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49th UNWTO Mideast Commission meeting kicks off in Jordan

By JT - Jun 07,2023 - Last updated at Jun 07,2023

Tourism Minister Makram Al Queisi speaks during the 49th meeting of the UN World Tourism Organisation's Regional Commission for the Middle East at the Dead Sea area on Wednesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The 49th meeting of the UN World Tourism Organisation's (UNWTO) Regional Commission for the Middle East commenced at the Dead Sea area on Wednesday.

Attended by WTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and tourism ministers of Arab member states, the event is expected to catalyse discussions and generate insights into the tourism sector, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Minister of Tourism Makram Al Queisi underscored the critical role of the tourism sector in promoting global growth, facilitating cultural exchange and integrating sustainable development values worldwide.

He highlighted the Middle East's recent significant growth in tourism, attributing it to the region's rich history and cultural offerings that appeal to travellers from across the globe.

He noted that the meeting serves as an ideal platform to exchange ideas and opinions on how stakeholders can further enhance the tourism sector. 

The minister extended his gratitude to the UN WTO for its ongoing support to Jordan in enhancing its tourism sector and reinforcing partnerships to further develop the Kingdom’s unique tourism offerings.

Queisi added that the success of this meeting relies on the ability to discuss real collaboration among Middle Eastern countries through building an integrated relationship that enriches the tourism product.

He also referred to the ministry's promotion arm, the Jordan Tourism Board, and the Department of Antiquities as key players in promoting partnerships with regional countries.

Queisi affirmed Jordan's commitment to making the meeting effective in bolstering unity and agreement among countries in the region.

Pololikashvili also expressed his pleasure to be in Jordan, a country known for its "distinctive" tourism product, and stressed the importance of addressing the challenges facing the tourism sector.

Ahmed Issa, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, and head of the UN WTO Regional Commission for the Middle East, noted that the meeting comes at a critical time when the global and regional tourism industry shows promising signs of recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issa added that the region has demonstrated the strongest recovery worldwide, surpassing pre-COVID numbers by up to 15 per cent in the first quarter of this year, attributing this to increased demand and easing travel restrictions.

He also emphasised the region's resilience amid global changes and its capability to host international events.

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