Tuesday 6 June 2023

HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi at the summit opening.

Arab Aviation Summit puts spotlight on sustainability in tourism

RAS AL KHAIMAH, March 15, 2023

By Sree Bhat in Ras Al Khaimah
The tenth edition for the Arab Aviation Summit got under way in Ras Al Khaimah today (March 15) with a clear focus on sustainability in aviation and tourism.
The event was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, in the presence of several industry leaders at the Al Hamra International Exhibition & Conference Center.
The two-day event, being held under the theme ‘Impactful sustainability in modern-day travel and tourism,’ highlighted the urgent need for decarbonising aviation and travel. More than 800 aviation and tourism sector attendees across multiple sectors are taking part.
Prominent speakers at the launch event included Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum, first lieutenant pilot of the Dubai Police Airwing; Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA); Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Sharjah lowcost carrier Air Arabia and Irena Georgieva, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Republic of Bulgaria.
Insightful panel discussions participated by over 70 renowned industry experts began this morning.
In his opening note, Al Ali, also the Chairperson of the AAS 2023, said the last three years had been a great learning experience and showed how resilient the industry was.
"2023 looks to be a positive year for the interconnected tourism and aviation sectors," he stated.
"There are huge challenges but people are eager to travel and enjoy their lives and that's our
opportunity. However, we must act sustainably, that’s our responsibility for the future generations," he added.
Al Ali, welcoming the fact that sustainability was a key talking point at the summit, said: "Safety had been a major issue for a long time and now safety is taken for granted, almost. How did this happen? A lot of work was done in the background and air transport is the safest mode of transportation now."
"It is now the turn of sustainability and we are happy that as UAE hosts COPS28 this year, the summit
and the aviation sectors are focusing on this issue," he added.
Phillips said aviation and tourism were both essential parts of life but they couldn't be taken for granted as the pandemic has proven. 
"Preserving the environment and sustainability are key to Ras Al Khaimah’s growth strategy, he stated. 
"It’s important to be impactful and Ras Al Khaimah is committed to be a sustainable destination by 2025 and is on track with this programme," he stated, adding the northern emirate was in a position to be the destination of the future. 
Panelists also touched on aviation sector’s ability to reach sustainability goals as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is in short supply and a major increase in production is needed to meet the ambitious net zero goal of 2050.
In his address, Abdul Wahab Teffaha, the Secretary General of Arab Air Carriers Organisations, pointed out that the region was close to the 2019 levels of travel and airline traffic.
To achieve sustainability in aviation, panelists sought commitment is from all stakeholders. 
Aradhana Khowala, the Chair of the Global Advisory Board, Red Sea Global, said the governments of G7 and G20 should step up and mandate production of SAF.
She also went on to suggest that fossil fuel producers who benefited from the recent geopolitical crisis
should support the aviation sector in its drive towards sustainability.-TradeArabia News Service


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