Saudi supported Tourism Solution on Climate Change: “We are lase …

by: Juergen T Steinmetz |

Saudi Arabia and tourism is known to think big. With 16 Mega projects from The Line, Diri yah to the Red Sea Project in progress, climate change is next. The establishment of a global sustainable tourism center is shaping up. It will be MEGA, and it will be a gift to the world by the people of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia built a reputation to deliver and to walk the walk, according to HE Gloria Guevara, overlooking the project. “We are lazer focussed”, she told eTurboNews

An often more quiet Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb together with his new top advisor known as the most powerful woman in tourism, former Mexican Minister of Tourism HE Gloria Guevara are leading a dream team behind shaping not only tourism in the Kingdom, but providing a solution to the problem of net zero and climate change for the world.

The biggest challenge the world is facing is climate change, and tourism is a direct part of it.

It appears Saudi Arabia has already launched the mother of all mega projects to provide the resources and unite the world in finding a solution for the threat of climate change.

The mystery around this project remains for the time being.

All of this is in line with Crown Prince Vision 2030. Saudi Vision 2030 is a strategic framework to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.

The first indication that the Kingdom has its eyes on coming out with a solution to unite the world, put up the resources for experts to respond to this challenge with action was made known to the world in 2021 during the COVID pandemic.

It happened at the time when the tourism world was looking at Saudi Arabia for help, and the Kingdom stood up and delivered.

The world saw Saudi Arabia is able to react immediately when help is needed, putting talk into action. Saudi Arabia just opened for western tourists when the pandemic emerged in 2020.

Helping the tourism world to master the COVID 19 crisis positioned a new and relatively unknown travel and tourism destination for western tourists into a new global center for the world tourism industry.

A country that was closed for the western world is converting into one of the most open societies in a controlled way, but with lightning speed. You can say the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is transforming the beauty of the past into a glories of tomorrow, using innovation within its Vision 2030 for a more peaceful and livable world.

Saudi Arabia understood the threat to tourism was not only COVID, but global warming and climate change. Again KSA is stepping up in the world – and for the world.

It started in 2021 when the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This resulted was in the issuance of a special declaration on the environment to ensure a sustainable future that limits environmental degradation, preserving biodiversity, sustainable use of natural resources, and preserving the environment and oceans, while promoting clean air and water, dealing with natural disasters and extreme weather events, and tackling climate change.

Announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Saudi Green Initiative and the UN Climate Change conference, or COP26, in Glasgow last year was the establishment of The Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC)

The Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC)

STGC is the world’s first multi-country, a multi-stakeholder global coalition that will lead, accelerate, and track the tourism industry’s transition to net-zero emissions, as well as drive action to protect nature and support communities. It will enable the transition while delivering knowledge, tools, financing mechanisms, and innovation stimulation into the tourism sector.

STGC is about bringing together governments, international organizations, academic bodies, financing institutions and industry associations.

The STGC aims to reduce the tourism sector’s estimated 8 percent contribution to total global greenhouse gases and move toward net-zero emissions.

Initially eight appointed experts were seen discussing STGC on a number of occasions, and again last week in Jeddah.

The experts in 2021 pledged their commitment to the center’s work globally. They will be based in Europe, Asia and the Americas as ambassadors for the STGC through their work with governments, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.

The center’s envoy announced in 2021 are Ambassador Dho Young-shim, co-chair of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ Advocates Alumni; Harry Theoharis, former Greek tourism minister; Isabel Hill, former director of the US’s National Travel and Tourism Office; and Prof. Geoffrey Lipman, former World Travel and Tourism Council president, International Air Transport Association executive director and UN World Tourism Organization assistant secretary-general.

Others are Dr. Christoph Wolff, former head of mobility for the World Economic Forum; Dr. Mario Hardy, former chief executive officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association; Prof. Donald Hawkins, professor emeritus of management, tourism studies and international affairs at George Washington University; and Dr. Adolfo Favieres, the former owner of Occidental Hotels, among others.

This announcement built on the STGC’s global engagement initiatives, with the coalition receiving positive support in phase one from various countries. The UK, US, France, Japan, Germany, Kenya, Jamaica, Morocco, Spain, and Saudi Arabia were all invited as founding countries because they have prioritized tourism’s impact on the climate.

The top organizations helping to shape the center and provide the services in phase one are the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Environment Program, International Chamber of Commerce, World Travel and Tourism Council, World Bank, SYSTEMIQ and World Resource Institute.

In addition to Harvard University, which will provide support to the STGC through research and capacity building, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will guide the center to accelerate industry action on climate neutrality.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb said: “Saudi Arabia is taking clear and decisive action to ensure that the tourism sector, including the 330 million livelihoods depending on it, are protected into the future

“The tourism sector contributes to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions – and this is expected to grow if we don’t act now. Tourism is also a highly fragmented sector. 80% of businesses in tourism are small and medium sized enterprises who rely on guidance and support from sector leadership. The sector must be part of the solution.

In March of 2022, Saudi Arabia kept positioning the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC), finding the the travel and tourism industry could reduce its emissions by more than 40% to net zero by 2030 when acting radical, controlled but united.

In November 2022, the tourism world met at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh for the World Travel and Tourism Council Summit. A report at the 22nd Global Summit under the theme “Travel For A Better Future” was presented.

The report was based on extensive consultation with leading stakeholders worldwide representing hospitality, transport, OTAs, governments, investors, NGOs, and academia.

The report found that without significant change, these emissions will rise 20% by 2030, representing one-third of that year’s total (net zero) global carbon budget. This puts the viability of the industry itself at risk.

“Saudi Arabia, following the vision and leadership of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, is answering this vital call by working with partners – that prioritize tourism, SMEs, and climate – to create this multi-country, multi-stakeholder coalition that will lead, accelerate, and track the tourism industry’s transition to net zero emissions.

“By working together and delivering a strong joint platform, the tourism sector will have the support it needs. The STGC will facilitate growth while improving tourism for the climate, nature, and communities.”

HE Gloria Guevara, Chief Special Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, said: “For years and years, multiple players across the tourism sector have been working on different initiatives to accelerate the race to zero – but we have been working in silos.

“The impact of the global pandemic on the tourism sector highlighted the vital importance of multi-country, multi-stakeholder collaboration. And now, Saudi Arabia is stepping up to bring stakeholders together to make tourism part of the solution to climate change.”

The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP27, was the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference and held from November 6 until November 20, 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

Taking the stage at Cop27’s Saudi Green Initiative, the vice minister of tourism for Saudi Arabia, HRH Princess Haifa bint Muhammad Al Saud, asserted that it was time to “stop thinking and start acting. “Tourism is too big to fail.”

The Tourism Panel on Climate Change (TPCC) was created by the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC) led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to support tourism’s transition to net-zero emissions and climate-resilient tourism development.

The Tourism Panel on Climate Change (TPCC) is a neutral body of more than 60 tourism and climate scientists and experts who will provide a current-state assessment of the sector and objective metrics to public and private sector decision-makers worldwide. It will produce regular assessments in line with the UNFCCC COP programs and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

Leaders that are part of the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC) had been meeting frequently. Just last week this group was seen at the Ritz Carlton Jeddah. It included new faces, including former Mexican president Calderon.

According to eTurboNews, HE Gloria Guevara and her team are working around the clock to shape this center. Major announcements are in the pipeline

Saudi Arabia thinks Mega, acts Mega, and it is almost certain STGC will be Mega.

Full article: Saudi supported Tourism Solution on Climate Change: “We are lase …
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