UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum to set a common agenda for air transport and tourism

WAM DUBAI-MADRID: The development of tourism in the Middle East is the prime example of how tourism and aviation can act together as drivers of growth. With the region as a background, Ministers of Tourism and aviation leaders will gather on 7 May 2013 at the UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum to set a common agenda for air transport and tourism that allows the industry to fully seize the opportunities of future tourism growth.

The forum will be held on 7 May under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Arabian Travel Market, scheduled between 6-9 May 2013 in Dubai The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how According to the UNWTO, the extraordinary growth of international tourism over the six last decades – from 25 million tourists in 1950 to one billion in 2012 – is as much due to advances in air transport as to the rise of the middle class, the growing wealth in industrialized and emerging countries and the forces of globalization.

Nonetheless, and in spite of the immense linkages between aviation and tourism, separate sectorial policies result in a fundamental, and too often even conflicting, disconnect which constitutes a severe constraint on the development of both sectors.

The UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum on “Tourism and Aviation: Building a Common Agenda for Growth” will bring together Ministers of Tourism and leaders from the aviation industry to discuss how aviation and tourism policies can come closer to set a common agenda for connectivity, economic growth and sustainable development.

Speakers include H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, H.E. Mrs. Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee on International EXPO Dubai 2020, Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Tourism of Egypt, Mr. Alain Saint-Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, Jamel Garma, Minister of Tourism of Tunisia and Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority.

The role of air transport is central to the future development of tourism and its contribution to the economy. UNWTO forecasts international tourists to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, 52% of which will arrive to the visited destinations by air, and issues such as taxation, regulation, visa facilitation or climate change require a strong aviation and tourism agenda.

With the Middle East as a backdrop, the UNWTO/ATM Ministerial Forum will focus on how to remove current obstacles to the growth of aviation and tourism, how to align transport and tourism policies and how to promote connectivity between the Middle East and other world regions. The conclusions of the meeting will serve as a basis for a broader global debate on aviation and tourism during the World Travel Market UNWTO Ministers Summit in London (November 2013).

The UNWTO/ATM Forum will take place on Tuesday 7 May 2013 at the Arabian Travel Market and will be open to all exhibitors, visitors and media registered to attend Arabian Travel Market.



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