Dubai: Mena governments looking to offer tax cuts, provide incentives to promote sustainability

In the last 20 years, economies have lost almost $2.97 trillion because of climate

by

Waheed Abbas

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Photo by Rahul Gajjar
Photo by Rahul Gajjar

Published: Mon 1 May 2023, 8:31 PM

Last updated: Mon 1 May 2023, 9:25 PM

Governments in the Mena region are looking to offer tax incentives to travel, tourism and hospitality firms and promote those businesses that comply with the sustainability and climate change goals and help reduce CO2 emissions.

The regional ministers and UN officials said at the Arabian Travel Market on Monday that it is not just the responsibility of the governments but also the private sector to contribute financially to deal with climate change challenges faced by the world.


Dr Abel Al Razzaq, managing director, Jordan Tourism Board, said firms that comply with climate-change regulations are given more preferential treatment in the supply chain.

“For example, hotels adhering to green tourism will get discounts on participation in exhibitions. But those hotels that are not sustainable will not be promoted. There is also talk to give more tax incentives to the hospitality sector that comply with climate-related regulations,” he said, adding that hotels are also taking initiatives and increasingly deploying solar energy while rent-a-car companies are shifting to electric cars to reduce emissions.


“We need to educate businesses and travellers on how they can contribute, calculate and reduce CO2 emissions,” he said.

‘Protecting your own business'

Sujit Mohanty, chief of Arab States for the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), said the private sector insists that they will pay for climate-change projects only if they get returns on their investments.

“You’re investing to protect your own industry. If you don’t invest now, you risk your businesses and may lose in upcoming disasters. It is proven that the frequency and intensity of climate-related hazards are going to increase and it is really scary. This should be a top priority for us,” said Mohanty.

“It is not the government’s problem. It is your business that is getting affected by the climate business. Unless we take a share of responsibility, it doesn’t work. Everybody has a responsibility when it comes to climate change and managing its impact.”

In the last 20 years, economies have lost almost $2.97 trillion because of climate.

Lebanon bucks the trend

Walid Nassar, minister of tourism in Lebanon, said his country, on the contrary, has seen a significant number of tourists in the last two years, as the tourist-friendly season has been extended due to the weather change.

The Arab country expects 2.2 million tourists by September this year as compared to 1.7 million by September last year.

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