UNWTO honors Prince Sultan for developing tourism, national heritage
RIYADH: The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at its 22nd session on Wednesday honored Prince Sultan bin Salman, the president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
The prince was honored for his efforts in supporting and developing tourism, changing the concept of Saudi tourism and heritage, and his support of the WTO’s programs and efforts.
During the ceremony, held in Chengdu in the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese deputy prime minister, and the secretary-general of the WTO, Taleb Al-Rifai, presented the award to Prince Sultan in the presence of more than 1,100 officials and 75 ministers representing 132 countries around the world.
This honor represents an international achievement for Saudi Arabia because the UNWTO has never honored another personality before. It is also a testimony to the success of Prince Sultan in leading this important sector.
Prince Sultan has been the president and chairman of the board of SCTH since its inception in 2000. Since then, the it has managed to build an active economic sector, and the contribution of tourism to the GDP has been significant. Tourism revenues reached SR166.8 billion ($44.5 billion) by the end of 2016, with the number of tourist trips in the Kingdom in 2016 nearly 47.5 million.
Prince Sultan said that “the SCTH started quite small with great dreams and ambitions, and it has rapidly accomplished great achievements.” He also noted that the SCTH supervises more than 22 sectors, and it focuses on partnership with government bodies. Moreover, it has worked for years to establish strong bases for a large economic industry.
The prince is known for his communications with citizens and discussing ideas with them in workshops before committing to any program.
In the Arab domain, Prince Sultan played the main role in establishing the Arab Tourism Organization, of which he is the honorary president, and has worked hard to support its programs and activities.
The prince has called for linking tourism with culture and heritage to strengthen the ties between the youth and their country and history. He is also keen to bolster investment in the tourism sector and enhance partnership with investors.
Prince Salman has worked hard in the field of national heritage, especially in the development of museums, and managed to register Saudi sites in the World Heritage list. He also established a special center for architectural heritage and paid special attention to handicrafts.
SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman, right, receives award from the Chinese deputy prime minister, and the secretary-general of the WTO, Taleb Al-Rifai, left, in Chengdu on Wednesday. (SPA)