The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has recently announced that it will honor His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz President of SCTH in recognition of his efforts to support and promote the stability and growth of world tourism and his efforts in the preservation of the world heritage. As well as his support for the global tourism along with UNWTO’s efforts, to facilitate its mission at the international level ands its initiatives and ideas to support all the nations in the world, where HRH has created an exemplary example at the international level.
His Royal Highness will be honored at the meeting of the twenty-second session of the United Nations General Assembly, to be held on September 13, this year in China, with the participation and attendance of all 156 member States of the Organization and seven observer States.
The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, stressed that this is the first tribute that is given to a person who had given much effort and time for the success of tourism in the world. He said that Prince Sultan bin Salman had succeeded with the testimony of all members of the organization to bring about a change in the whole society’s view of tourism and national heritage.
“Prince Sultan has made a paradigm shift in the development of society’s conviction towards tourism and their realization that tourism is not a luxury but an economic industry and an important sector for development,” the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization paid his tribute.
Dr. Rifai further explained that HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman’s efforts had contributed to a major shift in the development of tourism and preservation of heritage at all local, regional and global levels.
At the local level, the Secretary-General of UNWTO said that Prince Sultan, in 15 years, had created an organizational structure for tourism in the kingdom and created a new sector that did not exist and developed and regulated the sector, which is now considered to be the oldest and longest-held, responsible for tourism in the whole world.
“For these reasons and others the Governing Council of the Organization took a decision to honor His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman at the twenty-second session of the United Nations General Assembly, to be held on Sept. 13 this year in China. With the participation and attendance of all 156 States members of the Organization and seven observer States,” he said.
Dr. Rifai in his statement on this occasion reviewed some of the efforts of Prince Sultan bin Salman, stating that his role is not limited to Saudi Arabia only but, has major efforts in the Arab reunion countries, saying: “Prince Sultan bin Salman has always been at the forefront of Arab meetings and his presence is a guarantee for the success of Arab meetings, besides his great attention towards Arab tourism and heritage, has created new dimension for Arab reunion. He promoted the importance of heritage and its linkage with tourism, as a key element for the promotion of national identity. He has also established a link between tourism ministers of heritage and culture at the Gulf and Arab levels on the close interdependence of these two sectors.”
“At the global level,” Dr. Taleb Rifai said, “His Royal Highness has supported every meeting of the UNWTO for the past 10 years and he has been working day and night to support the organization’s efforts internationally, where he was present with us at all our meetings and his attendance was a moral support to the Assembly’s activity. Prince Sultan bin Salman would deal objectively and push things forward with his charisma, and his broad vision and ability to enter and scrutinize details to make sure that the desired results are obtained.”
Dr. Rifai said, “This is the first time that the Organization has honored a personality in front of all the world’s ministers and in the presence of the Chinese president and Prime Minister, and we as Arabs cherish the efforts of His Royal Highness for being the first to win this honor. I have a sense of pride that His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman is chosen from among all the world’s tourism representatives to this unique tribute. All I would say is that this honor lifts our head as Arabs.”
His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman, for his part, expressed his acceptance and appreciation for the exceptional assessment of an international organization and of the Honorable Ministers of the Organization, affirming that this is a tribute to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the King and the government. It is also an appreciation of the citizens who have preceded the time and documented the state’s orientations that national tourism will be compatible with their aspirations in their country, and that they will reflect their values, culture and heritage in the first place.
HRH President of SCTH added that, since the inception of this blessed State the Saudi citizen has proved to be a man of initiative and that when initiatives have been launched compatible with the values, culture and advantages of his country, he is taking the initiative and racing with time to make it work with us in the Commission.
“We hope we have accomplished what we have planned especially we have raised dozens of tourist initiatives that would have changed the face of tourism in the kingdom, including the tourist destinations on the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, we are very optimistic of the future, God Willing,” HRH said.
HRH President of SCTH on the other hand attributed this achievement to the late Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz (mercy of Allah be on him), who adopted the national tourism and oversaw its foundation during its difficult stages of establishment.
HRH President of SCTH also dedicated this achievement to late Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz (Allah’s blessing be on him), who founded this great consensus between national tourism and the Ministry of the Interior for security in the provinces.
“I would like also to dedicate this achievement to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (may Allah protect him), as the tourism in his reign has enjoyed remarkable support from his government, which will make it to meet the aspirations of the citizens. The Custodian is the man of history and civilization and he has adopted the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Caring of Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage”, which is one of the most important programs and work streams of the Commission,” HRH added.
HRH President of SCTH in his statement cited the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques when he was governor of Riyadh province to SCTH where he saw that national tourism ambitions could be reached at a time when some questioned them to be a kind of fantasy.
“The figures set at the establishment of SCTH have remarkably exceeded, which provides an evidence of the pivotal and important role played by tourism in the national economy and the creation of real employment opportunities for citizens.”
HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, at the end of his statement dedicated this achievement to all regions of the kingdom and to officials who took the initiative before others to adopt national tourism at the forefront of them comes the Saudi citizen. He added: “SCTH is already working with its partners to develop a full platform of financial systems, initiatives and programs that make national tourism an integrated economic industry.”