The ministerial meeting of the 11th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers (ICTM) was inaugurated in Baku, Azerbaijan today 28th June, 2022.
The Opening Session was attended by their Excellencies Ministers of tourism, heads of delegations of Member States and the OIC Secretary-General, Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha.
Mr. Fuad Naghiyev, Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan, delivered an opening statement on behalf of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
In his speech during the Opening Session, the OIC Secretary-General Taha stressed that the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which eroded confidence in international travel, and the strict containment measures put in place resulted in significant losses in terms of both tourist arrivals and tourism receipts.
“The Worldwide tourist arrivals declined by 72.8% in 2020 compared to 2019, which resulted in an estimated loss of US$ 1.3 trillion in tourism revenues,” said the OIC Secretary-General.
He emphasized that the emerging market of Halal Tourism has the potential to give OIC Member States a competitive edge in this sub-sector and called on both public and private players is the tourism industry to invest more in Halal Tourism.
Taha underlined that tourism has continued to hold greater potentials for promoting Small and Medium Enterprises and for generating employment for a significant number of OIC populations, including the vulnerable segments and the youth.
In this context, he called for developing efficient public mechanisms, financial resources, and crisis-response preparedness mechanisms aimed at helping OIC Member Countries to successfully respond and recover from the unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic crisis that has hit the tourism stakeholders since 2020.
Taha also called on the Member States and relevant OIC institutions to create new programs in the OIC Cities of Tourism in order to attract tourists and, at the same time, promote new OIC tourism destinations.