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Leaders from 140 countries participate in hybrid virtual conference to restore growth through tourism

The Future Hospitality Summit came to a close on Tuesday last week following a hugely successful 2-day event which saw the hospitality world come together live from Riyadh and across the world to discuss, reimagine and pave a new path towards the future.

TheFuture Hospitality Summit was organised by the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and G20 Saudi Secretariat, as part of the International Conferences Programme, honouring the G20 Saudi presidency year 2020. The event, which was powered by Bench Digital, welcomed over 100 special-guest speakers and more than 6,000 attendees from 140 countries for what proved to be two invaluable days of critical insights and knowledge exchange.

Over the course of the hybrid virtual conference, a comprehensive three-pillar programme, developed in partnership with hospitality industry creators, innovators and mentors, focused on understanding the new landscape, collaborating and assessing opportunities, and innovating to recreate the industry’s future. Participants discussed how to forge a path forward based on building a tourism and hospitality sector that is relevant to a post-pandemic world and attractive to future travellers, consumers and workers. Speakers also considered ways of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, while ensuring that tourism development remains sustainable in economic and environmental terms.

The event attracted global leaders from across the sector, including His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization and Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Sarah R. Al-Husseini, General Director of International Cooperation at Ministry of Tourism, Saudi Arabia, and Chair of the G20 Tourism Working Group closed the event with a summary of key achievements driven by Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20 tourism.

During her closing address, in which she spoke about Saudi Arabia’s role in the G20 and the importance of travel and tourism within the global response to the current crisis, Al-Husseini said, “Leading the G20 discussions on tourism this year, we at the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia undertook the mission to drive the agenda for crisis management and economic recovery. Central to this agenda was the importance of maintaining livelihoods and protecting jobs, while enabling sustainable socioeconomic growth and building resilience.

To deliver on these objectives, we prioritised multilateral cooperation and collaboration with international organisations and entities such as the UNWTO, OECD, and the WTTC. In addition to the active role of the G20 in leading this response, Saudi Arabia contributed to achieving major milestones to develop our sector. Amongst the many milestones we have reached together, I am pleased to share that the UNWTO will open a Middle East regional office in Riyadh next year. This is hugely exciting for all of us deeply invested in unlocking our region’s tourism potential.

The Future Hospitality Summit’s immersive, world-class live experience was delivered on Bench Digital’s tried-and-tested, cutting-edge, digital event platform, which enabled attendees to effortlessly engage and interact with each other, make new connections, and attend sessions live from their homes or offices, while a comprehensive line-up of industry leaders and change-makers came together to map out a stronger and more sustainable path for the industry. The hybrid experience was live-streamed across the globe from a state-of-the-art FHS studio in Riyadh, which also hosted Saudi-based speakers and moderators. Visit www.FutureHospitalitySummit.com to find out more

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