Tourism to be Discussed at World Economic Forum's Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable 2007

Travel News Asia Monday, 9 April 2007

More than 200 influential business leaders, academics, government officials and policymakers have arrived in Doha for the Arab World Competitiveness Roundtable 2007.

The prestigious event of the World Economic Forum is hosted by Qatar Airways, a Strategic Partner of WEF, the Roundtable discussions will coincide with the publication of the third Arab World Competitiveness Report in the Qatari capital.

The keynote address will be delivered by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar.

The opening session will begin with the results of the Arab World Competitiveness Report 2007 being unveiled by its Editor, Margareta Drzeneik Hanouz and Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government.

One of the key sessions will focus on Iran and the countrys political and economic relations with the GCC countries. Iran and the GCC questions the business environment between the Gulf countries and the large Islamic state. Leading this session will be His Excellency Sheikh Hamad, and leading experts from Iran Mohammed J.A. Larijani, Director, Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics, and Hassan Rowhani, Head of the Centre for Strategic Research.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the Arab World. The session on Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Tourism Sector will be co-led by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who is also Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, and Zoheir Garranah, Egypts Tourism Minister. The session, which will also include remarks by Geoffrey Lipman, Assistant Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation, will address challenges faced in developing tourism infrastructure in the region and identify the untapped potential of the tourist market as a whole.

Sustaining Growth Momentum in the Arab World will be another leading topic of debate, led by the four co-chairs of the roundtable, including Yousef Hussain Kamal, Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of the Economy and Commerce of Qatar, and Zoheir Garranah, Minister of Tourism in Egypt. Tarek Sultan Al-Essa, Chairman and Managing Director of Agililty, Kuwait, and Mazen S. Darwazeh, Chairman of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Jordan are the other co-chairs.

The movement towards privatisation of the insurance industry across the Arab World will also feature at the roundtable with a session on Insurance: Realising the Untapped Potential. This session will focus on insurance as one of the cornerstones of the growing financial services sector in the Middle East. Similarly, in a state of change, the deregulation of the health sector presents many business opportunities in the region and will be central to a debate on Health: Change and Opportunities.

Delegates will work through lunch where a session on GCC Scenarios: A Glimpse of the Future will inspire attendees with variations on the future economic development in the region. A question and answer session will accompany the presentation.

The talks will feed into the World Economic Forum on the Middle East to be held in Jordan next month.

See other recent news regarding: Doha, Qatar, Tourism

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