Tourism Minister Voices Gratitude to The Leadership
On the occasion of the Council of Ministers’ approval of the organization of the Ministry of Tourism, His Excellency Minister of Tourism Mr. Ahmed bin Aqil Al Khateeb conveyed his gratitude and appreciation for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, praising the Cabinet’s generous approval. Al Khateeb also stressed that the tourism sector in the Kingdom is witnessing major leap and receives big support from the wise leadership just as other sectors, out of the leadership’s belief in the tourism sector that enjoys major economic and development impacts that the ministry is working to improve, whether through providing an opportunity for further and diversified investment channels and fields or through increasing the employment opportunities.
The approval of the organization of the Ministry of Tourism is also an addition to several steps that have been implemented in this regard in a bid to support the tourism sector in the Kingdom and developing and diversifying its field so as to provide an attractive investment environment in the sector.
Al Khateeb concluded his statement with referring to the huge potential available in the Kingdom in terms of having the factors necessary to create a comprehensive and diversified tourism industry thanks to the big area of the Kingdom and diversified terrain and multiple geographical environments, which makes Saudi Arabia at the top of international tourist destinations by 2030, which represents one of the strategic goals of the national tourism as part of the Saudi Vision 2030. He also noted that the Kingdom was the first Arab country chosen by the World Tourism Organization to open a regional office, which reflects the status of the Kingdom on the world map of the tourism sector in addition to its being a member in the G20 that is currently chaired by Saudi Arabia, praying to God to protect the leadership and homeland and to bless the efforts exerted to realize all aspirations and ambitions.
Why Do We in the Kingdom Focus on Investment in the Tourism Sector?
Investment in the tourism sector is one of the pillars of the Saudi Vision 2030 and a proof for persistence to move forwards to realise its aspirations and goals:
Investment in the sector contributes to creating investment opportunities that are profitable for local and foreign investors.
We do not consider tourism as only a driver for the economic growth, but also as a bridge for cultural communication with the world, which can enhance the level of understanding and joint respect.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Over the past eight years, the tourism sector expanded in an average that exceeds the global average.
According to statistics by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the sector contributes to some 10 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP).
Last year, the tourist growth rate stood at 3.9 per cent, while the global economy achieved 3.2 per cent.
It is expected for the tourism sector to grow by 3.7 per cent by 2029, which will contribute to more than $13 billion in the global economy that equals 11.5 per cent of the global GDP.
The tourism sector supports 319 million jobs worldwide – which is around one of every 10 jobs around the world – and is responsible for creating one job from each five jobs that were provided over the past five years.
At the international level, the tourism sector is considered the most comprehensive through the participation of the biggest proportion of the youth and women compared to the total workforce.
Developing the Tourism Sector and Providing a Distinguished Tourist Experience for Tourists
- Work is under way to develop the main infrastructure and services in the Kingdom with the aim of meeting the increasing demand in a way that accords with the tourism strategy in the Kingdom:
– A total of 150,000 hotel rooms will be built over the coming three years. 70 per cent of these hotels will be implemented by the private sector.
– The Kingdom, in cooperation with local and foreign investors and local investment funds, including the Tourist Development Fund, seeks to establish 500,000 hotel rooms across the Kingdom by 2030.
– Several memoranda of understanding with a total value exceeding 115 billion Saudi riyals have been signed to improve the infrastructure and increase the number of available hotel rooms.
– We in the Kingdom seek to increase the absorptive capacity of the Kingdom’s airports by more than 100 million passengers annually.
The Tourist Visa
The Kingdom launched the tourist visa in September 2019, where citizens of 49 countries can receive the visa electronically, while holders of US, UK and Schengen visas can receive the visa upon arrival, and subjects of other countries can apply to attain the visa through visiting representatives of the Kingdom in their countries.
The 49 countries amount for some 80 per cent of the tourist expenditure worldwide and host around 75 per cent of seekers of luxurious tourist trips in the world.