UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism

UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism
The Kingdom is currently developing a number of attractive tourism projects across various destinations. (AFP)
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Updated 29 November 2022

UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism

UNWTO passes Saudi resolution to transform global tourism
  • Passing of resolution is first major step by Kingdom in its new position as Executive Council chair
  • Saudi-Spain-UNWTO working group to oversee significant changes to tourism industry in wake of pandemic

MARRAKECH: The 117th Executive Council of the UN World Tourism Organization has passed a Saudi-Spanish resolution that aims to “redesign tourism” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After being elected chair of the council on Nov. 24 for the 2023 term, the Kingdom successfully lobbied for the creation of a Saudi-Spain-UNWTO working group to contribute and recommend significant changes to the global tourism industry.

The proposal had been promoted by the Kingdom and Spain since December 2021, with a Saudi host delegation reiterating its support for the creation of the working group during the Kingdom’s hosting of the 116th Executive Council in Jeddah earlier this year.

This week’s three-day event in Marrakech, attended by Arab News, saw the passing of a decision to push forward with the creation of the working group, which has been supported from the outset by Spain.

Members of the Executive Council decided that the working group will be a subsidiary body of the council, comprising eight members of the organization representing all regions of the world.

It is slated to launch in spring next year, but will still require the formal endorsement of the Executive Council in May next year, as well as the approval of the UNWTO General Assembly in the third quarter.

The eight members will work alongside the three working group co-chairs — Saudi Arabia, Spain and the UNWTO — to move forward with the vision to transform global tourism.

Of the council’s 34 member countries present at the event, 31 approved the decision. The working group aims to represent every region of the world, and will include two member states for Africa, America and Europe, as well as single states to promote the tourism aspirations of the Middle East, East Asia and the Pacific, and South Asia.

The decision requests that the secretary-general, in consultation with the chairman, should “circulate a final document, including all the documents, setting out the mandate, composition and modus operandi” of the working group, together with a report from the organization’s Office of the Legal Counsel by the end of February 2023.

Once established, the working group will aim to meet at least biannually and is expected to run on a budget allocated voluntarily by member states.

The move is expected to lead to a significant shake-up within the world’s premier tourism body, with the Kingdom calling to “revitalize” the UNWTO and “improve its operating methods” to account for rapid trend shifts in the industry around the world.

It comes on the back of enhanced Saudi-Spanish ties in investment and tourism, and is the result of months of work by the two countries to gather support for the proposal among council members.

The working group aims to make the UNWTO “more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable than ever,” said Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb.

The passing of the resolution was the first major step by the Kingdom since its election as council chair for the 2023 term.

Al-Khateeb oversaw the handover from previous chair Cote D’Ivoire in Marrakech on Friday.

Trade between Saudi Arabia and Spain totals $3.5 billion annually. The two countries have made significant steps toward boosting economic ties throughout the year, with the Saudi-Spanish Investment Forum in June ahead of the Jeddah UNWTO event leading to a number of high-profile agreements.

The meeting in Marrakech also saw the admittance of several Saudi and Spanish affiliate members, including the Jeddah Central Development Co. and Spain’s Innovaris SL and Eturia CLM.


KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger
Updated 01 February 2023

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

KSRelief distributes food aid in Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Niger

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) on Tuesday distributed 1,040 food aid packages to Syrian refugees in several Lebanese regions, benefiting 5,200 people.

The Saudi charity has a project aiming to distribute food aid to the most neediest groups in various countries.

On Sunday, KSRelief distributed  731 food parcels in Marib Governorate, Yemen, benefiting 5,117 people.

And in Niger, KSRelief distributed on Sunday a further 1,000 in Niamey, benefiting 1,000 families, around 7,176 people.

In Niger, KSRelief distributed on Sunday a further 1,000 in Niamey, benefiting 1,000 families, around 7,176 people.​​​​​ (SPA)

In Pakistan, they distributed 1,130 food packages to 7,910 affected by the floods in Sindh Province, Pakistan.

 In Pakistan, KSRelief distributed 1,130 food packages to 7,910 affected by the floods in Sindh Province. (SPA)

 


Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks

Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks
Updated 01 February 2023

Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks

Saudi Cabinet calls for revival of Israel-Palestinian peace talks
  • Ministers called on the international community to step up and play its part in the process, protect Palestinians by putting pressure on Israeli authorities to halt attacks
  • They also discussed the preparations for the Kingdom’s participation at this year’s G20 meetings, and approved a number of international cooperation agreements

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday reiterated the need to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and called on the international community to live up to its responsibilities in relation to this and to help end the occupation, stop Israeli attacks, and ensure civilians are protected.

It came during the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers at Irqah Palace in Riyadh, presided over by King Salman, during which members discussed the latest regional and international developments, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

At the start of the session, the Cabinet was briefed on a message sent to the king by the Algerian president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and a telephone call Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received from the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

Ministers then discussed the preparations for the Kingdom’s participation at this year’s G20 meetings, in light of its desire to develop initiatives and solutions that can help address the challenges facing the global economy.

These include a joint framework initiative for debt treatment, and Saudi Arabia’s role in the implementation of the Financial Intermediary Fund for Health Security, including financial support of $50 million, to help prevent pandemics.

They also include the Kingdom’s work in cooperation with the Indonesian presidency of the G20 last year to develop a response to the global food-security crisis, and the implementation of those initiatives in partnership with India, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year.

Acting Minister of Media Majid Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet also reiterated the Kingdom’s condemnation of the burning of copies of the Qur’an in a number of European capitals.

Ministers welcomed the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding during the Riyadh Global Medical Biotechnology Summit last week, he added, as well as discussions during the event that focused on developments in the sector, investment opportunities, and ways to consolidate and enhance the Kingdom’s leading position in this field, in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to diversify the national economy through research and the development of scientific knowledge.

The Cabinet also noted the outcomes of the Municipal Investment Forum in Riyadh last week, during which investment portals were launched for Saudi cities, and 125 contracts and agreements worth more than SR12 billion ($3.1 billion) were signed, offering more than 5,000 investment opportunities for the private sector. During the event, about 200 projects for entrepreneurs were reviewed, and the largest investment opportunity of its kind in the outdoor advertising sector was launched.

Ministers approved a cooperation agreement between the Saudi and Uzbekistan ministries of energy, and another one between the Saudi Ministry of Education and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education.

They authorized the minister of culture to sign a draft memorandum of understanding for cultural cooperation with the Ministry of Crafts, Culture, Hotel Industry and Tourism in Mali, and approved a memorandum of understanding between the Saudi and Senegalese governments for cooperation to encourage direct investment.

The Cabinet also approved a MoU on desalination cooperation between the Saudi Saline Water Conversion Corporation and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and authorized the minister of health to sign a draft MoU for cooperation with the Tunisian Ministry of Health.

The minister of media, and chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority for Audiovisual Media, was authorized to sign a draft MoU with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India, and the president of the Islamic University of Madinah to sign a draft MoU with the Islamic Development Bank Group.


Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week

Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week
Updated 01 February 2023

Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week

Weather alert warns of thunder, dust storms and snow across Saudi Arabia this week
  • Surface winds were expected to reach speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour
  • Tides could rise in some areas, reaching more than 2.5 meters

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia have issued a weather alert covering most regions of the Kingdom until Friday, warning of high winds and dust storms, thunderstorms of varying intensity, snow, drops in temperature and frost, and rising tides, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Surface winds were expected to reach speeds of more than 60 kilometers per hour and could cause dust storms resulting in little or no visibility in parts of Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders Region, Hail, Al-Qassim, the Eastern Province, Riyadh, Makkah and Madinah. Tides could rise in those areas, reaching more than 2.5 meters.

Moderate to heavy thunderstorms, accompanied by torrential rain and hail were expected on Wednesday in the regions of Tabuk (affecting Tabuk, Haql, Al-Wajh, Duba, Umluj, Neom, Sharma and Taima), the Northern Borders Region (Rafha, Arar and Turaif), Al-Jawf (Sakaka, Dumat Al-Jandal, Al-Qurayyat and Tabarjal), the Eastern Province (Hafar Al-Batin, Al-Khafji, Al-Nairyah and Al-Olaya village), and most parts of Hail and Al-Qassim.

Light to medium rain was forecast for Wednesday in Makkah Province (including Makkah city, Jeddah, Rabigh, Taif, Jamum, Al-Kamil, Khulais and Bahra), Madinah (Ais, Badr, Yanbu, AlUla, Khaybar Madinah, Al-Mahd, Wadi Al-Fara and Al-Hanakiya), the Eastern Province (Qatif, Dammam, Dhahran, Al-Khobar, Abqaiq and Al-Ahsa) and Riyadh (the capital, Al-Kharj, Al-Muzahimiyah, Al-Quwayiyah Al-Majma’ah, Al-Zulfi, Al-Ghat, Shaqra, Ramah, Al-Dawadmi and Afif).

Forecasters said there was a chance of snow on Wednesday on peaks in Tabuk region (at Jabal Al-Lawz, Alaqan, Al-Dhuhr), and temperatures would drop from Wednesday in the regions of Tabuk, Al-Jawf, the Northern Borders, Hail and the north of Madinah. Minimum temperatures were expected to reach between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius, with a chance of frost in some areas. In Al-Qassim, Riyadh and the north of the Eastern Province, temperatures were expected to fall to between 4 and 7 C from Thursday.

The National Center for Meteorology advised the public to check official channels for updates to the forecasts, and urged them to follow any instructions from authorities.


Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack
Updated 01 February 2023

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack
  • A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque killing 100 people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Pakistani President Arif Alvi over victims of the terrorist attack at a mosque in Peshawar that killed 100 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.

“We strongly condemn this criminal act and we send to your excellency, the families of the deceased and the Pakistani people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said, wishing the injured a speedy recovery and affirming the Kingdom’s stand with Pakistan.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to President Alvi.

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a highly fortified security compound in Peshawar on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks targeting police.

Police said the attacker appeared to have passed through several barricades manned by security forces to get into the Red Zone compound that houses police and counter-terrorism offices in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

A police chief said Tuesday that the blast was a targeted revenge attack.


FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain

FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain
Updated 01 February 2023

FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain

FIFA president tours ‘Saudi House’ hosting AFC meeting in Bahrain

RIYADH: FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Tuesday visited the “Saudi House” in the Bahraini capital, Manama, which is hosting the 33rd Asian Football Confederation Congress that began on Monday and will continue until Wednesday evening, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

 

 

Infantino toured the “Saudi House” and was briefed on the most important pillars of the Kingdom’s hosting of the 19th Asian Cup, under the slogan “Forward for Asia.”

Infantino was given a briefing on the stadiums proposed to host the games and the Saudi national team’s history in the Asian Cup, including the Green Falcons winning the championship three times in 1984, 1988, and 1996.