Launching a global tourism index for innovation and future sustainability from Riyadh
The Travel and Tourism Summit concludes its work with a focus on the sector achieving net zero emissions by 2050
Thursday – 8 Jumada Al-Awwal 1444 AH – December 01, 2022 A.D. Issue number [
The International Monetary Fund calls on the Gulf countries to maintain financial policies that ensure sustainability and increase savings (AFP)
Riyadh: Fath Al-Rahman Yusuf
At a time when the World Travel and Tourism Summit concluded its work in Riyadh, yesterday, with the initiative to launch a global tourism index for innovation and future sustainability in the sector, Ahmed Al-Khatib, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, drew attention to the importance of Saudi geography in the map of travel and tourism internally and externally, indicating that the Kingdom’s embrace of the global center For tourism sustainability, it is an important step on the way to achieving carbon neutrality, stressing that the tourism strategy in Saudi Arabia depends on the use of renewable methods in development, preserving natural spaces, empowering communities, and protecting the environment and climate.
In a related context, the Saudi Minister of Tourism, and the American actor and global philanthropist Edward Norton, yesterday, Wednesday, donated $ 1 million to the Maasai Wildlife Conservation Fund in Kenya, of which Norton will be Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Norton said at the summit yesterday: “The main challenge facing us in the twenty-first century is to align our economies and industries with the requirements of environmental sustainability, and to curb the continuous rise in global temperature.”
And he added, “We have to raise the level of work to achieve environmental standards in the tourism sector, and I am very grateful for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s invitation to me to participate in the summit, and to take the initiative to raise the ceiling of the challenge facing the sector, and not to be satisfied with formal reforms and consider them sufficient.”
On the other hand, the Global Center for Tourism Sustainability revealed in a press conference held yesterday on the sidelines of the summit in Riyadh, the role of the vital sector in reducing the percentage of emissions resulting from it by more than 40 percent by 2030 by taking radical measures aimed at achieving carbon neutrality, reviewing The international report, which was prepared in partnership between the Global Center for Tourism Sustainability and Systemic.
The report, entitled “Developing Travel and Tourism for a Better World” during the 22nd World Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council held in Riyadh, pointed out that the global travel and tourism sector contributes to creating promising opportunities for societies and the economy, indicating the importance of working to find urgent solutions due to the impacts of the sector. environment and society, as the sector causes 9-12 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions around the world.
The report stressed that greenhouse gas emissions around the world will rise by 20 percent by 2030 if there are no real efforts to change, which would endanger the imports of this sector, while it is able to play a vital role in reducing climate change, protecting nature and supporting nature. communities.
The report, which sets out a clear, detailed and fully costed strategy, discusses common goals in transforming the travel and tourism sector into a net zero emissions model by 2050, calling on sector leaders and policy makers to work hand in hand urgently to make tourism part of the solution to the climate change problem.
According to the report, the reform agenda requires enhancing investment in the transportation, services and nature sectors by allocating amounts ranging between $220 and $310 billion annually until 2030 for this goal, which is equivalent to 2-3 percent of the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the annual global GDP of 10 percent. Trillions of dollars.
However, he acknowledged that vital investment in the sector contributes to sustainable growth, enhancing its resilience, maintaining its position in the local economy, and its long-term competitiveness. This shift will also be reflected slightly on the costs of travelers during their vacations, as the cost of travel will increase by less than 5 percent even on long vacations.
Gloria Guevara, senior advisor at the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, said: “The report is an important step in the work of the Global Center for Sustainability Tourism, and shows the rapid progress the center has been making since the Crown Prince announced it in last year’s Saudi Green Initiative. This will benefit tourism and the world at large.”
For his part, Jeremy Oppenheim, founder and partner at Systemic, said: “The agenda proposed in the report contributes to drawing a clear road map for the travel and tourism sector to be in its best form by 2050 … By that we mean that it is strategically prosperous in all parts of the world.” And a leading force in addressing the problems of climate change, renewing and protecting nature, creating job opportunities, and spreading peace among global societies.
Innovation and sustainability index
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia called on all government agencies concerned with the tourism sector around the world for the widest possible cooperation for a sustainable future for the travel and tourism sector, by working to launch a new global index under the name “Innovation Index for the Tourism Sector” with the aim of promoting smart and sustainable travel.
The Saudi Tourism Authority will cooperate with the “Skift” travel platform, one of the most prominent global platforms specialized in news and data in the travel and tourism sector, in order to develop a framework for the new index, and cooperation between the two sides will represent a unique opportunity to provide the best expertise from the government and private sectors in the field of travel and tourism.
In the future, the index will provide thousands of institutions working in the field of travel and tourism in the Kingdom and around the world with the data they need to develop exclusive and exciting tourism experiences, and support policy makers with the information they need about reforms aimed at enhancing excellence and innovation in the sector. The index will also be characterized by its flexibility that allows it to receive data from different countries of the world, and turn them into insights and recommendations for best practices in the sector.
The institutional framework for the work of the index will ensure its ability to share the best global experiences and absorb the best indicators of international tourism and innovation, which means that the proposed new index will be based on the foundations established in this field by prestigious international institutions. Such as the World Economic Forum, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the World Tourism Organization.
Regarding the development of the framework for the index, which will be the first of its kind, Fahd Hamid Al-Din, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said: “The basis on which the concept of the tourism innovation index is based represents another important step that could have a real global impact, as the index will provide Invaluable data and insights that contribute to the development of policies and bring about the required positive changes, and drive the direction of continuous development.
For her part, Raafat Ali, founder of Skift, said: “We are pleased to cooperate with the Saudi Tourism Authority to consider and work on what will be a global indicator that clearly defines the elements of innovation in the field of tourism.” He added that among the countries and local governments that have already expressed interest in collaborating within this Project, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and the state of Western Australia.
In a session entitled “The Role of Tourism in Enabling Technology and Promoting Innovation” within the summit sessions, yesterday, Fahd Hamid Al-Din, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports, and Miguel Lightman, CEO of “Vision Box”, discussed opportunities for innovation in travel. tourism.
Participants in the session stressed that technological innovations reshape the lives of societies and affect them, and that the technological transformation in the travel and tourism sector has become an imperative to create a distinctive experience for tourists, referring to the reality of current technologies and innovations and their future, and how they contribute to solving the biggest challenges facing the travel and tourism sector.
In a dialogue session entitled “Cities of the Future”, the participants revealed that 55 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, with expectations that the numbers will increase to 7 out of 10 people by 2050, calling for ways to restructure cities to meet current and future needs. the emergence of new developed cities; And adapting the sector to take advantage of several areas including technology, design, architecture, innovation, infrastructure, transportation, tourism and sustainability, and benefiting from them to build innovative cities that serve the way of living and work as well as tourism and entertainment.
Last day sessions
The session was attended by Mitsuaki Hoshino, Deputy Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Authority, Jerry Inzerillo, President and CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Gilda Perez Alvarado, Global CEO of JLL Hotels and Hospitality, and Dee Waddell, Global General Manager, JLL Hotels and Hospitality. IBM Travel & Transportation Industry, and Caroline Turnbull, Managing Director, Western Australian Tourism.
In a panel discussion titled “A Future Without Tangible Objects,” the participants pointed out that spending habits have changed dramatically during the pandemic, and an increasing number of individuals are living without tangible money, and the world has moved to using currencies, digital wallets, and modern payment methods, looking for the future of travel and tourism. Dependent on technology and the impact of new currencies and cashless societies.
The session was attended by Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, of the Bahamas, Jenny Mundy, Global Head of Merchants Sales and Acquisition, from the Visa Division, and Emily Weiss, President of Accenture, the global travel company.
In a session titled “The Role of Tourism in Creating a Prosperous Future for All,” the participants discussed the future of airport terminals and the concept of modern airports. To reflect to the tourist an initial overview of it.
Despite this, according to the participants, airports have operational restrictions that may be reflected in a shortage of personnel or organization of runways, and may lead to challenges in oil and fuel prices. They raise a question: What does the future hold for airports, and will they be reconfigured to keep pace with the modern era?
The session was attended by Luis Felipe de Oliveira, Director General of Airports Council International, Abdulaziz Al-Dulaij, President of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, John Selden, CEO of NEOM Airport, and Ilker Ayce, former Chairman of the Board of Turkish Airlines.
In a session that focused on what it called a “civilizational revolution”, Nazmi Al-Nasr, CEO of the “NEOM” project, stressed that the world needs a civilizational revolution that gives priority to humans and provides them with an unprecedented civilized life experience in conjunction with taking into account the surrounding nature, in order to search for how to redefine development. Civilization, tourism, and cities of the future to provide innovative ways to live and travel.
Under the title “Investing in the Future”, the participants discussed the sector’s opportunities, expecting that the travel and tourism sector will provide 126 million jobs during the next decade, with an average annual growth rate of 5.8 percent, more than double the annual growth rate of the overall economy by 2.7 percent, under the slogan “Travel for a better future”, open to ambitions, investment opportunities and partnerships required to build a flexible, comprehensive and sustainable tourism sector.
The session was attended by Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Spain, Federico Gonzalez, CEO of Radisson Hotels, Qusai Al Fakhri, CEO of the Tourism Development Fund, Pansy, Group CEO and Managing Director of Shawn Tak Holding Ltd.
On the other hand, international fashion model and entrepreneur, Elle MacPherson, said in her speech during the opening of the twenty-second session of the World Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council in Riyadh yesterday, that “purposeful travel” is a key to moving towards new experiences, exploring and testing them.
McPherson, founder of Wellco, a leading provider of nutritious vegetables and plant-based remedies from sustainable agriculture, spent four days in the Saudi capital before attending the event.
McPherson told the summit participants that she “experienced the hospitality in the Kingdom and enjoyed the (wonderful) food in restaurants all over Riyadh.” She indicated that she “really wants to experience everything that exists in the kingdom.”
She added, “We travel a lot for work, but purposeful travel, where you can go to a specific destination and soak up its culture, get to know people and eat with them, is very important.”
“I see travel as a means of spiritual and personal growth,” said entrepreneur Elle MacPherson. When we travel we adapt and are flexible. This is actually a great skill that we need as entrepreneurs.”