Some 450 young people from the Gulf countries and around the world are taking part in a series of discussions and workshops on sustainable tourism at Reach Out To Asia’s (Rota) 9th annual youth conference, 'Empower 2017,' which opened Thursday.
The three-day event at Hamad bin Khalifa University aims to provide opportunities for the youth to develop their skills and attitudes, and broaden their knowledge on global issues, which are needed to help them assume leadership roles and shape the development of their communities.
In his speech, Rota executive director Essa al-Mannai said the theme of this year’s conference encourages the youth to create thriving communities and drive economic growth through sustainable tourism. “Thanks to the youth organising committee, each year our conference is expanding and we see the creativity and different works made by our youth,” he added.
The conference, a core programme of the Education Above All Foundation, aims to create a platform for a larger number of students to learn and engage in its youth development programmes.
Themed as ‘Sustainable Tourism for Development: A Youth Perspective,’ the event will also see participants (aged 16 to 31) visiting several sites across Doha tomorrow, including Msheireb Museums, Injaz Qatar, Katara – the Cultural Village, Doha Film Institute, and Aspire Zone Foundation.
Rota wants to motivate the youth to utilise their creativity and entrepreneurial skills in establishing business and community service projects that use sustainable tourism as a tool for building bridges among cultures, driving economic growth, fostering development, promoting cultural perspectives, and protecting the planet.
Katara – the Cultural Village general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti commended the efforts of Rota for exerting efforts to empower the youth through its various programmes.
Addressing the gathering, he described the event as one of the most significant youth platforms in the region. "Youth empowerment is a highly important aspect of the society since it enhances young people’s talents and skills, which are needed to assist and promote their countries," he said.
During the discussion moderated by BBC broadcast journalist Fathi Shams Aldeen, panelists explored the link between sustainable tourism and economic growth, cultural preservation, environmental awareness, and sport tourism, and tackled the four areas based on their experiences and views.