ABU DHABI, 18th June, 2020 (WAM) — Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, participated, on behalf of the UAE, in the extraordinary virtual meeting of the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism, 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 22nd edition of the meeting, which was organised and chaired by Saudi Arabia, 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.
In his speech, Al Mansouri stated that 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 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.
“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 to regaining the trust of visitors, by following internationally approved safety protocols.
He also presented the UAE’s key initiatives to regain tourist activity in the current period. These included launching cleaning and disinfection programmes in tourist facilities and issuing guidelines on precautionary procedures and health and safety standards before receiving tourists while the spread of the virus is declining, hotels are re-opening, and economic activities are gradually resuming.
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.