DOHA: The Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani yesterday called upon the international community, thinkers, captains of the tourism industry and the media to attach more significance to the travel and tourism sector since it can play a positive role in promoting tolerance, openness, peace and stability throughout the world, in his speech to formally open the 4th Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Doha.
In his address, Sheikh Tamim said: "I seize this opportunity to call upon leaders of the international community, thinkers, tourism officials and representatives of the media to attach more importance to the paramount role which can be played by the travel and tourism sector with all its social, geographic, historical and cultural aspects with a view to reinforcing means of cultural interaction as well as contributing to the provision of favourable circumstances conducive to the promotion of values of tolerance, openness, peace and stability throughout the world. It is my belief that this issue is of vital importance for the future of our world."
The Heir Apparent pointed out that in an international community that is led by technology, knowledge and communication, the travel and tourism sector is open to several opportunities. "Nevertheless, it is also faced with numerous challenges and difficulties. Hence, it should endeavour to make use of all the available opportunities and facilities and should confront all difficulties while seeking to be a pioneer and initiator in its efforts.
"In my opinion, this is the major and most critical challenge that confronts this sector. Moreover, there is another extremely important factor, which the travel and tourism sector and the international community in general should now act to address namely the realisation of security, stability and peace in our world, which is now facing major threats that hinder its advancement, interaction and openness. Such threats adversely affect the possibilities of mutual understanding, tolerance, cooperation and respect among peoples, cultures and civilisations," Sheikh Tamim noted.
The Heir Apparent thanked the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for convening the summit in Doha and national carrier Qatar Airways for hosting it here. "I would like to express our pleasure for convening this conference in Qatar. We are keen to work with the WTTC and to cooperate with it closely to secure the success of this conference and to enable it to reach fruitful and constructive results within a comprehensive international framework that brings together the leaders of the travel and tourism sector from all parts of the world as well as the government officials in charge of this vital sector," Sheikh Tamim said.
The spectacular inaugural ceremony began with the arrival of the Heir Apparent at the Al Majlis Hall of the Sheraton Doha. Jean Claude Baumgarten, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, in his brief statement, said the summit would provide an ideal networking opportunity for the private and public sectors of the various countries to improve their economies. He highlighted the challenges such as instability and lack of freedom that confront the industry and said, these added more significance to the Doha summit.
A large-sized replica of the globe was raised to mark the beginning of the summit.
Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways and Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority, said: "Qatar Airways, as the summit host, is honoured to have made it possible for this important international event to happen in Qatar. As an airline, our main role in the global economy is to bring people from all over the world together and allow them to discover new destinations, markets and most importantly, new people."