Arab Aviation Summit puts spotlight on sustainability in tourism

The tenth edition of Arab Aviation Summit got under way in Ras Al Khaimah with leading players in the aviation and tourism sectors focusing on sustainability in aviation and tourism. They highlighted the urgent need for decarbonising aviation and travel.

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.
Insightful panel discussions participated by over 70 renowned industry experts began this morning.
In his opening note at the summit, Adel Al Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia and Chairperson of the summit,
said last three years have been a great learning experience and showed how resilient the industry is.
"2023 looks to be a positive year for the interconnected tourism and aviation sectors," said Al Ali.
"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 stated.
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.
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) said aviation and tourism are both essential parts of life but they can'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