Arab Aviation Summit - the most prominent aviation and tourism event in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) - has kicked off today, focusing on trends, insights and opportunities driving the continuous growth and development of the aviation and tourism industries in the region.
Taking place under the patronage of Her Excellency Lina Annab, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan, the summit has brought together top executives from the aviation and tourism sector by the Dead Sea, Jordan to explore this year’s theme ‘Linking Cultures, Driving Economies’.
In honour of the occasion, the Arab Tourism Organization of the Arab League and the Arab Aviation Summit signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the event, which marks a firm commitment to future cooperation.
The summit opened with a welcome address by the Arab Aviation Summit Chairperson Adel Al Ali, in which he highlighted the important relationship between aviation and tourism while encouraging a holistic, collaborative approach to the region’s travel industry to achieve further growth and momentum.
H.E. Lina Annab concurred that aviation and tourism cannot be seen in isolation. Commenting on growth in the travel and tourism sector, which is outpacing growth in other sectors in national economies, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities highlighted airport infrastructure, visa processes, and taxes and other levies as issues that need to be prioritized by governments and approached collectively.
His Excellency Dr. Bandar Fahad Al Fehaid, President, Arab Tourism Organization of the Arab League, commented that there is no tourism without aviation, and no aviation without tourism. Speaking of the Organization’s vision to support the growth of these vital industries in the coming years, H.E. Dr. Bandar Fahad Al Fehaid informed attendees that 12% of the total working opportunities in the Arab world come from the tourism industry and there is significant potential to increase this further.
Following the opening remarks, CNBC Arabia led an interview panel discussion on the topic ‘Why Arab travel and tourism is a vital economic and cultural driver?’, featuring Mr. Abdel Wahab Teffaha, Secretary General of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) and moderated by Osayed Khreisat, a financial analyst and reporter at CNBC Arabia TV.
The day-long summit, moderated by Richard Dean, co-host of The Business Breakfast show on Dubai Eye 103.8 FM radio, continues with the inauguration of the Airbus Little Engineer Workshop, an award-winning initiative dedicated to nurturing young minds and enhancing public understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interactive and tailored programs.
In the afternoon, the summit program will feature further panels exploring Jordan’s tourism industry, the role of the private sector in developing Arab aviation and tourism, and the future of destinations and travellers.
Hailed as the ‘voice of the industry’, the Arab Aviation Summit is an industry initiative organized annually. Key findings and outcomes from the summit are compiled and developed into a white paper report, which is later presented to regulators and decision makers from both public and private sectors, and followed up by a course of action.