In less than 24 hours, the official opening of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2023 Global Summit will kick off in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Delegates from around the world have flocked to the “Land of a Thousand Hills” for what promises to be a historic and memorable gathering of the global travel and tourism industry.
Notably, this marks the first time the WTTC is hosting its largest event on the African continent, with attendees and media representatives hailing from over 45 countries worldwide.
At a press briefing held before the official opening of the Summit, WTTC President and CEO, Julia Simpson, highlighted the remarkable resilience of the global tourism sector in bouncing back from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted, “Every region is rebounding faster than our initial predictions. Once again, our sector has demonstrated its true resilience and determination in the face of the pandemic.”
However, she stressed the importance of prioritizing sustainability. “Sustainability needs to be at the core of our efforts. We have launched our inaugural environmental and social sustainability methodology, covering 185 countries and economies across the supply chain to measure our impact on the environment,” she explained. The research not only evaluates the industry’s social and environmental footprint within countries but also within the various vertical industries associated with travel and tourism.
Arnold, Chairperson of WTTC, commended Rwanda’s commitment to conservation and sustainability. He highlighted the country’s dedication to putting people at the center of its policies and its significant progress in tourism growth and development, which led to the decision to host the Global Summit in Rwanda.
Sustainability will be a prominent topic on the agenda during the three-day event as participants aim to safeguard the future of travel and tourism in a post-COVID-19 world.
Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, emphasized that Rwanda’s selection as the event host reflects the nation’s achievements over the past few decades. He noted, “Rwanda was the first country in the world to open its doors to all citizens, allowing them to travel to Rwanda without prior visa applications and offering visa on arrival. Furthermore, for most African passport holders, entry into Rwanda is visa-free. This signifies Rwanda’s open and welcoming approach to travelers.”
The event will see the participation of over 100 international media representatives and more than 2,000 physical and virtual delegates. It boasts a stellar lineup of highly respected speakers and industry leaders, including former Chelsea FC star Didier Drogba, economist Justin Urquhart-Stewart, and Rwandan climate activist Ineza Umuhoza Grace, among others.
The event will draw attendees from governments, ministries, and private sector tourism organizations, promising valuable discussions and insights into the future of travel and tourism.