During a panel discussion on the sidelines of 24th UNWTO General Assembly meeting.
ABU DHABI – H.E Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs and Chairman of the Emirates Tourism Council, participated in a ministerial panel discussion on innovation and entrepreneurship in the tourism sector, on the sidelines of the 24th meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
During the session, the minister underlined the importance of strengthening international cooperation to support the global tourism sector by focusing on innovation in the field of tourism. This is necessary to create sustainable mechanisms that support the sector’s readiness for various future changes. He also highlighted the importance of developing plans and initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs to invest in this vital sector.
H.E. Al Falasi headed the UAE delegation that participated in the General Assembly’s meeting, which was held in Madrid, Spain.
Furthermore, the Minister pointed out that the tourism sector is a major contributor to the UAE’s national economy. He said: “The local tourism sector has shown high resilience in facing crises. It also proved its exceptional ability during this year, strengthening the UAE’s leading position as it surpassed the top 10 global tourism destinations, with an average hotel occupancy rate of 62%.”
H.E. Al Falasi explained that the positive results achieved by the domestic tourism sector during this year is a result of the vision and directives of the UAE’s wise leadership. They also reflect the strength and flexibility of the tourism sector, the development of the UAE tourism market and the diversity of its products. He further pointed out that the UAE continues its efforts to consolidate its leading position in the global tourism landscape, and to sustain growth and high rankings on global performance indicators for tourism and hospitality services, in line with its efforts to achieve the strategic objectives for the sector.
During the panel discussion, H.E. Al Falasi indicated that the development of rural tourism and nature tourism destinations is one of the priorities of the National Tourism Development Strategy, which is evident in the huge projects and investments that the government allocates for the development of cities across the UAE. These include tourism development plans for Hatta, Khor Fakkan and Jebel Jais, in addition to many other projects. In addition, he highlighted the significance of rural development in creating new and promising opportunities to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
H.E. noted that the UAE has achieved a leading global position in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation, as indicated by advanced rankings in various relevant global indicators. He added that the UAE ranked first in the region and fourth globally in the Global Entrepreneurship Index for 2020 outperforming many global economies, and that the UAE’s wise leadership is looking forward to achieving more progress in all global indicators.
In this context, H.E. said that the Ministry has recently launched the ‘Entrepreneurial Nation,’ an ambitious initiative that aims to drive a qualitative shift in the creation of an environment that supports entrepreneurship, start-ups and small and medium-sized companies in the UAE, as well as unicorns The UAE’s entrepreneurship sector is based on a strong partnership between the public and private sectors, and the government is making huge efforts to develop and empower it further by enabling entrepreneurs to develop their skills, launch innovative projects, and expand their operations.
On the sidelines of the meeting, H.E. Dr. Al Falasi also held a number of bilateral meetings with representatives of the World Tourism Organization concerned with the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable development. He discussed a number of practical ideas and creative initiatives for them to benefit from Expo 2020 Dubai, by organizing events to support tourism during the first quarter of 2022. Those initiatives would pave the way for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies from different countries to present their digital and innovative ideas and projects to develop the tourism sector in the UAE. This will support the Ministry’s efforts to digitize the UAE’s tourism services and find innovative solutions to improve the tourism experience for visitors to the country, he noted.
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