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)

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