RIYADH: Uzbekistan, which is set to host the 25th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization, has announced that it will be chartering a flight directly from Madrid to Samarkand, where the meeting will be held.
More than 100 countries, headed by their respective ministers, have confirmed their attendance for the meeting, which will take place from Oct. 16 - 20.
This was announced by Aziz Abduhakimov, Uzbekistan’s tourism and cultural heritage minister, during his presence at the World Tourism Day 2023 celebrations in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh.
Abduhakimov said: “Tourism today needs new products and skills, new approaches, and new destinations to drive the sector into a sustainable, prosperous and resilient future.
“Uzbekistan is actively embracing this need for tourism transformation and, as Conde Nast Traveler and Lonely Planet put it, Uzbekistan is one of those hidden tourist gems that await to be explored by visitors from all around the world.”
The General Assembly will host a Tourism Investment Forum, where green tourism investment opportunities will be discussed; an Education Forum, which will gather leading educational institutions in tourism; the Best Tourism Village Award; cultural nights; and the official opening of the UNWTO Tourism Academy.
“The landscape of (the) tourism sector is rapidly shifting, and in the context of the new challenges that the world is facing, from (the) COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, the need for collective action in transforming the sector towards sustainability, inclusion and social economic prosperity is essential,” Abduhakimov added.
In Riyadh, Abduhakimov visited the historic Diriyah, which is home to Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb and Secretary-General of UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili. He said he was impressed by the scale and architectural beauty of the project and was pleased to see the buzzing livelihood of the area.
He noted: “I also noticed some similarities in the way Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan approach tourism development. This thought made me increasingly happy, as it shows that despite cultural, geographical and economic differences, we do share a common vision about tourism development. Some elements of the area reminded me of the Eternal City project located within the New Silk Road touristic center in the ancient city of Samarkand.”