Saudi Arabia to use tourism to lead post-COVID economic recovery

- A Monitor Desk Report 23 Jun, 2020 | 743 Views|-+
Dhaka: While Saudi Arabia has strengthened its serious endeavor towards tourism transformation, and the formation of an integrated tourism destination, a tourism fund is expected to contribute to providing government financing to investors, and help complete development projects in this sector, according to the country's media reports.

Experts in the tourism sector expect that the acceleration of development in the tourism sector would increase the kingdom’s opportunities in the Post-COVID-19 global tourism map, the reports further added.

Saudi Arabia is moving towards the advancement of new tourist areas to enhance tourism as a vital sector and one of the channels for diversification of the national economy.

The project of the tourism development fund in Saudi Arabia will contribute to providing government funding to investors, and it will also help in completing the important tourism sectors that will have rewarding returns, in addition to achieving the goals of tourism, economic and service development, experts said.

Majid Al Hokair, Chief Executive Officer of Al Hokair Group, a major Saudi entertainment and hospitality group with 79 entertainment centers and 34 hotels spread across Saudi Arabia and UAE, said acceleration of development in the tourism sector would increase the Kingdom’s opportunities in the new tourism map, especially after the start of mega projects that will have a significant impact on the world stage and the development of natural sites in cooperation with the largest international companies in the hospitality and hotel sector, to develop the tourism sector, explore the nature of the Kingdom in all aspects and create new jobs for the people of the Kingdom.

Tourism, including travel, accommodation, food and culture, contributes almost 10 per cent of EU GDP, while between June and August, EU residents typically make 385 million tourism trips and spend USD 205 billion.

“Continuous warnings of precautionary protocols and bans will also affect tourism on the short and long run,” Al Hokair said, indicating that the Saudi Tourism Authority focused on the marketing side and has been working on many initiatives for domestic tourism destinations, and announced an ambitious programme for this purpose, as there will be tourist destinations to Yanbu, Umluj and Jeddah, and after that Mecca will be available for the performance of Umrah, Taif, and the southern Suda and its environs.

Khaled Al Rasheed, CEO of the Arab Tourist Experts Association, said that the kingdom is an important tourist destination, featuring many different tourist attractions, the Two Holy Mosques, developed tourist infrastructure, and high spending from the state through giant projects in the tourism sector to build a global competitive tourist destination and promote it through marketing campaigns and through global events embraced by the Kingdom, such as international festivals and exhibitions, and the great tourist movement.

Al Rasheed added tourism – which employs one in 10 workers worldwide, and with a proven track record for resilience during the 2008-2009 financial crisis - is also well-placed to lead future recovery, but this will take until 2023 and may reach 2025.

Projects that support the kingdom’s tourism opportunities include the futuristic mega city of Neom; Qiddiya project, which will be the capital of Entertainment, Sports and the Arts in Saudi Arabia; Global Red Sea projects; AMAALA project that will curate transformative, personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness and the purity of the Red Sea; Development of natural preserves; Protect the ancient monuments and open them to visitors; and Exploitation of Saudi islands.

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