Arab News, Thursday, Nov 24, 2022 | Rabi Al Thani 29, 1444
Saudi Tourism Development Fund allocates $266m to back 50 projects, reveals minister
The Saudi Tourism Development Fund has allocated
SR1 billion ($266 million) to back up to 50 medium and small projects the
Kingdom’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khatib has announced.
He revealed this during the ministry's second
virtual monthly meeting held to review the progress made in this key sector, Al
Al-Khatib also discussed the ministry’s efforts to
further elevate the tourism sector's role in the Kingdom.
He revealed that the ministry encourages and
motivates small project owners to submit significant feasibility studies in
order to obtain the necessary support. This will help them provide highly
efficient tourism services.
In an attempt to move towards achieving the
ambitions and aspirations of the national tourism strategy, the ministry is
currently in process of preparing the Umrah strategy, the strategy for
developing the city of Taif, preparing for the winter season, and trying to keep
up with the World Cup, Al-Khatib said.
In addition to this, the ministry has allocated as
much as SR100 million per year to train and help individuals become equipped
to work in the Kingdom’s tourism sector. The ministry has also recommended a
certain number of investors in the sector to further localize jobs and attract
more Saudi talent, he stressed.
Since the establishment of the ministry, the
number of firms operating in the tourism sector has hit 777 companies. Now
it aims to raise the number of firms operating in the sector to 1,000 in the
near future, the minister disclosed.
By offering tourism programs characterized by
diversity and richness, Al-Khatib said they will be able to create more
opportunities for competition and improve services in the Kingdom.
Moreover, under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, Saudi
Arabia has an ambitious target to receive 30 million pilgrims and Umrah
performers per year by 2030. To achieve this, he said positive cooperation from
various government sectors related to organizing trips will be required. The
minister explained that it is also needed to offer an integrated tourism
experience that meets the aspirations of visitors and tourists.
The Kingdom is currently developing a number of
attractive tourism projects across various destinations such as Neom and the Red
Sea coasts, he said.
Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global
tourism industry as the Kingdom steadily diversifies its economy in line with
the goals set out in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy, Al-Khateeb
Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in
Riyadh on Oct. 25, Al-Khateeb said in order to give incoming travelers the best
experience possible, the nation is building spectacular destinations which will
operate in a sustainable manner.
“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put
all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said
Earlier this year, authorities in Saudi Arabia
signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in tourist-transport services within
the Kingdom, support marine tourism, and develop and promote tourism in the
western and eastern regions.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by the
Saudi Railways Co., known as SAR, and Cruise Saudi, which is responsible for
developing the Kingdom’s cruise sector.