Historic visit: Minister of Tourism Haim Katz began his diplomatic visit to Saudi Arabia this morning (Wednesday) when he participated in the United Nations World Tourism Conference held in Riyadh. During the conference, Katz will hold meetings with his counterparts from around the world, with the aim of deepening ties and creating new collaborations in the field of tourism.
The Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed Al Khateeb, commented on Katz's arrival at the beginning of the conference and said that "there are delegations here that have come to our country for the first time, I hope they received you well. Welcome." He also emphasized that "everyone in this room understands that tourism is a bridge between people and between cultures".
As published last night, Katz's visit is the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the Saudi Kingdom, as it comes against the background of rapprochement and normalization talks with Israel. Next week, Minister of Communications Shlomo Karhi and Knesset member David Bitan also left for Saudi Arabia, where they are expected to participate in the World Postal Conference and hold meetings that will deal with "collaborations in the field of communications".
Minister Katz's office said last night that "Tourism is a bridge between nations. Partnership in tourism issues has the potential to bring hearts together and economic prosperity. I will work to create collaborations to promote tourism and Israel's foreign relations." It was also reported that in the past year Israel strengthened its position in the United Nations Tourism Organization and was elected for the first time to an official position in the organization, and leads a task force to shape the organization's global tourism concept, alongside Spain.