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ITB China Announces the Maldives as Official Island Travel Partner

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ITB China Announces the Maldives as Official Island Travel Partner

Shanghai, China, October 20, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Maldives was one of the first countries to open borders for international travellers last year amidst the pandemic. In 2021 they will be the Official Island Travel Partner for the upcoming ITB China, set to take place from 24 – 26 November as a physical event in Shanghai, with a virtual extension from early November until the end of December. The independent island nation in the northern Indian Ocean will participate in China’s B2B travel trade show with its own Maldives pavilion to showcase its tropical islands and discuss business prospects with Chinese buyers to increase bookings and arrivals from China to the Maldives once travel restrictions are lifted.

Discover Island Partner Maldives at, the Sunny Paradise Islands, go to

Recovering well from the negative effects of the pandemic

Following the implementation of strict policies and measures for the safety of visitors, the Maldives opened their borders in mid-July 2020 and since then the arrival figures have been promising. By the end of 2020 they were able to achieve 33% of the total arrivals achieved in 2019. During the first six months of 2021, they have achieved 62% year on year, in comparison to arrivals in the same period of 2019.

China being one of Maldives’ top markets prior to the pandemic

“As China has been one of our biggest source markets in the past, it is a priority to maintain the destination presence in China. We are constantly holding activities and digital marketing campaigns and participate in minor and major events of the travel trade industry,” said Mr Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation. “ITB China is China’s leading travel trade show and we are excited to promote our destination at this prestigious event and work towards regaining the market share we had in China before the pandemic. During ITB China 2021, we hope to assure our travellers that the Maldives is the safest destination to travel post pandemic, after travel restrictions are eased. ITB China provides us with a perfect opportunity to meet travel trade partners from China and beyond, to re-familiarize them with our unique products and experiences. We look forward to an exciting event and towards building lasting relationships and networking with stakeholders from China, to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.”

The Maldives offer a wide array of options for tourists from all segments.

There are customized packages in resorts, hotels, guesthouses and liveaboards for either high end or budget travellers. Since the island nation introduced guesthouse concept in 2010, there is a positive trend in non-luxury travellers visiting Maldives on a budget.

Discover Island Partner Maldives at, the Sunny Paradise Islands, go to

About ITB China and the ITB China Conference
ITB China 2021 will take place from Wednesday to Friday, 24 to 26 Nov, at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre. In addition to the physical event, ITB China 2021 Virtual will be held from 8 November to 31 December 2021. ITB China is a business-to-business travel trade platform that focuses exclusively on the Chinese travel industry. The ITB China Conference will take place parallel with the show and is co-organized by the leading travel conference organizer TravelDaily.

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First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO and Netflix Partner to Rethink Screen Tourism

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UNWTO and Netflix Partner to Rethink Screen Tourism - TRAVELINDEXMadrid, Spain, October 2, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO and Netflix have partnered on the publication of a report which looks at the role of film and series as drivers for tourism and cultural affinity. The Global Report on Cultural Affinity and Screen Tourism explores the growing affection one has towards a particular country or culture displayed on the screen.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The findings of the research were presented in Madrid against the backdrop of the Iberseries Platino Industria the largest international event for professionals linked to the audiovisual industry in Spanish and Portuguese.

The report’s ultimate goal is to support policymakers and key stakeholders within the tourism sector to implement policies that make their destinations attractive for audio-visual producers. At the same time, it aims to help in the building of focused strategies to promote tourism and consumption of local culture, investing in skills and training to develop the local film and creative sectors to ensure a high level of talent, infrastructure and production capacity and integrating tourism and showcasing culture at film festivals to deepen the global audiences’ knowledge.

The joint work of UNWTO and Netflix will help destinations realize the potential benefits of screen tourism

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Both tourism and the audiovisual sectors celebrate and promote culture, support jobs and provide opportunities in diverse locations. The joint work of UNWTO and Netflix will help destinations realize the potential benefits of screen tourism.

Dean Garfield, Vice-President, Public Policy, Netflix: “As highlighted in this research, we have been able to demonstrate conclusively what we instinctively already believed, which is that alongside the desire to travel and visit destinations, exposure to screen content also leads to greater interest in heritage, culture, language, and developing interpersonal relationships. This truly demonstrates that the creative industries, cultural exchange, storytelling, and tourism are all interlinked and can transform the way communities perceive and connect with each other.”

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Following the presentation of the Global Report, experts on tourism and the audio-visual industry shared their knowledge and insights into changing trends in screen tourism, its positive impacts on strengthening cultural affinity and the role of online streaming services in promoting tourism and cultural affinity between people, cultures and countries in line with the 2030 Agenda. The event also served to underline how public-private partnerships can support destinations to promote themselves as attractive locations for audio-visual producers.

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News

International Guests Expected at Innovation Festival in Andermatt

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International Guests Expected at Innovation Festival in Andermatt

Lucerne, Switzerland, October 1, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / For over ten years, World Tourism Forum Lucerne (WTFL) has been bringing together industry experts, CEOs, investors and start-ups, establishing itself as a prestigious global platform for exchange. By fostering cross-generational collaboration, new ideas and solutions emerge to benefit tourism today and in the future. On 15 and 16 November 2021, WTFL is hosting an “Innovation Festival” in Andermatt. Online participation will also be possible.

At the hybrid conference, well-known personalities, such as Klaus Schwab (founder of the World Economic Forum), Laura Meyer (CEO Hotelplan), Peter Fankhauser (CEO PETRAF Ltd and former CEO Thomas Cook Group), Shannon Ghuian (Chief Sustainability Officer at TTC), Marloes Knippenberg (CEO Kersten Hospitality), Koen Deryckere (Global Lead Industry Networks and Programs at Accenture) and Alex Lampert (CEO GuestReady) will discuss the tourism industry’s current challenges and demonstrate how these can be tackled with forward-thinking solutions. Innovation, a driver for development and a central factor in overcoming crises, is the focus of this two-day conference.

Adeeb Ahamed, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi based Twenty14 Holdings will also take the stage at the event. The Indian-origin hotel-owner and serial entrepreneur is the newest appointment to the WTFL Global Advisory Board. He was chosen this month to join the international body of renowned industry stakeholders and decision makers and will collaborate with them on solving the travel and tourism industry’s future challenges. Known for his talents as a visionary leader, an insightful entrepreneur and a socially responsible philanthropist, Ahamed will also be a valued contributor and a key solutions architect at WTFL’s Think Tank.

Innovation knows no bounds 
Society is changing and tourism must adapt to align with these broad and varied developments. Subjects such as diversity and inclusion, biodiversity, entrepreneurship and many others urgently need to become part of the conversation. For this reason, the finalists of this year’s Start-Up Innovation Camp are presenting their pitches live in front of investors and interested industry representatives at the Innovation Festival. In addition to thought-provoking keynotes and panels, various side events, such as the “Think Tank”, the “Next Generation Leaders Day” and the “Young Talent Programme” will be held (see below).

A regular exchange between generations and disciplines is the key to a successful, innovation-driven future for tourism.

Register now and get your ticket at:

About World Tourism Forum Lucerne
World Tourism Forum Lucerne is an exclusive platform where leading global companies from the travel, tourism and hospitality industries meet to shape a more sustainable future for tourism. It gives decision makers in-depth insights into the most important topics faced by the tourism industry and access to a unique global network. World Tourism Forum Lucerne is the only platform to integrate start-ups, next generation leaders and students into one event. Over the past ten years it has developed to become a year-round network of CEOs and thought-leaders who are advocating for positive change in the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.

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First published at – Global Travel News

Leaders Urged to Shape Sustainable and Inclusive Future Together

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Leaders Urged to Shape Sustainable and Inclusive Future Together - TRAVELINDEXGeneva, Switzerland, September 28, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Economic Forum’s fifth Sustainable Development Impact Summit was brought to a close today by Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum. Calling climate change “one of the most urgent challenges of our lifetime” he thanked the more than 2,300 participants for their work to move projects forward across the more than 100 sessions.

“Exiting the pandemic stronger than we entered it can only happen if stakeholders work together,” he said. “Important strides were made these past four days that give me so much hope – it has truly been an impact summit. I am confident that if we continue to raise our ambition and work together, we can shape a more inclusive and sustainable future.”

In his closing remarks, Brende spoke of the need to share know-how, partner on innovation and coordinate on advancing global priorities.

COP26 in Glasgow and the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters will be focal points for leaders to show impact and demonstrate how they are moving towards global goals.

The Sustainable Development Impact Summit was designed around four pillars: Revitalizing Economies; Advancing an Inclusive Recovery; Scaling up Climate Action; and Shaping Future Food Systems. Here are the key outcomes:

– A little over two years ago, the Forum committed to developing a set of universal environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics to help companies practice stakeholder capitalism. Over 50 companies are now using these Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics and over 100 support the initiative worldwide.
– The EDISON Alliance committed to building affordable digital access to healthcare, finance and education for 1 billion people by 2025.
– Airlines, airports, fuel suppliers and other industry stakeholders aim for 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030 to help one of the most carbon-heavy sectors get to net-zero by 2050.
– Some 150 organizations and industry leaders signed a Call to Action urging governments to enable a full decarbonization of shipping by 2050.
– The Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality launched a self-assessment tool to help companies identify actions to meet UN standards of conduct.
– The Forum’s Partnering for Racial Justice in Business Coalition now comprises 60 organizations, representing over 7 million employees.
– Alongside the first ever UN Food Systems Summit, the Forum’s Food Systems team announced the Digital Food Systems Coalition, the 100 Million Farmers platform to help develop a more inclusive and sustainable food system for all and co-hosted the innovation track with Mercy Corps.
– Over 20 companies have pledged to conserve, restore and grow more than 2.5 billion trees in over 40 countries as part of the global pledge process.
– The Forum’s Scale360 project, which creates products with multiple lifecycles instead of single use, expanded from two to 20 countries.
– Cambodia established a Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator, joining a global network of 11 countries addressing skills gaps and the future of work.
– Finland joined the Global Learning Network to contribute its expertise in closing education gaps.
– The Food Action Alliance has expanded to 20 countries and is working on local and national flagships that improve sustainability and inclusivity.
– The Forum’s innovation platform, UpLink, announced that its innovators helped advance projects that captured 39 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, brought safe drinking water to 2.7 million people and created 133,000 jobs. It also announced four new cohorts and two new challenges.
– The Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action launched the Blue Food Partnership and two other initiatives to strengthen ocean resilience.
– The Mangroves Working Group will conserve and restore these forests by building a “blue” carbon market.
– Pakistan became the latest country to step-up in the fight against plastic pollution, joining Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria and Viet Nam in the Global Plastic Action Partnership.
– The New Generation Industry Leaders community will transform perceptions around industrial companies and inspire new generations to seek work in industrial sectors.
– Cities have a new free resource to help them reduce emissions faster and make urban life more climate-friendly, courtesy of the Net-Zero Carbon Cities project.
– The new Global Health Equity Network will work across public and private sectors to boost access to health and well-being initiatives.
– The Forum played a critical role with the Race to Zero Coalition in mobilizing almost 30% of the health sector to commit to net-zero targets by 2050.
– The Lung Ambition Alliance and the Forum launched the Global Lung Cancer Collaboration to eliminate the disease and ensure the future sustainability of health systems.

Sustainable Development Impact Summit
The meeting brought together global leaders from business, government, and civil society under the theme, Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It focused on new technologies, policies and partnerships to advance cooperation, accelerate progress and highlight tangible solutions to our global challenges.

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First published at – Global Travel News

Questex Launches Hotec F&B Virtual Conference

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Questex Launches Hotec F&B Virtual Conference

New York, New York, United States, September 21, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Hotel Management and Bar & Restaurant—two publications under the Questex Hospitality umbrella—are partnering to host the first-ever Hotec F&B virtual conference in early December.

The two companies have a network of senior purchasing professionals and suppliers in both the hotel and the food-and-beverage spaces and will join forces to bring top buyers and designers together with suppliers of food- and beverage-related products and solutions in one-on-one meetings.

For the past 20 years, Hotec Events have connected hotel buyers, designers and suppliers through live individual meetings and networking opportunities. In the fall of 2020, Hotec went virtual and connected attendees through an online platform.

This event will expand Hotec’s virtual meeting experience to the F&B space. Attendees will be able to learn which buyers/suppliers are attending in advance and review company profiles, preselect who they would like to meet using an advanced appointment system, preview a unique meeting schedule and spend 17 minutes of uninterrupted time with each buyer or supplier.

Hotec F&B will run from Dec. 8-9, 2021. Each day’s activities will run from 9 a.m. to noon so that designers, buyers and suppliers can go back to work for the afternoon.

Learn more about Hotec F&B and apply to attend at HotecFNB

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First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO as Co-Organizer of Barcelona Future of Tourism World Summit

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UNWTO as Co-Organizer of Barcelona Future of Tourism World Summit - TRAVELINDEXBarcelona, Catalonia, Spain, September 26, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / UNWTO will be a co-organizer of the Future of Tourism World Summit, presented by the Advanced Leadership Foundation and the INCYDE Foundation of the Spanish Chambers of Commerce with the support of Barcelona City Council, the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Zona Franca Consortium (CZFB). The event will be held in a hybrid format on October 26 and 27 at La Llotja de Mar and will bring together more than 80 speakers from 70 countries.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

After announcing their incorporation as co-organizers of the summit, UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili stressed that it represents “an opportunity to rethink tourism development, ensuring the fairer distribution of its benefits and advancing the transition towards a carbon-neutral and more socially resilient tourism economy.”

An opportunity to rethink tourism development, ensuring the fairer distribution of its benefits and advancing the transition towards a carbon-neutral and more socially resilient tourism economy

For two days, experts will explore creative ways out of the crisis caused by the pandemic. They will also address issues related to sustainability, cultural identities, accessible tourism, wine tourism and personalized travel experiences, among others.

The event will be attended by 20 Ministers of Tourism from around the world, alongside former heads of state and government, as well as representatives of international organizations, business associations and global knowledge networks, including UNWTO, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the International Youth Organization (IYO), the Organization of American States (OAS), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Commission (EC).

The aim of the Future of Tourism World Summit is to find solutions to the challenges facing tourism worldwide in the aftermath of COVID-19, to develop collaborative systems to turn this crisis into an opportunity for shared progress and to contribute to the global economic reactivation of the sector.

The event will culminate in the signing of the Barcelona Declaration, which aims to become an international benchmark, establishing a framework for a new, more ethical and sustainable tourism model.

First forum on the future of post-pandemic tourism

The vice-president of the Advanced Leadership Foundation, Jorge Brown, explained that the summit aims to make tourism visible as “a central driver of the economy in all countries worldwide” and “must take measures to adapt to all contemporary challenges, especially after the pandemic”. “It is the first forum exclusively dedicated to addressing the future of tourism, and we are gathering leading decision-makers from all over the world,” he added. Brown also stressed that they have chosen to host the Summit in Barcelona because it is a “dynamic, diverse and inspiring city that looks to the future as an opportunity, while at the same time embracing its history.”

For the president of the INCYDE Foundation, José Luis Bonet, this Summit is “a sign of our ability to promote a global debate on how tourism can contribute to making the whole planet prosper in a sustainable and inclusive way, and of Spain’s firm commitment to UNWTO, whose headquarters are located in our country”. According to Bonet, “this summit means turning Barcelona, one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, into an area for reflection, debate and the generation of new proposals for the recovery, modernization and reinvention of tourism, a position that will be extraordinarily reinforced with the signing of the Barcelona Declaration.”

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The forum also aims to identify and promote leadership in the tourism sector to contribute to the future of the economy. As part of the summit, there will be an international call for 300 leaders who will be trained during the two days of the congress and then virtually for a further 12 months. The selected participants will work to replicate the knowledge they have learned, as well as to seek new allies for the Barcelona Declaration.

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First published at – Global Travel News

WTTC Announces Net Zero Roadmap for Travel and Tourism

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WTTC Announces Net Zero Roadmap for Travel and Tourism

London, United Kingdom, September 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) announces the launch of a Net Zero Roadmap for the Travel & Tourism sector to support the industry in combatting climate change during its virtual climate week event. Global tourism body also announces new ground-breaking social and environmental indicators for the sector.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

It also announced the launch of ground-breaking social and environmental research data. The first time such data will be produced across the whole sector, building on WTTC’s annual high-anticipated  Economic Impact Report (EIR).

These vital pieces of work represent WTTC’s biggest deliverables in the sector’s drive towards net zero by 2050.

The powerful initiative is being run in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and professional services and consulting experts, Accenture.

WTTC made the announcement at its virtual ‘Net Zero Travel & Tourism – From Ambition to Action’ event today, during annual Climate Week NYC.

Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “The launch of our Net Zero Roadmap for the Travel & Tourism sector and development of sector wide data to measure our success are major steps to show how Travel & Tourism is playing its part in addressing climate change.

“WTTC, alongside our partners and sponsors, looks forward to offering tangible and meaningful solutions to meet the climate change challenge.

“In collaboration with UNEP and Accenture, WTTC will launch the Net Zero Roadmap for the Travel & Tourism sector at COP26 in Glasgow next month. This is a major new initiative that will support our industries on their journeys to become Net Zero.

“As a sector, we are aware that not all industries can achieve such goals at the same time, which is why our Net Zero Roadmap will be so critical.

“As the new President & CEO of WTTC, I am committed to putting climate change front and centre of everything we do.”

The Net Zero Roadmap will include a status quo overview of climate actions in Travel & Tourism, direct lessons learned from the past 18 months, and will include action frameworks for specific industries to help accelerate climate commitments and emissions reduction.

WTTC will regularly monitor and update this climate action inventory research, providing continuous updates until the Travel & Tourism sector’s targets are achieved.

During the virtual event, which was sponsored by IHG, participants discussed the sustainability challenges the Travel & Tourism sector faces, along with the creation of the way forward in the sector’s quest to become net zero.

Read all the latest WTTC News and Updates here.

The interactive session included remarks by Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, representatives for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Arnold Donald, WTTC Chair and President and CEO of Carnival Corporation, Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer Americas, IHG, Alex Zozaya, Chairman of Apple Leisure Group, and Gilda Perez-Alvarado, Global CEO of JLL Hotels and Hospitality among others.

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First published at – Global Travel News

UNWTO and Catalan Tourist Board Launch First World Sports Tourism Congress

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UNWTO and Catalan Tourist Board Launch First World Sports Tourism Congress

Lloret de Mar, Catalonia, Spain, September 24, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Zurab Pololikashvili, and the Minister of Business and Labour of the Government of Catalonia, Roger Torrent, presented the first World Sports Tourism Congress and its programme, within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, at a press conference held in Lloret de Mar and Barcelona.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

The Congress, which previously had to be postponed due to the pandemic, will take place on 25 and 26 November at the Olympic Conference Centre in the Catalan town of Lloret de Mar. The presentation was attended by Marta Domènech, Director-General of Tourism, Ion Vilcu, Director of the Department of Affiliate Members of UNWTO, Narcís Ferrer, Director of the Catalan Tourist Board, and Jaume Dulsat, Mayor of Lloret de Mar.

The Congress will have a total of 62 speakers from different countries such as the United States, Canada, France, Wales, Northern Ireland and Croatia. Leading figures from the world of sport and tourism, representing entities that are also UNWTO Affiliate Members, have already confirmed their attendance as speakers, such as Petra Stusek, President and CEO of European Cities Marketing; Kattia Juarez Dubón of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme; Edwin Moses, Olympic medallist; Marco Mazzi, Vice- President of the International Sports Travel Agencies Association, and Mafalda Magalhaes, Director of FC Porto Museum.

Registration is now open at . The Congress will be a hybrid event, allowing both in-person and virtual participation, and aims to strengthen the relationship between sports tourism and sustainable and inclusive development, diversification, differentiation and de-seasonalization. Also collaborating in the organization of the event are the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board and the City Council of Lloret de Mar through Lloret Turismo.

The Congress, which already had almost 400 pre-registered participants before the official opening of registration, will address topics such as the challenges for the sector posed by COVID-19; trends in sport and physical activity; innovation in the development of sports tourism; mass attendance at sporting events; as well as the environmental framework, diversity and inclusion in the world of sport.

The programme also includes other aspects, such as different public-private governance strategies, the digital transformation of the sector, e-sports, digital marketing, communication and commercialization. Over the two days of the Congress, there will be different sports activities for the participants, academic presentations and technical visits; in addition, spaces will be set up for networking to maximize synergies among the attendees.

Telepresence at the Congress through holograms

Among the innovations that the Congress will bring, as presented at the press conference, are two hologram booths to enable the participation of different speakers who will not be in Lloret de Mar in person. It will be the first event in Catalonia to use this advanced technology, presented at the Mobile World Congress 2021. Fibre-optics and 5G connectivity will make it possible to bring personalities from all over the world closer to the Congress remotely and in real time, through giant screens.

Tourism and Sports, a priority line of action for UNWTO

For the World Tourism Organization, Tourism and Sport represents a priority that it has been actively developing over the past two years. In addition to organizing this World Sports Tourism Congress together with the Catalan Tourist Board, UNWTO has supported other projects focused on this line of action.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

UNWTO recognizes the beneficial bond of mutual reinforcement that unites tourism and sport. Key indicators such as employment linked to sport, the percentage of trips initiated for sports reasons, the total expenditure associated with these trips and public spending linked to sport, have been registering remarkable growth in recent years. Sports tourism also raises the visibility of destinations and encourages investment in infrastructure, with its positive multiplier effects at the economic and social levels.

In the current context of crisis that the tourism sector, in particular, and all other sectors of society and the economy are experiencing, the contribution of each component and subsector will be very important, and the area of tourism and sport will be no exception.

Beyond the economic indicators mentioned above, it is imperative to highlight the values that sport inspires and promotes, and that apply to all aspects of economic and social life, including tourism.

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, Zurab Pololikashvili said: “… the gradual resumption of the calendar of competitions and major sporting events is an important driver of the restart of tourism after the unprecedented shock of the pandemic. Sporting events can play a decisive role in the tourism development in destinations”.

Lloret de Mar – Costa Brava

In recent years, sports tourism has become a strategic sector in Catalonia thanks to its state-of-the-art facilities and the wide range of possibilities it offers for sports-themed stays for individuals and teams alike. In 2003, the Catalan Tourist Board created its Sports Tourism Brand, a distinction that is granted to municipalities, facilities and specialized companies that meet quality standards in the different sports disciplines and recognizes excellence in resources and services to practice sports or enjoy events and championships for elite athletes, professionals and fans of major sporting events.

Read all the latest UNWTO News and Updates here.

Since 2006, Lloret de Mar has been recognized by the Catalan Tourist Board as a certified Sports Tourism Destination in the disciplines of football, athletics, swimming, group sports, triathlon and cycling. The municipality has an extensive hotel infrastructure to accommodate all attendees of the Congress and the different parallel events. Each year it receives more than 60,000 athletes and accompanying persons, and during 2019, it hosted a total of 446 sports events and competitions.

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First published at – Global Travel News

More than 700 Hospitality Investors, Owners and Operators Gather at AHIC 2021

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More than 700 Hospitality Investors, Owners and Operators Gather at AHIC 2021

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 22, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / More than 700 hospitality owners, investors, developers and operators from across the Middle East and Africa gathered today to kick off the 17th edition of AHIC, being held from 20-22 September at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai live in person.

For the first time, AHIC 2021, organised by Bench and MEED, has brought together the four close-knit investment communities of the Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (AHIC), Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) under one roof.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench and founder of AHIC, said: “After months of careful planning, we are thrilled to be here in Dubai today to launch this very special edition of AHIC, just a few days before Expo 2020 Dubai begins. United by the theme Rise Together, more than 700 investors, financiers, franchise owners, innovators, developers, brand leaders and tourism officials are here to network, share insights and do business, with the potential for partnerships greater than ever.

“We are excited to present our delegates with a programme featuring close to 200 speakers, including keynote interviews with hoteliers such as Sébastien Bazin, CEO and chairman, Accor; José Silva, chief executive officer, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts; and Kenneth Macpherson, chief executive officer, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, IHG.

“While conversation on the main stage has centred on how to recover and rise up from the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve also had a roster of workshops, numerous networking opportunities and a host of special features including the Sustainability Hospitality Challenge and the AHIC Innovation Den. This morning, we heard pitches from business start-ups that are transforming the industry, including the exclusive unveiling of an industry-first investment incubator, KUBE Ventures, created by entrepreneurs Michael Levie and David Keen. We’re expecting many more new launches to be announced over the course of the three days of AHIC, so watch this space” said Worsley.

Day one of AHIC 2021 has been underpinned by AHIC Intelligence, with industry data, insights and predictions for the region’s pipeline, performance and profitability setting the tone for the rest of the conversation.

Robin Rossmann, managing director, STR, presented some of the key learnings from the past 18 months.

He revealed that 97% of Middle East hotels have now reopened, with some markets tracking a full occupancy recovery by the end of the year, and highlighted that half of Dubai’s hotels are close to or exceeding 2019 ADRs.

Rossmann said: “Rate has been the big surprise. Typically, we see rates take three to four years to recover after a downturn, but many markets are close to 2019 levels already. We think rates will be back to 2019 levels by the end of the year and continue into next year”.

AHIC day one was also jam-packed with sessions dedicated towards the GRIF community, with focus groups exploring how to expand concepts beyond the GCC, customer trends, the potential of food halls, and flexible destination dining.

In a special presentation from Krush Brands, founder Ian Ohan revealed how the company was partnering with food-preneurs in the UAE to help them grow their businesses using its ecosystem of food technology, operations and delivery capability. Called Locale, the new platform is focused on discovering great food and offering small, local brands an alternative to third party networks. The successful graduates of Krush Brands’ Rise Up competition to seek out talented new players to work with Locale will be announced at AHIC on 22 September.

Also live on stage, The London Project announced global expansion, with outlets confirmed to open in Dubai Marina and London’s Canary Wharf next year, followed by Miami and Barcelona in 2023.

Jennifer Pettinger-Haines, co-founder GRIF and MD Middle East, Bench, said: “GRIF has championed the regional F&B industry throughout the pandemic and it has been brilliant to finally bring the leaders of this hugely resilient sector together. As an investment community, we are looking forward to several more sessions over the coming days that will address the numbers around hotel f&b, current eating trends, and how the Middle East can achieve global recognition of its ever-impressive food scene and the talented individuals driving it”.

About AHIC 2021
AHIC, now in its 17th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench in partnership with Middle East business intelligence brand, MEED. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2021 will be held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from 20 to 22 September under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth.

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First published at – Global Travel News

Innovation and Partnerships Make Wine Tourism Driver Rural Development

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Innovation and Partnerships Make Wine Tourism Driver Rural Development - TOP25VINEYARDS - TOP25WINES - TRAVELINDEXMonsaraz, Alentejo, Portugal, September 11, 2021 / TRAVELINDEX / Innovation, partnerships and enhanced coordination are essential for making wine tourism a driver of rural development. That was the takeaway message from the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, held this week in Alentejo, Portugal, around the theme “Wine Tourism – a driver for rural development.”

Aligning with the central focus of World Tourism Day 2021, due to be celebrated 27 September, the Conference brough public and private sector stakeholders together to identify ways to maximise the sector’s potential contributions to inclusive growth. Also on the agenda was advancing digital transformation, marketing and promotion and the conservation of nature through a thriving wine tourism sector. Around 150 people attended the conference in person, with many more joining virtually to hear from a wide range of experts, from wine producers and distributors to tour operators, destinations and media.

Connecting tourists to territories

Wine tourism and its connection with the territory, local products and traditions opens new opportunities to advance jobs and inclusiveness in rural areas

Opening the event, UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili: “The pandemic has strengthened the role of tourism in advancing rural development. Wine tourism and its connection with the territory, local products and traditions opens new opportunities to advance jobs and inclusiveness in rural areas”.

Joining Secretary-General Pololikashvili for high-level panel discussions were Rita Marques, Secretary of State of Tourism of Portugal, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, State Secretary to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Sofia Zaharaki, Deputy Minister of Tourism of Greece and Mariam Kvrivishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.

The Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition for Portugal, Pedro Siza Vieira, affirmed: “Wine tourism is at the forefront of our National Plan for Tourism. Its mission is to reach more visitors, from more countries, around the year, all over Portugal.” He also announced the launch of the Portuguese Wine Tourism website and a first Wine & Travel Week to be held in Porto, in February 2022.

Growing demand for authentic experiences

Wine tourism is in increasing demand as consumers look for more open-air experiences in rural areas in the post-pandemic era. The conference stressed the importance of developing the whole tourism value chain to complement the activities at the wineries as a means to create more jobs and businesses, promote local products and improve the visitor experience.

Mayor of Reguengos de Monsaraz, José Calixto added: “Local Authorities play a decisive role in enhancing the built and intangible heritage of winegrowing territories. For Reguengos de Monsaraz, this conference was the most important moment of the Vine and Wine history in the largest wine-producing regions in Portugal and will provide a further boost to rural development.”

The Conference was held on 8-10 September 2021, in the village of Monsaraz in the Alentejo region, in collaboration with the Government of Portugal, Turismo de Portugal and the Municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz. The Italian village of Alba in Region Piemonte will host the 2022 edition of the UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism.

The Minister of Tourism of Italy, Massimo Garavaglia, said “The wine and food sector is increasingly proving to be a fundamental lever for Italian tourism. And it will be even more so in the future. For these reasons, the appointment next year in Italy of the sixth edition of the World Conference of Wine Tourism is doubly important.”

First published at

First published at – Global Travel News