Regional Conference on Tourism in MENA Cities: Competitiveness for Sustainable Growth
Throughout history, cities have become significant drivers for growth, innovation and competitiveness in the overall economy. At the beginning of the 19th century, only 2 per cent of the world’s population was urban. Now, cities accommodate 54.5 % of the world population and generate more than 60% of global GDP.
Sustainable Urban Tourism is considered as an economic activity with a high potential to stimulate local economic growth because of its complementarity with other economic activities, its contribution to GDP, job creation, foreign exchange and services exports. This process builds a quality visitor experience and in the meantime safeguards and enhances the quality of life for the local community by providing economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits.
The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development (A/RES/70/193).This is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change.
The Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) which accounts for approximately 6% of the world’s population is undergoing a transformation which also indicates a significant urbanization trend. With its world-class combination of cultural and natural attractions, the MENA region has long held a powerful allure for tourists. To reap the full economic and cultural benefits of enhancing sustainable and competitive tourism by investing in the full spectrum of cultural, historical and religious assets the cities of the region have to offer, it is necessary to re-address the ways urban tourism is planned, developed, governed and managed in line with national/local urbanization policies, tourism policies and through coordination, cooperation and partnerships with all the related public and private stakeholders and the civil society.
Under the auspices of the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) is organizing the Regional Conference on Tourism in MENA Cities: Competitiveness for Sustainable Growth, in Amman on the 13th and 14th of November 2017, in collaboration with the Greater Amman Municipality and Lawrence & Husseini Consult, and with the technical support of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The Conference will mainly provide a clear understanding and a shared vision on:
- An integrated approach to policy making, legislative framework and governance in urban tourism destinations in MENA region.
- Improving transparency, knowledge, professionalism, productivity, infrastructure, connectivity, innovation and technology to achieve competitiveness in MENA cities.
- The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, a comprehensive framework for achieving responsible and sustainable tourism for development in destinations.