DUBAI, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, chaired the first meeting of the Environment Business Council in 2019 at the headquarters of the Ministry in Dubai under the theme 'Ecotourism � Economic Opportunities to Preserve the Environment'.

The meeting drew the participation of government officials as well as several major tourism players in the UAE.

Among the key issues tabled was the national ecotourism project 'The UAE Natural Wonders', launched by the Ministry last year. The meeting highlighted the important role of the project in creating a new revenue stream to contribute to the country's GDP, support environmental protection efforts and ensure the sustainability of the country's natural resources. Attendees also discussed the project's direct effect in promoting the UAE's competitiveness as a leading global ecotourism destination.

In his opening remarks, Dr Al Zeyoudi said, "Since its inception, our country has always made environmental conservation a core priority. 'The UAE Natural Wonders' project is a prime example of an initiative that aims to help achieve our leadership's vision for a sustainable future."

He added, "In addition to providing a significant boost to the tourism sector, the ecotourism project is poised to create new economic opportunities in the local market that will also support other industries. At the same time, the initiative will help protect our environment and preserve the country's biodiversity through developing collective environmental consciousness in our society."

Al Zeyoudi concluded, "Global studies have indicated that one out of every five tourists in the world is an ecotourist. This number is expected to rise in the future, making it imperative for us � the government and the private sector � to work together hand in hand to attract the eco-conscious tourist."

During the meeting, ministry officials delivered a detailed presentation on 'The UAE Natural Wonders'. The presentation offered information on the two phases of the project and an overview of the outcomes as well as the data that was gathered.

Source: Emirates News Agency