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 at the UNWTO/ATM (UN World Tourism Organization and Arabian Travel Market) 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 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on May 7, 2013.
The extraordinary growth of international tourism over the 6 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 sectoral 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”, held Under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Arabian Travel Market, 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, H.E. Mr. Hisham Zaazou, Minister of Tourism of Egypt, H.E. Mr. Alain Saint-Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Seychelles, H.E. Mr. Jamel Garma, Minister of Tourism of Tunisia and H.E. Mr. 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, May 7, 2013 at the Arabian Travel Market and will be open to all exhibitors, visitors and media registered to attend Arabian Travel Market.