UAE affirms its commitment to support international efforts to encourage tourism & improve safety of travel experience
G20 tourism ministers discuss recovery of travel & tourism sector post-COVID-19
Dubai, 8 October 2020
The UAE affirmed its commitment to support international efforts to encourage and facilitate the recovery of the tourism sector and enhance the safety of travel experiences while adhering to global recommendations on the COVID-19 response, during its participation in a virtual G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting. The meeting took place under the chairmanship of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), with H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, representing the UAE.
During the meeting, the G20 ministers discuss ways to capitalize on growth opportunities in the post pandemic phase and increase the sector’s contribution to comprehensive and sustainable development. In addition, it reviewed the progress made by the Tourism Group during KSA’s G20 Presidency, including the commitments made in response to COVID-19. These include enhanced focus on the role of tourism in driving comprehensive community development and efforts to enhance safety and convenience in order to improve the travelers’ experiences.
H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said that in light of the unprecedented circumstances that the world is currently navigating, there are many transformations and changes that have occurred not only within the tourism sector, but across various aspects of daily lives and behaviors of billions of people around the world.
H.E. added: “We, in the UAE, believe that there is an opportunity generated along with every challenge, and that the exposure to shocks makes us stronger and resilient in the face of future crises. Therefore, we are confident that the tourism sector, although it is the most affected by the pandemic, will emerge stronger, faster and more resilient.”
Tourism is one of the main drivers of the overall development of society, as it contributes to diversifying and preserving natural and cultural resources, H.E continued. The travel and tourism sector accounted for up to 10.3 per cent of global GDP and 330 million jobs (direct and indirect) in 2019. He further emphasized the importance of the ongoing efforts in developing a more sustainable tourism sector and studying new opportunities to restore its activities while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines at the same time.
Furthermore, H.E. added that support policies and incentives for tourism and travel companies and airlines are still necessary to ensure their ability to maintain operations, along with continuing efforts to facilitate safe, smooth and sustainable travel experiences as these are major steps towards recovery. Besides, advanced technology and digital transformation play a significant role in accelerating recovery and enabling the continuity of the sector.
H.E also reviewed the UAE’s experience in dealing with the challenges imposed by the global crisis on the sector during the meeting. The UAE is one of the first countries in the region to launch incentives and facilities to support the sector, highlighting the country’s ability to adapt quickly thanks to an advanced technological and digital infrastructure. Today, these capabilities contribute to safer and seamless travel experiences in and out of the UAE, he added.
Al Falasi concluded by saying that the UAE is continuing its efforts to develop initiatives that drive tourism innovation and enable the contribution of start-ups and innovation centers in finding quality solutions to overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic.