His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Al Khateeb
Assistant Minister for Tourism
Riyadh, 19 April 2022
Saudi Arabia calls upon global leaders to support to the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund, the first-ever global fund exclusively devoted to tourism, during the annual Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). The Kingdom has pledged an initial contribution of $100 million to fund, which is to be formally established later in 2022.
His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, said: “The pandemic has reiterated the importance of tourism as a key enabler for economic growth and recovery. Our $100 million pledge will support vulnerable communities recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19 and other global shocks. “We all have a role to play to accelerate recovery and achieve resilience, and international collaboration will be vital in ensuring the sustainable growth of the tourism sector. We invite donor countries and the private sector to contribute to building this trust fund and will continue to work collaboratively to ensure our sector remains a pillar of the world economy, bringing prosperity to our communities.”
The Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group convened ministers, governments officials, civil society representatives, and international media to discuss how to build a greener and more inclusive future for vulnerable communities in the tourism sector. The meeting examined the impact of global shocks such as COVID-19 and climate change on communities and the need to deliver a resilient recovery for those most in need.
In May 2021, Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The MoU was created to activate the Tourism Community Initiative, aimed at promoting sustainable tourism, inclusive growth, job creation, and the conservation of natural heritage assets in developing countries. Supporting the fund builds on Saudi Arabia’s strong track record of initiatives to develop the tourism sector locally and globally and drive economic recovery. In 2020, the AlUla Framework for Inclusive Community Development was launched, in collaboration with UNWTO and the G20 Tourism Working Group, followed by the Leader’s declaration at the 2020 Riyadh G20 summit, to establish a sustainable and inclusive tourism program.
In 2021, the Kingdom helped launch the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC), a multi-country, multi-stakeholder coalition to reform the tourism sector’s estimated 8% contribution of total global greenhouse gases. The STGC is comprised of governments, international organizations, academia, financing institutions and industry associations will lead, accelerate, and track the tourism sector’s transformation toward net-zero emissions and support global efforts to protect nature and societies. The Center recently appointed eight international experts in sustainable tourism from across the globe as Envoys.
Saudi Arabia is working to boost its tourism offering and contribute to the achievement of Vision 2030 targets, which include 100 million domestic and international visits a year, increasing tourism’s GDP contribution to 10 percent, and creating one million new jobs.