Basmah helping open up ME to world

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With almost 19 years experience in the tourism industry, Basmah Al-Mayman is a pioneer in her field. The first Gulf Arab national to represent the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at a regional level looks to the sector’s future in the Middle East with optimism. The UNWTO’s plan to open a regional office in Riyadh — the first outside its global headquarters in Spain — shows there is growing recognition of the MENA region’s potential in this lucrative sector, Al-Mayman told Arab News in an exclusive interview. “Choosing Saudi Arabia for the regional office was a good decision — right beside the largest tourism projects in the world, which are coming up in Saudi Arabia,” she said, referring no doubt to AlUla, Diriyah, Qiddiya, Amaala, the Red Sea Project and NEOM smart city among other developments. “This is definitely an indicator of how high Saudi Arabia’s profile has risen in the UNWTO, besides reflecting the development of tourism as part of the Kingdom’s economic diversification plan.— AN

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