Travel and tourism must “have roots in local communities” and not just through providing jobs, the former head of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai will tell a summit in Jordan next week.
Rifai will deliver a keynote address to the Resilience Through Tourism Summit in Amman saying: “We can’t continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities.
“It is not enough just to serve rich people. Simply providing jobs will not be enough for the future.”
Rifai stood down as UNWTO secretary general at the end of last year following eight years at the helm of the organisation.
He will tell an audience including ministers, tourism authorities, travel suppliers, tourism development bodies and crisis management specialists: “It’s not enough to have the private sector sharing profits [with communities].
“We have to ensure everyone in a country benefits – whatever comes to a country must be shared.”
Rifai told Travel Weekly Europe: “So many ministers said to me ‘It was tourism that kept our economy going.’
“Tourism can do so much that other sectors can’t. But this does not just come automatically. You have to invest [and] you need to have roots [in local communities].
“We will be talking in Amman about how to keep economies going and keep jobs alive. That is important not just for Jordan but all over the Middle East and all over the world.”
Jordan saw unprecedented protests force the prime minister from office at the start of June.
Rifai, a former tourism minister of Jordan, said: “The fact we are holding this meeting [next week] and so many people are coming is extremely important.”
The summit, on June 26-27, is supported by development agency USAID, the World Travel & Tourism Council, UNWTO and Pacific-Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Resilience Through Tourism Summit, June 26-27, Amman, Jordan
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