Uzbekistan, the chosen host for the 25th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization, has revealed plans to arrange a direct flight from Madrid to Samarkand, the event’s venue.
Over 100 countries, represented by their respective ministers, have confirmed their participation in the assembly scheduled for October 16 – 20.
Aziz Abduhakimov, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage, made this announcement while attending the World Tourism Day 2023 festivities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Abduhakimov emphasized the evolving landscape of the tourism industry and the necessity for new products, skills, approaches, and destinations to ensure its sustainable and prosperous future. He cited praise from Conde Nast Traveler and Lonely Planet, which have recognized Uzbekistan as an undiscovered gem awaiting exploration by global travelers.
The General Assembly will encompass various events, including a Tourism Investment Forum focusing on green tourism investments, an Education Forum gathering leading educational institutions in tourism, the presentation of the Best Tourism Village Award, cultural evenings, and the official launch of the UNWTO Tourism Academy.
Abduhakimov stressed the importance of collective action to transform the tourism sector in the face of challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, moving it toward sustainability, inclusivity, and socioeconomic prosperity.
During his visit to Riyadh, Abduhakimov toured the historic Diriyah, home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Turaif. He explored the area with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. Abduhakimov was impressed by the grand scale and architectural beauty of the project and was delighted to witness the vibrant atmosphere of the area. He also noted similarities in Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan’s approaches to tourism development, reinforcing their common vision for the sector. Some aspects of the area reminded him of the Eternal City project within the New Silk Road tourist center in Samarkand, an ancient city.