Apr 07 2012
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26 percent Saudization rate in tourism sector
RIYADH -- The fast-growing tourism sector has 26 percent Saudization and employs seven percent of all Saudi jobseekers, according to experts at the final session of the Saudi Forum on Travel and Tourism 2012 in Riyadh.
At the event, entitled "Competitiveness of Travel and Tourism", experts said there should be a greater focus on exhibitions and conferences, medical tourism and basic infrastructure to ensure sustainable development.
The main speaker from Booz & Company said: "The Kingdom is considered one of the key tourist attractions in the Middle East and is expected to be one of the fastest growing destinations in the next five years."
He said the tourism sector employs seven percent of all Saudi jobseekers and tops all other sectors in terms of Saudization, at 26 percent in 2010. Its contribution is seven percent of general revenues.
He said that there is a great deal of spending taking place in the sector. Domestic tourism figures are likely to consist of 84 percent locals and four percent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens.
Tourists are attracted by several activities in the Kingdom including the boat show in Jeddah and the travel forum. Experts also praised the efforts of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) to improve tourism in the Kingdom.
Dr. Fahd Bin Ibrahim Al-Jrabuae, Executive Director of Al-Tayyar, said there were 12.7 million tourists last year, with 1.9 million from the United Arab Emirates.
He said a study recently showed that Saudi tourists want more choices and privacy at their destinations. He said the youth constitute 60 percent of the population and should not be ignored.
Dr. Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ahmad, Director of the Tourism Research and Studies Center at the SCTA, said the Kingdom is in position 62 internationally and sixth in the Middle East in terms of competitiveness.
He said the commission has drawn up a short, medium and long term plan for the sector, that has been submitted to the Ministry of Economy and Planning.
The Kingdom is ranked number one out of 198 countries in terms of the statistics it gathers on the sector.
Muhammad Bin Ibrahim Al-Mogil, Chairman of the National Tourism Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry, urged the private sector to support the industry.
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