This came during the participation of the Expo Center Sharjah, represented by Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, in the virtual international meeting, which was held recently by the World Tourism Organization and the Arab House in Madrid, Spain, via video communication, under the title «Economic impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector in the Arab world», The meeting witnessed the participation of Basma Al Maiman, Regional Director for the Middle East at the World Tourism Organization, Pedro Martinez Elephants, Director General of the Arab House Foundation, Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Khaled bin Al Waleed Al Zadjali, Director of the Oman Conference Office, and Tayseer Al Mallah, Executive Director of the National Exhibition Program. And conferences in Saudi Arabia.
The meeting discussed the extent of the impact that resulted from the repercussions of the “Covid-19” crisis in the tourism and travel sector and the exhibitions and conferences sector in the Arab countries and the extent to which the various areas related to them, especially employment, and related industries were affected, with the aim of coming up with a set of programs and initiatives and developing strategies that would help accelerate recovery. These two sectors are vital.
During the meeting, Saif Muhammad Al-Midfa indicated that the proactive and early efforts taken by the wise leadership of the UAE since the first day of the spread of this pandemic, were a major reason for the resurgence of tourism, exhibitions and events activities and to enhance their ability to take rapid steps in starting the recovery phase, as the UAE resumed a month ago. Last September, business and exhibitions events due to its belief in the importance of this sector and its role in restoring the economic flow and tourism activity in the country, pointing out that the Sharjah Expo Center has begun organizing and hosting a number of trade fairs that have witnessed a large turnout of visitors and participating parties, as a result of the center’s following the utmost precautionary measures to preserve Concerning the health of exhibitors and visitors, in the last months of this year, it is also planned to organize about 5 diverse local exhibitions, as well as launching specialized exhibitions that are being organized for the first time and witnessing a large turnout of companies and exhibitors to register and participate, and Hanan Lazari, Technical Coordinator for the Regional Administration of the Middle East at the World Tourism Organization.
330 million jobs
Al-Midfa pointed out the importance of the role of tourism in achieving sustainable economic development, as the contributions of the travel and tourism sector constitute about 10.3% of the global GDP, and according to the statistics issued for the year 2019, tourism contributed to the provision of 330 million direct, indirect and new jobs, as well as tourism constituted what Equivalent to 28% of global services exports, stressing the importance of linking the recovery of the tourism sector with the return of exhibitions and conferences to its momentum, as it is an important platform for introducing tourist places, and a major contributor to the recovery of a number of vital sectors such as the aviation, hotels and hospitality sectors.
Ensure the cohesion of the sector
To that, Basma Al-Mayman said: The organization has been keen since the outbreak of the new Corona virus pandemic and its repercussions on various sectors, including the travel and tourism sector, to cooperate with its partners in order to coordinate and ensure the coherence of sector steps in the various member states of the organization and work to take the necessary measures to confront this situation. In a balanced and responsible manner, the organization has already formed a global committee for tourism crises, with the aim of guiding the sector during its confrontation with the “Covid-19” crisis and increasing its ability to withstand first, and then recover from the impact of the pandemic and move to a full recovery stage, by providing support to governments and companies through an integrated group Among the measures designed to reopen tourism sites in a safe, smooth and responsible manner.
The organization has also prepared the launch of a comprehensive package to revive the tourism sector at the global level based on three main pillars: economic recovery, marketing and promotion, and strengthening the role of institutions, and also includes technical support programs, including longer-term and broader activities, such as preparing tourism recovery plans or New marketing strategies, and shorter-term activities with specific focus, such as providing advice and guidance on precautionary measures and measures to ensure the safety of societies from the spread of this pandemic.