400 tourism experts participate in Tourism Innovation and Transformation Forum

ABU DHABI, — Over 400 professionals and tourism experts from various countries attended today a forum to exchange views on how to optimise the benefits of innovation to accelerate tourism growth and overcome business challenges.

Held under the auspices of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy, the Tourism Innovation and Transformation Forum 2016, was organised by the UAE Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, at The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City in Dubai.

Commenting on the forum, Al Mansoori said, “The forum was in line with the government’s initiatives and events launched during the UAE Innovation Week. This reflects government’s commitment to make innovation a way of life in the country and incorporate it in various local sectors for performance improvement. This is part of our endeavors to achieve progress and development, improve people’s lives, and establish the UAE’s leadership in all areas and fields.

“The Ministry of Economy is optimising innovation to boost tourism sector, highlight its potential, and attract investment to increase its contributions to the country’s economy. With our wise leaders’ support for this sector, the government seeks to further develop it by building essential infrastructure,” he added.

Mohammed Khamis Al Mheiri, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Economy, said, “The Ministry-led initiatives and projects that support the tourism sector reflect its commitment to UAE Vision 2021. Innovation is the central theme of these initiatives as it becomes an important part of the sector’s development. This important annual forum provides a platform where industry leaders can develop a roadmap, explore future challenges, and create innovative and creative solutions to pressing issues.”

He added that the travel and tourism sector contribution to the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at AED 134 billion in 2015, accounting for 8.7 percent. It grew by 4.4 percent this 2016 as per the World Travel and Tourism Council’s data. The sector’s contribution is expected to increase at a rate of 5.4 percent annually over the next 10 years to reach AED 236.8 billion by the year 2026 and will account for 11.2 percent of the total GDP. The tourism and travel sector is also expected to generate more than 370 million jobs by 2026.

The forum included four distinctive interactive workshops on the shift in the tourism sector, the transformation of various global destinations, the transition to smart cities, and the innovative visitors’ experiences. The workshops were led by industry specialists and support the sector’s various facets by promoting discussions and dialogues on the importance of innovation.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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