United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai revealed today that the UAE has applied to join the UNWTO.
“The UAE is currently the only country within the region that is not a member of UNWTO. The government has been talking to us about becoming a full member following the establishment of the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities,” he said.
“We have almost concluded an agreement, and I have received news that the cabinet has held discussions, and it is - in principal - approved. We are awaiting official notification and would be delighted to welcome the UAE as a member,” he added.
Commenting on this year’s Arabian Travel Market, Rifai remarked: “ATM has grown to be a very important and significant gathering that continues to gain strength. This is a dynamic region and tourism is a pillar of the economy; and there are some great examples of how economic diversification policies have paid dividends.
“As well as being an important destination for inbound tourism, it is also a tremendously valuable source market for outbound travellers from the region, who are sought after by many international destinations.”
“As the post-Arab Spring movement takes wings there will only be increasing interest and focus on this part of the world. Events at the end of last year and beginning of this year are showing that even in the middle of these challenging times, destinations close to the hub that is the UAE are doing very well under these circumstances,” he added.