Travel & Tourism 2020: A Strategy for Development?

The Arab British Chamber of Commerce was pleased to hold a major event on the travel and tourism industry on 12 February. The event attracted upwards of 100 delegates who were welcomed to the Chamber by Mr Bandar Reda, ABCC CEO and Secretary General.

The keynote speech was delivered by H E Mr Ibrahim Mohieldeen, Ambassador for the League of Arab States in London, who stressed the importance of tourism to achieving economic growth and meeting sustainable development goals.

The ambassador outlined the strategic initiatives being taken by the Arab countries and the policies adopted by the Arab League to develop the industry.

Mr Abdeslam El-Idrissi, Deputy CEO & Secretary General, ABCC, chaired the discussion and informed the audience that the event was the first of many that the Chamber would be organising on individual sectors where there was real potential for UK-Arab collaboration.

Mrs Rita Massoud introduced the forthcoming Arab British Economic Summit 2020 highlighting the special packages available for sponsorship and participation. One of the sessions of ABES2020 would be devoted to travel and tourism.

The meeting heard speakers from leading industry associations such as VisitBritain and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The event gave special attention to investment opportunities within the tourist sectors of individual Arab countries which were addressed by speakers from the Arab embassies of Qatar, Lebanon, Sudan and Palestine. These were joined by speakers on the tourist attractions in Jordan and Bahrain.

Discussions concentrated on how Arab countries were seeking to develop their tourism industries and attract more visitors as part of their plans to boost revenues and diversify their economies.

The speakers ranged widely over the major challenges and emerging opportunities in an industry that was experiencing rapid transformation under the impact of new technological innovations, such as digitalisation and changing consumer demands.

Expert speakers from the industry explained current trends such as the new emphasis on ethical and eco-tourism with travellers increasingly seeking to obtain a more authentic experience on their travels. Younger travellers were interested in adventure tourism and others wished to immerse themselves in local cultures and make contacts with communities in the locations they choose to visit.

The event identified numerous areas for partnership between the British and Arab tourism industries to improve the infrastructure and facilities for visitors. The event was deemed to be successful in drawing attention to the major investment opportunities in this growth industry.