Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have signed the official agreement through which Qatar will host the World Tourism Day celebrations later this year under the theme, ‘Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development’. The event will be held on 27 September 2017, under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
The agreement was signed by Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA and H.E. Taleb Al Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the leading Middle Eastern travel and tourism event.
Qatar had been selected to host the official WTD celebrations by a vote of the 21st UNWTO General Assembly, held in 2015 in Colombia.
“Qatar’s leadership has identified tourism as a priority sector in the nation’s pursuit of a sustainable and diverse economy. We recognise that tourism has the power to drive this growth, as well as enable us to celebrate our culture and heritage with the world, and is rightly therefore at the forefront of national development plans,” commented Al Ibrahim. “There could be no more fitting a destination to carry this message to the world than Qatar, and we look forward to working with the UNWTO to host a memorable World Tourism Day event.”
H.E. Taleb Al Rifai, said “We look forward to be celebrating World Tourism Day 2017 on 27 September in Doha, Qatar. World Tourism Day is the day set aside in the UN calendar to celebrate the transformative power of the tourism sector. This year’s celebration has an even greater significance as it happens in the scope of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.”
Celebrated annually on 27 September, World Tourism Day is the biggest international event in tourism. Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event, which is held in a different continent each year, seeks to address the global challenges outlined in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to highlight the tourism sector´s contribution to achieving them.
Earlier in the day, Al Ibrahim addressed the 42nd Meeting of UNWTO Commission on the Middle East, emphasising Qatar’s commitment to capitalising on tourism’s potential to spur growth in all ancillary sectors and aspects of the economy.
“Sustainability has always been seen at the core of our vision for the tourism industry, and the key driver behind all of our plans, policies and products,” Al Ibrahim said in his speech. “Tourism is a nascent sector, and that is exactly why it presents so many opportunities for us to invest in it, and participate in defining what our country will be known for globally.”
ATM continues until 27th April, with a delegation of 38 hotels, tour operators and destination management companies representing Qatar. As the Middle East’s leading platform for travel and tourism industry members, it presents the ideal opportunity for Qatar to highlight the latest developments in its tourism industry, and showcase its newest tourism and hospitality offerings.
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