The official celebrations of World Tourism Day 2023, co-hosted by Saudi Arabia and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), kicked off on Wednesday in Riyadh, the kingdom’s capital.
The events, with the theme of “Tourism and Green Investments,” have brought together more than 500 government officials, tourism leaders, and experts representing 120 countries, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
During the opening ceremony, Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb said this year’s celebrations are the largest in the 43-year history of World Tourism Day.
The minister also highlighted tourism as one of the world’s most vital economic sectors and called for international cooperation to foster balanced and equitable growth in the sector.
Al-Khateeb stressed that the Saudi government has welcomed foreign investments in tourism and assisted private companies in accessing global capital to “build facilities that visitors expect and need in Saudi Arabia.”
Also at the ceremony, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said that “on this World Tourism Day, we celebrate tourism’s ability to drive growth while also highlighting the vital need for investments to ensure such growth is inclusive and sustainable.”
The first World Tourism Day was held in 1980. The date of Sept. 27 marks the day the Statutes of the Organization that became the UNWTO were signed.