UNWTO elects Saudi Arabia as chair of Executive Council
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UNWTO elects Saudi Arabia as chair of Executive Council

UNWTO elects Saudi Arabia as chair of Executive Council

The Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, will represent the kingdom as chair of the UNWTO Executive Council

Saudi Arabia elected chair of UNWTO

Saudi Arabia has been elected chair of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The election, which took place recently at the UNWTO’s 117th Executive Council meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, marks the first time that a country from the Arab Gulf fills this role. 

Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, who will represent Saudi Arabia said: “Saudi Arabia is honoured to have been elected chair of the UNWTO Executive Council. We firmly believe in the mission of UNWTO and look forward to working with all countries to advance the global tourism sector. Saudi Arabia has been an active partner to the UNWTO, launching initiatives, championing new thinking and opening the first Regional Office to help drive the agenda forward in the Middle East and beyond.” 

 “At the heart of the UNWTO is a desire to promote tourism as a catalyst of economic development, which Saudi Arabia wholeheartedly supports. We have committed $800bn of government investment into the Saudi tourism industry by 2030. Our imperative is that the development we seek, both as a nation and globally, is sustainable, inclusive and resilient. That’s how we will address the fast-changing needs of businesses, communities and the planet,” said Al-Khateeb. 

Saudi Arabia will now replace the outgoing chair, Côte d’ Ivoire. As Chair, Saudi Arabia will set the agenda for all meetings, ensuring that it captures the most pressing issues and concerns for the tourism industry. Saudi Arabia will facilitate and moderate meetings effectively chairing the dialogue and encouraging actionable outcomes.

The term for the chair of the Executive Council is one year and Saudi Arabia will hold the position for the entirety of 2023.  

The Executive Council’s remit is to provide recommendations for programmes and initiatives, that reflect the views of the member states, in consultation with the Secretary-General, to the assembly.

The Executive Council meets at least twice a year and is made up of members elected by the general assembly to reflect the geographic diversity of the UNWTO’s membership. 

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