EU Divided, the World United: Saudi Arabia won both! Peace next?

World Expo 2030 firework

The European Union promised a United vote for Italy, when in fact this unity shifted to an almost united vote for Saudi Arabia. What happened?

Saudi Arabia was in celebration mode last night with fireworks that could rival New Year’s in New York. Indeed, a new era started for the Kingdom, and all indications confirm an inspired rest of the world.

17 countries voted for Italy, 29 for South Korea, and 119 for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last night in Paris to host EXPO 2030. according to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organization in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos.

Busan, Rome, and Riyadh were competing to host World EXPO 2030, and Saudi Arabia gave it all to become the host- and Riyadh won in a landslide.

Tourism Diplomacy and the Diplomatic Coup

TOurism Ministers
UNWTO Sec General HE Zurab Pololikashvili, Jamaica Min Tourism Hon Edmund Bartlett, Saudi Minister Tourism HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb

Hon. Edmund Bartlett was in Paris yesterday so he could vote for Saudi Arabia on behalf of Jamaica. He knew, or at least he thought every vote counts.

He and the minister of tourism for Saudi Arabia HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb became good friends over the last 3 years.

After the results came in last night at around 5 pm, Bartlett said:

Congratulations to HE Ahmed Al-Khateeb and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their historic victory!

Hon, Edmund Bartlett, Tourism Minister of Jamaica

He sees this global development as empowering tourism to become the global force for good and diplomacy in a troublesome world as the new way to do it, tourism diplomacy.

A Diplomatic Coup for Tourism in Saudi Arabia indeed“, he added.

The European Union Learned a Positive Lesson – and it’s all good.

The European Union had all its 27 members plus the anticipated support from San Marino, Andorra, Montenegro, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

Out of these 32 members, only a handful of votes went to support EU member Italy in the bid for Rome. Rome only received 17 supporting votes out of all 165 member countries.

This may be an embarrassment for the EU as a combined force of solidarity.
One European member delegate was very worried and asked a source if Italy could see that they voted against them.

When the EU was united in 2017 and 2021 for all the wrong tourism-related reasons…

An NGO Perspective on the UNWTO Election for Secretary-General
Taleb Rifai, former UNWTO Sec Gen & Louis D’Amore former President and Founder IIPT

Looking at the World Expo from the travel and tourism industry angle, in both 2017 and 2021 Europe the EU was united against all odds when voting for a UNWTO Secretary-General when even two former Secretary Generals warned to do so. At that time the United European vote was based on a European solidarity pact.

Yesterday the expected united European vote was divided – for all the right reasons…

Did Europe learn to see the world a little more independently?

If true, was this related to the latest national movements in a growing number of EU countries?

Expo roma

Certainly, Rome would have been a good choice as the eternal city of the world to be awarded to host EXPO 2030.

There was something magic about Saudi Arabia, and what the Kingdom was able to do in uniting the world yesterday, specifically in the field of people-to-people, sustainability, global development, and tourism

All of this was a step in the process of ensuring enough votes for EXPO 2030 Riyadh – and Saudi Arabia did well, very well.

Certainly, leadership in Saudi Arabia heard the critical voices in Europe about human rights concerns. Perhaps Saudi’s willingness to respond to this criticism as a country of fast changes ensured it the European votes and so many more yesterday.

HH Prince Faisal Bin Farhan
Foreign Minister KSA: HH Prince Faisal Bin Farhan

Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud the attending foreign minster explained it well:

He saw the vote as an expression of the trust that the international community has in what we have to offer aligned with our own vision (for) 2030 and everything that we advocate for, which is a shared pathway to prosperity for all of the countries of the world.”

A country with one of the youngest populations in the world, with a Crown Prince only 38 years old and a vision defined as Vision 2030 that inspires an entire nation, Saudi Arabia is going through the fastest changes in the world.

2030 is a magical target for this nation, and Expo 2030 completed this dream.

Peace Through Tourism

Ajay Prakash
Ajay Prakash, President Institute for Peace Through Tourism

Ajay Prakash, head of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism sees what happened as a sign of the shift in global geopolitics.

“119 nations voting to hold the 2030 Expo in Riyadh is a very clear indication that the world welcomes Saudi Arabia’s initiative for a more open and inclusive society, one that moves from an oil-dependent economy to one based on attracting cooperation and investment in newer sectors, including tourism.”

“The role of tourism in promoting understanding, acceptance, and peace is indisputable. We hope that Expo 2030 will lead to greater awareness of this higher paradigm of tourism.”

The conclusion: Did Saudi Arabia split the EU?

Saudi Arabia did not divide Europe but united Europe instead with tourism playing a giant role in bringing the world together through tourism and more.

KSA Directory copy | eTurboNews | eTN
EU Divided, the World United: Saudi Arabia won both! Peace next?

“The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow.”

.. is the Theme for EXPO 2030 in Riyadh.

WTNJOIN | eTurboNews | eTN

(eTN): EU Divided, the World United: Saudi Arabia won both! Peace next? | re-post license post content


About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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