Riyadh Hosts World Tourism Day with Participation of over 500 Officials, Experts from 120 Countries
Riyadh, September 27, 2023, SPA -- Riyadh today hosted the events of World Tourism Day 2023 under the theme "Tourism and Green Investment", with the participation of over 500 government officials, tourism leaders and experts from 120 countries to promote growth, sustainability and interdependence among peoples, shape the future of tourism, and discuss the most prominent topics related to the tourism sector.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, Minister of Tourism Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khateeb stressed that hosting the World Tourism Day in Riyadh is essential for Saudi Arabia, where tourism is one of the most important economic sectors in the world for employing one in 10 people in the world and providing living for hundreds of millions, and can account for over 20% of some countries' GDP.
The minister referred to the growth of the sector and the increase in the number of tourists and how tourism has become a global industry, where tourism and global travel accounted for less than 3% of the global GDP in 1970. Today, the sector is recovering strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic and will achieve 10% of the global GDP. The number of passengers increased from 118 million in the early 1970s to nearly 1.5 billion in 2019, representing a 700% increase.
He stressed the importance of cooperation among countries to achieve progress and growth in the sector in a more balanced and fair manner, referring to the importance of creating new horizons for tourism and helping small countries realize their aspirations through investments. The minister noted that if countries can unite regionally and even globally, the opportunities in the sector can double, and all can help build bridges among countries and the public and private sectors.
Al-Khateeb pointed out that the government of the Kingdom has opened the door to international investments in the tourism sector and helped the private sector to access global capital to build facilities that visitors expect and need in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.