Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat started her visit to Geneva, Switzerland with a round-table discussion on Tuesday attended by officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO),
the WTO and UN delegates.
The round-table discussion, which was attended by JICA director-general Toshiyuki Nakamura; Claudia Lisboa, coordinator and corporate relations officer of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is part of Al-Mashat's participation in the 2019 Tourism in the Aid for Trade (ATF) agenda hosted by Switzerland from 3 to 5 July.
The event was hosted by Ambassador Alaa Youssef, Egypt's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, in honour of the Egyptian minister as she sets to be a keynote speaker on Wednesday at the dialogue session"Tourism financing for the 2030 Agenda".
The discussion was also attended by Korama Akihiko, deputy director of JICA; Ziyulin Chai, director of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Services and Investment Sector; Dorothy Tempo, the deputy executive director of the World Trade Centre; and Zoritza Eurosevic, director of Institutional Relations, Partnership and Special Delegate to the United Nations.
The participants discussed the role of the Ministry of Tourism as a sponsor and regulator of the tourism sector in Egypt in light of developments in trade and services worldwide.
The discussion reviewed cooperation between Egypt and JICA, including on the new Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM). The minister pointed out that promoting the GEM's opening next year is one of the main of pillars of promoting Egyptian tourism abroad.
Al-Mashat stressed the importance of keeping pace with trends in the tourism industry, which is a cornerstone of the structural reform programme launched by the tourism ministry for the development of the sector.
The minister highlighted the ministry’s vision to achieve sustainable tourism development in line with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
The minister referred to the recent research by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) stating that travel and tourism in Egypt grew by 16.5 percent in 2018, much faster than the global average of 3.9 percent.
According to the WTTC, the country’s efforts in improving security infrastructure have paid off, leading to the best rise in tourism since 2010.
She stressed the importance of modernising tourism legislations and regulating the work of the tourism sector in order to cope with the changes in the tourism industry worldwide, such as digital transformation and electronic booking.
Minister Al-Mashat also stressed the importance of developing Egypt’s tourism industry and enhancing cooperation between the ministry and international bodies and institutions, including the UNWTO, which plays a major role in serving the world tourism sector.
The minister highlighted the diversification of tourism sources and the modernisation of promotion mechanisms for Egypt as one of the main axes of the structural reform programme.
Al-Mashat stressed that the Ministry of Tourism has developed a concept of sustainable tourism which involves the environmental, social and economic angles.
The minister concluded by stressing that Egyptian tourism is moving steadily to keep pace with global changes, being one of the Egyptian state's top priorities.