UNWTO and ATM Ministerial Forum address intra-Arab tourism
Written by Administrator


Press Release
Madrid, Spain, 11 May 2015 PR No. 15033

UNWTO and ATM Ministerial Forum address intra-Arab tourism

Visa facilitation, open skies, the need to adapt to market needs and the role of events in the promotion of intra-regional tourism in the MENA region were the focus of the debate at the 2015 UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum on Intra-Arab Tourism: Addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities (Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 5 May 2015).

A joint UNWTO/ATM initiative, the Ministerial Forum was held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development and Chairman of the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities of the United Arab Emirates.

“We can all benefit from a common strategy, an Arab tourism strategy, and the United Arab Emirates are committed to support such a strategy”, said Sheik Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, opening the Forum.

“International tourism to the Middle East grew by 5% in 2014 after three years of consecutive decline. These are very encouraging results and show that tourism in the region continues to progress despite its many challenges”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

The Arab market can play a particular role in progressing tourism in the Middle East as it tends to spend more, stay longer and be more resilient in times of crisis due to its greater knowledge about the reality of the region. Participants agreed that although tourism in MENA reveals a diverse picture with the Gulf Council Countries (GCC), North Africa and the Levant destinations presenting different tourism development levels, there are important opportunities to strengthen regional cooperation.

Areas of opportunities identified by participants include visa facilitation and easier land border crossings through enhanced use of technology, growing youth and cruise markets, and the development of thematic routes. Furthermore, participants highlighted the importance of a bigger focus on the domestic market and the opportunity to use upcoming mega events, namely sports events, to change the international image of the region and implement new measures such as visa facilitation.

Alongside these opportunities, participants stressed that challenges remain, including the lack of air lift and open skies policies making air travel within the region still comparatively expensive, talent management and the need to promote job mobility, as well as the importance of knowing the Arab tourism market better and adjust product development accordingly.

Participants also agreed that there are important opportunities to work together as a multi-destination to attract tourists from other regions of the world.

Globally, around 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion international tourists travel within their own region. In contrast, only 42% of international tourist arrivals to the Middle East originate in other countries in the region, despite the extraordinary growth of international tourism in the Middle East over the last two decades, and the increasing level of outbound travel from MENA to other world regions.

Speakers at the Ministerial Forum, moderated by CNN International’s Becky Anderson, included H.E. Mr. Zayed R. Alzayani, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Bahrain; H.E. Mr. Nayef H. Al-Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan; H.E. Mr. Michel Pharaon, Minister of Tourism, Lebanon; Mrs. Nada Roudies, Secretary-General, Ministry of Tourism, Morocco; H.E. Mrs. Maitha Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of Tourism, Oman; H.E. Mr. Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority; Mr. Abdellatif Hmam, Director General, National Tourist Office, Tunisia; H.E. Mr. Mohammed K. Al Muhairi, Director General, National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, UAE; Mr. Helal S. K. Al Marri, Director General, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Government of Dubai, UAE and H.E. Mr. Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, UAE; Mr. Antoine Medawar, Vice-President MENA region, Amadeus; Mr. Amine Moukarzel, President, Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts MENA; Mr. Hussein Dabbas, Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East, International Air Transport Association (IATA); Mr. Gerald Lawless, President and CEO, Jumeirah Group and David Scowsill, President & CEO, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

Useful links:

UNWTO & ATM Ministerial Forum on intra-Arab Tourism: Addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities
UNWTO at ATM 2015
UNWTO Regional Programme for the Middle East


UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme
Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218

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The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 156 countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 400 Affiliate Members. Follow us on facebook twitter vimeo and flickr.

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World Tourism Organization
C/ Capitán Haya 42
Madrid, 28020

Tel: (34) 91 567 81 00 - Fax: (34) 91 571 37 33

UFTAA President addresses TourIzmir Seminar
Written by Administrator

UFTAA President Joe BORG OLIVIER was invited to address the Tourism Summit 'TOURIZMIR' which was held in the city of Izmir between 1st - 3rd October 2015.
The Summit was organized by the Izmir Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Izmir Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Association of Turkish Travel Agents - TURSAB.

                      Joe BORG OLIVIER, President of UFTAA addressing the summit 'Tourizmir'
                                                                     in the city of Izmir, Turkey on 1st October 2015

Mr BORG OLIVIER participated during the panel on 'A view of Izmir's Tourism' which was moderated by Ekrem DEMIRTAS, Izmir Chamber of Commerce, President of the Executive Board. Other members on the panel included Jaan ALBRECHT, CEO SunExpress, Federico BARTOLI, Costa Crociere Route Planning Manager, Moris Kohen KASAR, President World Association of Travel Agencies (WATA) and Dirk INGER, General manager of the German Travel Agencies Association (DRV).

A B2B session followed the Summit. Delegates were taken on an Izmir city tour and Buyers were taken on a full day tour to Ephesus and Pergamon.
The paper presented by Mr BORG OLIVIER is found below.

                                                                                                                                          UFTAA President on the panel during the session - 'A view of Izmir's Tourism'


Tourism is a rapidly evolving industry which is becoming increasingly integrated into people’s way of life.  Originally the realm of the privileged few who travelled infrequently, it has now grown not only to encompass hundreds of millions of people who travel annually but has also expanded in terms of frequency of travel and reasons to travel for the individuals concerned.

The rapid removal or simplification of traditional obstacles to travel including frontier formalities, exchange control, electronic payment and expensive airfares has assisted tourism to change from a luxury to a lifestyle and its repeated resilience in the face of adverse conditions ranging from terrorism to economic crises and global pandemics shows that the phenomenon is not only here to stay but will keep growing as disposable income and freedom to travel extends to increasing numbers of people worldwide.

In an increasingly globalised world, the existence of a worldwide calendar of events means that travellers are increasingly willing to roam around the world to participate in cultural, sports, music, festivals and other events.  Destinations, vying for their fair share of the proverbial cake, need to plug into this area which is forecast to grow rapidly in coming years.

As tourism shifts from detached sightseeing into a hands-on lifestyle and indulgence experience, destinations need to gear themselves up for increased demand for personalised deluxe experiences available to smaller budgets.  This extends also to the concept of experience hotels where accommodation opportunities are also being offered in all sorts of establishments ranging from converted prisons, Istanbul has such hotel accommodation, to disused monasteries - a number of these are found Europe.  Travellers will invariably be seeking more cultural immersion into the destination in the coming years.

The increase in demand for greener travel which goes beyond traditional water and energy saving measures will put destinations and travel companies under increasing scrutiny by travellers who will prefer destinations which integrate sustainability into every step of the visitor experience.  Travellers will expect all types of travel companies such as airlines, tour operators, hotels and restaurants to demonstrate tangible commitment to the natural environment and will base destination and service provider choices on the basis of demonstrable green credentials. This is an undeniable statement of the consciousness of today’s travelling public.

The integration of mobile technology with each and every step of the visitor experience will lead to the concept of augmented reality in every step of the visitor experience including recommendations, navigation, voice command and live geo-tagging of photography.  Destinations need to gear up to these emerging trends as travellers will increasingly distinguish between the leaders - the front runners and the stragglers or slow movers in this area which is particularly relevant in the field of city-break tourism, which normally tends to be a very short visit.

Destinations need to adapt fast to these trends if they are to retain international competitiveness.  Tourism demand is growing but it is being fast outpaced by tourism supply as more and more countries and destinations view tourism as an accelerated path to investment, job creation and SME proliferation. In a number of receiving countries tourism plays a pivotal part and the Gross Domestic Product is very relevant to the countries’ revenues as tourism is seen as a boon to the economy with its multiplier effect.

Where does a city like Izmir fit in all of this?

Izmir is a privileged city.  ‘Privileged’ - because it has the perfect mix of all the attractive ingredients which constitute a modern successful destination.  What do these ingredients consist of?  History, culture, climate, location, neighbourhood, gastronomy and hospitality, suffice it to say that Izmir has the perfect recipe - a bit of this, a lot of that and a handful of the other.

Izmir not only possesses all of these ingredients but it has them in good measure too.  For there are many destinations which boast of a rich history and culture but very few can boast of over 8 millennia of human activity.  Many destinations have impressive monuments but few possess one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and can claim an association with Homer and the legendary and mythical Amazons!

Izmir the historic city is also Izmir the most important settlement on the blue Aegean Sea.  Blessed with blue flag beaches, an impressive port bustling with yachts, passengers’ ships and steamers and spas with healing thermal waters, the city features the perfect mix of history and culture combined with quality leisure, relaxation and modern living.  It also lies in close proximity to a host of other historic locations such as Pergamon, Ephesus and other historical sites.

A truly Mediterranean city with rich local produce - extensive arts and culture calendar, a rich receptive capacity gifted with an enchanting coastline.

It is my belief that Izmir has a winning combination of factors to ensure long term success as a tourism destination.  Taking stock of all its assets and rigidly applying the principles of sustainable tourism development should enable a destination like Izmir to continue to reap huge economic and social benefits from tourism for long years to come.




The Hong Kong Polytechnic University - Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities
Written by Administrator

Madrid, 08 May 2015

Dear Affiliate Member,

Following the request of our Affiliate Member, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, we are pleased to circulate the attached information on their behalf for your consideration.

As one of the objectives of the Affiliate Members Programme is to facilitate networking and information exchange among our members, please contact us at unwtoam@unwto.org if you would like us to distribute relevant information about your organization and its initiatives among the rest of the Affiliate Members.

Warm regards,

The Affiliate Members Team


Querido Miembro Afiliado:

Siguiendo la petición de nuestro Miembro Afiliado The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, nos complace remitirle la información adjunta por si fuera de su interés.

Dado que uno de los objetivos del Programa de Miembros Afiliados es el de facilitar el intercambio de información y la interacción entre nuestros miembros, rogamos se ponga en contacto con nosotros a través del correo unwtoam@unwto.org si desea que distribuyamos información relevante sobre su organización y sus iniciativas entre el resto de los Miembros Afiliados.

Un cordial saludo,

El equipo de Miembros Afiliados

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 156 countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 400 Affiliate Members. Follow us on facebook twitter vimeo and flickr.

FacebookTwitter UNWTO Vimeo UNWTO Flickr

World Tourism Organization
C/ Capitán Haya 42
Madrid, 28020

Tel: (34) 91 567 81 00 - Fax: (34) 91 571 37 33

Written by Administrator

                                                                                                                                                                                      Some of the delegates who attended the 47th UFTAA Congress, Bali 2014

     Speech of President of UFTAA l The Way Ahead                Speech of President of ASTINDO l Welcome Note                Resolution l Freedom of Tourism 

                                                                 Speech of Regional Director of IATA l From Being Hard to Being Strong  

                    Presentation by Ms Bellice Ego-Aguirre Bazán l Revaluation of The Tourism with Sustainable Urban Planning

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This year’s annual Congress, being the 47th one, was held on the beautiful ‘ Island of the Gods ’ - Bali. The Aston Ungasan Hotel & Convention Center was chosen as the venue for all the activities. For the first time UFTAA organized a B2B Travel Mart where delegates had the opportunity of conducting business with suppliers from Bali and the rest of Indonesia.

The events kicked off by a pre-Congress B2B which was Fully Hosted by the authorities of Makassar. Delegates participating at the UFTAA Travel Mart - Bali B2B were given the opportunity to participate at the Makassar B2B and had to arrive in Bali on 13 November and fly to Makassar the following day, for a two-night-stay. All Buyers were hosted in different hotels to sample the type of accommodation Makassar has to offer. A full tour to a nearby island was also included in the programme, this was followed by a dinner at one of the best hotels in Makassar.

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Sunday 16th November

All Buyers returned to Bali. The UFTAA Board met that same afternoon and discussed various items which are reported in the President’s End-of-Year Message ( please visit www.uftaa.org ). In the evening a welcome dinner was organized by The Magani Hotel in Kuta, Bali.

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                       ... please scroll down the page for more photo galleries ...

On Monday, the 17th morning, the Opening Ceremony was held and both the President of UFTAA, Joe BORG OLIVIER and the President of ASTINDO, Elly HUTABARAT welcomed all delegates and wished them a good and successful congress. The President commented on the number of delegates present and he was sorry to report that around fifty delegates from all over the world could not make it to Bali due to Visa problems. He expressed his concern that some of the delegates were even promised their visa to await them at their airport of departure; this did not happen and they had to turn back. He stressed that Governments, if they really wanted tourism, should make it easier on bona fide tourists and congress delegates to be given a hassle-free visa. He urged the general meeting that was to meet the following day, to issue a strong recommendation to all governments for tourists to have Freedom to Travel.

The first speaker, under Business Sessions, was the Duty Free Shops ( DFS ) representatives, Mr. Levie LANTU who gave us a good insight on opportunities and offers available to tourists. He also encouraged agents to promote such business and suggested that an agreement for the UFTAA ID Card could be entered into between UFTAA and DFS. The Master Of ceremonies, Devinder OHRI promised that UFTAA will look into the possibility of doing business for its members, with DFS.

The second speaker to address the delegates was Mr. Russel ANTONIO from AIG ( AIG Asia Pacific Insurance ) who spoke about the importance of Travel Insurance. He explained in detail the risks, about both finance and health, which the traveler encounters.  At the end of both presentations there was a time for a Q & A.

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                       ... please scroll down the page for more photo galleries ...

In the afternoon the UFTAA Travel Mart B2B was held. A number of delegates attended the class room-style set up where suppliers, mainly hoteliers, had the opportunity of meeting Buyers from many parts of the world.  The first UFTAA B2B was considered to be a success as seen from the pictures that are displayed on UFTAA’s website. Hoteliers present spoke highly of the event. UFTAA will be posting all the hotels’ names and contact persons on the website. Both the Makassar and the UFTAA Bali Travel mart were organized in conjunction with RajaMice of Jakarta.

The day was concluded with dinner at the MaxOne Hotel.

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                        ... please scroll down the page for more photo galleries ...   

Tuesday, 18th November was reserved for UFTAA’s Annual General Assembly.

The doors opened at 09:00HRS. The roll call was ready out and once the quorum was established the president declared the meeting open.

All documents relating to the AGA were dispatched before arriving in Bali, however the President gave an over view of the proceedings on the previous Annual General Assembly that took place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  A number of matters arising from the Abidjan minutes were dealt with and finally the minutes were approved.

The new Board structure as approved by the Board in its previous meeting was read to the floor and after some discussions the delegates voted nem con for the restructured Board.

The President gave an overview of the year 2014 and spoke at length about UFTAA‘s recovery. He said that once more IATA has recognized the importance of UFTAA as one of the leading bodies that represent the world travel agents. UFTAA has once more gained its reputation of a professional body with PAPGJC, PAConf and all IATA levels. The President emphasized however, that if UFTAA has to remain on the top that it has regained, it mainly depends on the support of its membership through moral, financial and advisory input.

The subjects of the ID cards, UFTAA-IATA Training, future meetings, forums, participation by members in committees, and other business were brought up and discussed in depth.  Members present also criticized UFTAA and the President welcomed such criticism saying that as long as members criticize constructively and not destructively, then he welcomed all as he said that this shows that UFTAA is alive. He then turned on the Congress Theme – The Way Ahead. He said that many has asked why the way ahead and not the way forward? He explained that as the travel agent stands now, one has to see what lies ahead before continuing on a safe road. It is futile to walk blindly and try one’s luck. He urged those present to help UFTAA look through the telescope and search for what is in store for the agents, then through consultations, studies and decisions will plan The Way Forward!

One of the agenda items was to give awards or to mention members who have helped UFTAA in the Past.  The President said that some members deserve a mention and that these will eventually be given a certificate to thank them for their services. Ahmet NEKATI OZKAN of North Cyprus and Mohammed ABOSALEM of Cairo were two of those mentioned. The President then went on to recommend the award of Honorary Board Member to Mr. Birger BÄCKMAN, who has been on UFTAA’s Board for around five years, has been UFTAA’s CEO for a number of years and to date and time he is the advisor to the President and the Board. A brief curriculum vitae were read to the floor, which after a number of positive observations, Mr. BÄCKMAN was approved nem con.

The AGA was adjourned for 19th November at 09:00 HR

The morning sessions continued after coffee when Mr. Dusan KOSTIC, IATA Regional Director FDS started his presentation which was concluded late afternoon. It was a very interesting presentation and with Mr. KOSTIC’s permission his presentation is being reproduced on UFTAA’s website.

Mr. Kostic’s presentation was followed by a short OPEN FORUM II where general topics were discussed.

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                       ... please scroll down the page for more photo galleries ... 

Farewell dinner was held at a seafront restaurant in Kuta, Bali.

Wednesday 19th started early with the continuation of the AGA where the financial situation of UFTAA was presented by VPF Mr. Richard LOHENTO after lengthy discussions and clarifications the accounts were approved.

Finally the delegates adopted a Resolution titled: Freedom of Tourism. A copy of the resolution is found on UFTAA’s website.

Freedom of Tourism, an excellent presentation was made by the incumbent Acting President of the Indian Association, TAAI, who happens to be one of the newly endorsed Board members of UFTAA. This dealt with the importance of educating our staff. He related to the present agreement that UFTAA has with IATA under the IATA-UFTAA Training programme.

After all presentations and business sessions ended, the President closed the AGA, Congress and all sessions by thanking all those who found the time and effort to join UFTAA’s activities. He sent a message of solidarity to those who could not be present especially those who encountered problems in travelling to Bali. He assured one and all that now that UFTAA has a new strong Board, he was confident that the Board will work in UFTAA’s interests and urged all to contact him or any of the Directors where and when assistance is needed. He finally thanked the members of the UFTAA team who worked hard to make this congress a success. Last but not least he thanked Mr. Devinder OHRI who did a marvelous job as the Master of Ceremonies.

The floor passed a vote of thanks to the President for his tireless work for UFTAA and on the way he conducted the meetings.

The Congress and AGA activities came to an end at noon, when the President declared the meetings closed.

Delegates were then taken to a local venue for lunch which was followed by some cultural visits and shopping.

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                       ... more photo galleries to be uploaded soon ... do stay tuned ...  

Departure of delegates

Thursday 20th November

The UFTAA Board met at 08.30HR for the first meeting, after the AGA, giving start to another year. The dates for the next Board meeting were discussed and the Board approved the invitation by UFTAA’s member from North Cyprus to hold their next Board meeting.

The questions on ID cards, Web hosting, administration were also discussed.

The problem arising in Central and West Africa was brought to the attention of directors and the President promised to write to IATA and object about the illegality for an airline to unilaterally present a motion at PACong for the change in the Local Financial Criteria – for settlement to be changed from once monthly to twice monthly. This has been done without prior agreement at the CWA APJC.  ( More information can be found on the President’s End-of-Year Message to members on UFTAA’s Website. )

The Board was adjourned at 12:00HR for North Cyprus late February 2014.

Departure of Board Members and UFTAA Team.

Report prepared by

                                        The UFTAA Team                                                                                                                               December 2014 ©

UFTAA AGA+FORUM 2015, Brussels
Written by Administrator

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