UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum: Tourism’s contribution to sustainable economic growth and diversification in the MENA region

UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum: Tourism’s contribution to sustainable economic growth and diversification in the MENA region

24 Apr 2017, 15:30 - 17:30

Al Multaqua Ballroom


UNWTO & Arabian Tavel Market Ministerial Forum on:

Tourism’s contribution to sustainable economic growth and diversification in the MENA region 

Under the patronage of H.E. Mr.Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates.

This forum will bring together Ministers of Tourism and industry leaders in the MENA region to consider ways and means of capitalizing on Tourism growth in the region and building a sustainable ecosystem for the sector that would unlock its contribution to the fulfilment of their national agendas for GDP growth and economic diversification, innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity, job creation, human capital and infrastructure development, investment and export promotion.

The Forum will address the following issues:

  • Empowering evidence based decision making and accurate measurement of the contribution of Tourism to current and future economic growth - particularly as regards GDP, jobs and exports - and its multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy.
  • Enhancing the contribution of domestic tourism alongside international tourism (especially intra-regional) in delivering sustainable economic growth from the sector.
  • Main challenges and opportunities for securing investment in Tourism (FDI and domestic investment).
  • Strategies and measures to strengthen Tourism’s resilience to external shocks.
  • Ensuring that economic growth due to Tourism leads to the sustainable and inclusive development of host communities and the transition towards a green economy.
  • Investing in technology - driven innovations to enhance performance and improve competitiveness.
  • Policies to promote job creation and entrepreneurship
  • Strengthening the sector’s institutional framework, engaging and aligning key governmental role players on Tourism policy issues and targets and developing result driven partnerships with local and international stakeholders.


Ministerial Agenda:

3:30 - 4.00 p.m

Welcome by Moderator introducing speakers: CNN International

Opening Session:

- Mr. Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions

- Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

- H.E. Mr. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates

4.00-5.20 p.m:

Panel Debate 1:

Invited speakers:

Ministers/Heads of NTAs and NTOs:

1. Shaikh Khaled Bin Hmoud Al Khalifa, Executive Director for Bahrain Authority for Tourism and Exhibitions, Bahrain

2. H.E. Mr. Mohamed Yehia Rashed, Minister of Tourism of Egypt

3. H.E. Ms. Lina Mazhar Annab, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities of Jordan*

4. H.E. Mr. Avedis Guidanian , Minister of Tourism of Lebanon

5. Mrs. Maitha Saif Majid Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Tourism, Oman

6. H.E. Mrs. Salma Elloumi Rekik, Minister of Tourism and handicrafts of Tunisia

7. Mr. Mohammed K. Al Muhairi, Undersecretary for Tourism, Ministry of Economy of United Arab Emirates

8. Mr. Haitham Mattar, CEO and Head of Tourism Development Authority, Ras Al-Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, United Arab Emirates

Private sector:

1. Mr. Vijay Poonoosamy, Vice president, Etihad Airways

2. Mr. Eyad Jasim Al Kharafi, Head of Tourism Sector, Al Kharafi Group, Kuwait*

3. Mr. Antonio Peña, Director, JSF T&T School

4. Mr. Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Dawood, CEO, Al Tayyar Group

5. Mr. Ivan Jakovljevic, Travel Industry Director, MENA region, Google

6. Mr. Yousef Wahbah, Partner & Leader, Real Estate & Hospitality, MENA region, Ernst & Young

7. Mr. Antonio Lopez de Avila, UNWTO Advisor on Technology and Innovation

8. Mr. Carl Obst, Director, Institute for the Development of Environmental-Economic Accounting (IDEEA)

9. Mr. Antoine Medawar, Vice president for the MENA Region, AMADEUS

Confirmed moderators:

Becky Anderson, CNN International

5.20 - 5.30 p.m

Conclusion by Moderator and closing remarks by UNWTO SG





  • Simon Press


    Senior Exhibition Director

    World Travel Market London and Arabian Travel Market, Reed Exhibitions

    WTM London is in its 38th year and attracts more than 51 000 participants from 186 countries, generated £2.8 billion in industry business.  ATM in...

  • Dr Taleb Rifai


    Secretary General

    UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

    Dr. Taleb Rifai is Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). He has an extensive background in international and national...


In partnership with UNWTO

In partnership with United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy

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