The 104th meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) commenced on Monday in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. Attending the session are some 170 representatives from 40 countries, including 11 ministers and vice ministers of tourism.
The opening ceremony was presided over by UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai and Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Mohamed Yehia Rashed.
At the opening of the meeting, which will run until 1 November, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism said that the meeting sends a message to the world that Egypt is safe. The Minister also added that tourism continues to employ a large part of Egypt’s labour force.
“In many our nations, tourism employs a large part of our labor force and helps to create immense benefits to our communities. The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 is a unique opportunity to work together in maximizing the contribution of our sector to protect the environment and cultural heritage,” said Rashed, adding that it is important to restore confidence in destinations across the world impacted by any crisis.
“We must commit to global efforts and work on restoring confidence in destinations affected by any crises namely by working with the media.“
Meanwhile, Rifai stressed the importance of supporting tourism to Egypt.
“Egypt is a worldwide leader in tourism and will continue to be so. The high level of attendance at this meeting is a confirmation of the confidence of the international tourism community in Egypt. Supporting tourism to Egypt is supporting its future and that of the Egyptian people,” said Rifai.
The 104th meeting of the Executive Council of the UNWTO will discuss the three priorities of the UNWTO for 2016-2017: safe, secure, and seamless travel. Moreover, discussions will also be held on the impact of technology in the tourism sector and sustainability.
Known for its ancient Egyptian temples and tombs, Luxor was named earlier this year the capital of international tourism by the UNWTO .
Luxor, formerly known as Thebes, was the great capital of Upper Egypt during the New Kingdom. Today, it is one of Egypt’s and the world’s foremost tourist destinations. Luxor has also hosted a number of cultural and arts events,including the fifth edition of the Luxor African Film Festival. However, political and social turmoil following the 2011 revolution have resulted in a slump of tourism to Luxor and other cities across Egypt.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Egypt’s tourism revenues fell by 15 percent in 2015 and the number of incoming tourists declined by 6 percent. Nevertheless, Egypt is working to boost tourism to Luxor, with direct flights between the city and Japan resuming in late April 2016.
Content source: UNWTO