Abu Dhabi: The Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism conducted the 22nd edition of its meeting on Thursday. The primary objective of the virtual meet was to discuss ways of coordinating joint Arab efforts to counter the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism sector in the Arab region.
The meeting was organized and chaired by Saudi Arabia and it began with a speech by Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, who stressed the importance of joint Arab action to counter the negative effects of the pandemic.
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of UAE also participated on behalf of the UAE in this extraordinary virtual meet.
Al Mansouri stated, “The current cooperation between Arab countries in the field of tourism is key to drafting procedures that will ensure the recovery of the tourism sector in the region.”
The UAE supports the efforts of the World Tourism Organisation, the Arab Tourism Organisation and the World Travel and Tourism Council regarding recovery plans and procedures, Al Mansouri noted while highlighting the UAE’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the current crisis on the tourism sector and ensure its recovers, by providing major economic incentives worth AED282.5 billion.
The total decline in the global tourism industry is expected to be 57 percent to 78 percent by the end of 2020, equivalent to 850 million to 1.1 billion tourists, in addition to the loss of around 120 million jobs, as per the estimates of the World Tourism Organisation.
The UAE’s key initiatives to regain tourist activity in the current period were also presented at the meeting. These included:
- launching cleaning and disinfection programs in tourist facilities
- issuing guidelines on precautionary procedures
- health and safety standards before receiving tourists
“This is the first time in decades when we have experienced a total or partial lockdown of borders around the world, and almost a complete halt in aviation and restrictions to the movement of millions of people. Therefore, we are hoping that we can overcome this crisis and plan together to support the tourism sectors in our countries, as well as find a joint mechanism to lessen the restrictions on travel during this period,” Al Mansouri added.
He highlighted the importance of the cooperation between tourism and travel organisations in Arab countries while the spread of the virus is declining, hotels are re-opening, and economic activities are gradually resuming.