WTTC Global Summit comes home to the Land of Hospitality
Abu Dhabi, UAE. 9th April 2013: The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Global Summit – the most influential event on the annual travel and tourism industry’s international calendar – which began its 13th edition in the UAE capital today, has returned to the home of hospitality, according to His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
Welcoming the gathering of almost 1,000 industry leaders, including keynote speaker, President Bill Clinton, to Abu Dhabi, Al Muhairi said the staging of the summit in the UAE capital represented a key milestone in the emirate’s tourism evolution.
“Since Abu Dhabi began its tourism journey almost nine years ago, we have achieved a number of milestones. This summit ranks among them,” said Al Muhairi.
“When we began our journey we received a polite, yet if we’re honest, a rather skeptical welcome onto the tourism scene. Some saw us as dreamers, others as overly ambitious and under-developed. They seemed to forget that this is where the concept of travellers hospitality began.”
Al Muhairi cited the Arabian Gulf’s reputation for taking hospitality to legendary proportions.
“It is here that hospitality was required by sheer way of life and tradition. A traveller, no matter who, or where from, was obliged to be given food and shelter for a minimum of three days before he continued his journey,” he explained.
“The adventurer Wilfred Thesiger, who we recall with fondness as Mubarak Bin London, recorded how, in his crossings of our Liwa desert, his unsuspecting hosts would often go without sustenance to ensure he slept, and ate, well and gathered his strength for trials ahead.
“This region is rich with hospitality heritage. It is part of a past we are proud of and, we believe, integral to the future ahead.”
Al Muhairi said in jointly hosting the summit with Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi was looking to the international industry to look beyond its differences and work together to improve the quality of life for destinations and their people.
“What you will experience over the two days is not simply a product of financial resources. It is also a product of vision, hard work and determination on the part of many who have worked to make sure you leave this summit, and this emirate, with greater understanding, knowledge and a positive cultural experience. That’s something money just can’t buy,” said the Director General.
The 13th Global Summit’s theme of ‘A Time For Leadership’ also resonated well with Abu Dhabi, and the UAE, which is blessed with visionary leaders, said Al Muhairi.
“In our tourism journey we have received the unstinting support of Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and of His Excellency Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, who chairs Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. They have been pillars in success,” he said.
Al Muhairi urged summit attendees to experience the UAE capital’s essence and cultural activities while in Abu Dhabi.
“I hope that those who believed we were dreamers back in 2004 get the chance to see some our achievements – the developments on Saadiyat and Yas islands, the iconic architecture and to discover the cultural assets and the modern-day experiences,” he said.
The Director General told the summit that TCA Abu Dhabi’s efforts to promote the destination’s traditions would continue.
“In doing so, we will give substance to the words of our late UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who reminded us that our ancestors left us a legacy of traditions to be proud of, and that our mission is to maintain and develop them as assets of the nation for the benefit of future generations.”
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority