Saudi Arabia hosts World Tourism Day

SINGAPORE, 27 September 2023: More than 500 government officials and tourism industry experts representing 120 countries will attend the annual World Tourism Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 27 to 28 September. 

Now in its 43rd year, the special day will see the tourism industry leaders do what they do best: talk about tourism at every opportunity while amassing grossly enlarged carbon footprints.

The breadth of high-level speakers showcases the collective impetus across the industry to celebrate the sector’s successes while exploring solutions to its most pressing challenges. 

Most of the speakers are part of a global circuit of talking globetrotters who have accumulated an inexcusable carbon footprint that far exceeds the value of what they are saying, mainly as it is repetitive and largely irrelevant to those struggling to keep their travel and hospitality enterprises above the breakeven benchmark.

Speakers confirmed for the two-day talk shop

His Excellency Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization

His Excellency Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Investment of Saudi Arabia

Her Highness Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed Al Saud, Vice Minister of Tourism

Her Excellency Patricia de Lille, Minister of Tourism of South Africa

Her Excellency Nikolina Brnjac, Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia

His Excellency Mehmet Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey

Her Excellency Rosa Ana Morillo Rodriguez, Secretary of State, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain

Julia Simpson, CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council

Pansy Ho, Secretary General of the Global Tourism Economy Forum

Captain Ibrahim Koshy, the CEO of Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA)

Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises

Greg Webb, CEO of Travelport

Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso

Ritesh Agarwal, CEO of OYO

UN Secretary-General António Guterre comments: “Tourism is a powerful force for progress and mutual understanding. But this force must be protected and nurtured to deliver its full benefits. On this World Tourism Day, we recognise the vital need for green investments to build a tourism sector that delivers for people and the planet. So, let us all do more to harness the full potential of sustainable tourism. Because sustainable tourism is investing in a better future for all.” 

WTD 2023 is waving the theme flag “Tourism and Green Investments” to foster global collaboration to examine investment opportunities to strengthen the resilience of the tourism industry and steer the sector towards an investment-led and sustainably focused future. 

The scale of the event being hosted in Riyadh showcases the importance of the Saudi government to the development of the global tourism sector. The Kingdom was elected chair of the executive council of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for 2023 and hosted the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit in Riyadh last year.