chaired by Minister for Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb the event made history with G20 Tourism Ministers listening for the first time directly to CEOs representing major international markets. International organizations such as IATA and ICAO were also present at the event. In addition to OECD and UNWTO.

Major Saudi companies such as Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Flynas, Amaala, Aqalat, Riyadh Airport, Royal Commission of AlUla, Aramco, Dur Hospitality, Neom, the Red Sea Development Company, Saudia, Seera Group and Kingdom Holding, also attended this unprecedented event.

The special session discussed and explored key initiatives such as the importance of an international testing protocol in order to apply testing at departure, contact tracing standards and the establishment of air corridors between the most important hubs, such as NY, London, Dubai and others, which could deliver the prompt recovery of the sector.

Gloria Guevara, president & CEO, WTTC, said: “We would like to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and specially the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and Ahmed Al Khateeb for being the driving force behind this historic milestone. The 100 million jobs global recovery plan is an unprecedented initiative and we thank Saudi Arabia for his leadership, his continued support and commitment to Travel & Tourism.

“Millions of lives have been impacted during this crisis, and only through great leadership and collaboration, the world will overcome the situation, so we thank them for leading us,” she said.

“Saudi Arabia is fast becoming a major world tourist destination and last year, our annual Economic Impact Research revealed that Saudi Arabia was the fastest growing country, with a travel and tourism GDP growth four times the global average. This represented 14% growth, compared to the overall economy which fell 0.1%,” Guevara added.

“This is an incredible achievement by the government and in particular Ahmed Al Khateeb who continues to show great leadership, vision and tenacity.

“The domestic recovery in Saudi Arabia is another great example, where ahmed Al Khateeb understands the importance of collaboration and it has made a lot of progress compared to other nations. We, the global private sector, express our gratitude for that public-private cooperation, which it is crucial for the global recovery.

“Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally to strengthen the recovery of Travel & Tourism activity not only in the region but the world. The leadership from Ahmed Al Khateeb, is instrumental and essential for us to be able to work towards a single agenda and the reactivation of international travel to benefit the millions of people in Saudi Arabia who depend on the sector for their livelihoods and around the world.

'To that end, it is vital to implement an international testing protocol upon departure to eliminate harmful quarantines and travel restrictions. This will require international collaboration around the globe.'

Jerry Inzerillo, Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO, said, “Tourism has become one of the world’s most important economic contributors, creating one in 10 jobs globally.

“We have a huge and privileged responsibility as tourism industry stakeholders to come together and collaborate during a time of such important need — for we are stronger as a united voice, and industry job recovery will be aided more quickly with an approach that is both consistent and united internationally.

“Being part of this historic event, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts the G20 Presidency for the first time, has been a true honor, and we look forward to spearheading continued public-private sector partnerships to ensure an accelerated recovery and a fast and safe resumption of international travel.

“I’d like to profoundly thank both the Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman and the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb, for their constant, consistent leadership, and for providing the resources to promote Saudi Arabia and global tourism. Thank you to Gloria Guevara and WTTC for this extraordinary initiative and for the opportunity to be part of the 100 million jobs recovery plan.”

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports said, “This loss of mobility has devastated the travel and tourism sector worldwide. Governments across the globe are looking to the aviation industry for a solution that minimizes the risk of infection whilst getting the world’s people — and its economies — moving again.

“There are three essential steps required to create this outcome. A common testing procedure that is quick, accurate and easy to administer, a unified approach to testing, isolation and protection protocol and the establishment of bilateral agreements between countries, agreeing to adopt these measures. We need to act now to make travel safe again.”

Chris Nassetta, WTTC chairman and Hilton president and CEO said, “WTTC’s private sector action plan is hugely important in supporting the recovery of the sector and bringing back 100 million travel and tourism jobs globally.”

“It will take significant collaboration between the public and private sectors to ensure a full recovery and rebuild traveller confidence, which is why today’s G20 meeting was so important.

“I’m encouraged by the progress we’re seeing around the world and look forward to the continued collective efforts to support our stakeholders and promote the incredible impact our industry creates for communities globally,” he added.

The recovery plan presented to the G20 Tourism Ministers includes 12 points for the private sector and 12 for the public sector, that focus on key measures to reactivate international tourism.

The measures include a globally recognized international testing program; strengthening and standardizing protocols between countries to reduce risk and regain confidence from the traveler; and international coordination for the reopening of the sector, with the highest priority to health, safety and certainty for the traveler.

WTTC has continually been at the forefront in leading the private sector in the efforts to rebuild global consumer confidence and encourage the return of Safe Travels.

According to the most recent WTTC research, the Travel & Tourism sector generated one in 10 jobs globally (330 million) and 10.3% of global GDP. In addition, it is responsible for every one out of four new jobs globally.

It is also one of the most diverse sectors in the world, employing people of all socio-economic levels, regardless of gender or ethnicity, employing 54% women and 30% young people.

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