May 02 2012
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Saudi Arabia's growing tourism sector creating more jobs: Prince Sultan
"We are working to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia. Growing tourism sector will increase the employment opportunities for nationals in the country," Prince Sultan said.
He noted that Saudi Arabia is the largest tourism market in the region and it is growing fast. "When we started our campaign, there were only 60,000 hotel rooms in the Kingdom and today there are about 200,000 rooms. This shows the strength of Saudi market," he said.
Prince Sultan bin Salman said that tourism sector has become one of the three major sectors that generate immense number of opportunities for Saudi jobseekers. "The recent Cabinet decision with regard to handicrafts does not restrict to giving training to artisans; but its main goal is to establish a fully fledged industry starting from developing and promoting the product. Despite shortcomings in the quality of services and standard of facilities, the Kingdom's tourism sector is witnessing robust growth," he said.
"The Kingdom wants to highlight its importance as a best tourist destination for citizens in the GCC and that's why we participate in this conference, said Abdullah Bin Salman Al-Juhani, vice president the board of the SCTA.
Several senior government officials, leaders of the regional and international travel industry were present at the opening ceremony that was accompanied by traditional music.
Sheikh Mohammed toured the exhibition with other dignitaries including Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline & Group and Akbar Al-Baker, CEO Qatar Airways.
This year, ATM features representatives from 87 countries, with 54 national tourist organizations exhibiting at the International Exhibition Centre floor over the next four-days. Saudi Arabia has got a huge stall and a number of top officials including Egyptian Tourism Minister Mounir Abdel-Nour visited the stall yesterday.
Among international officials participating in the event are Alain Azouaou, ambassador, French Embassy Abu Dhabi and Gonzalo De Benito Secades, ambassador of Spain. Jean-Paul Tarud Kuborn, Chilean ambassador to the UAE, also joined senior figures from tourism ministries in Cyprus, Malaysia and the Philippines.
ATM is a comprehensive four-day travel trade event held from April 30 to May 3, comprising exhibition, conference and seminar programs, along with specialist industry days including travel agents day and careers day.
Topics discussed on day one included bouncing back from the "Arab Spring one-year on" and "luxury hospitality in the modern age of globalization."
Speakers on the first day included some of the region's most influential business leaders, such as Al-Baker and Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Hilton Worldwide.
Highlights of the sessions today will include challenges facing aviation growth in the Middle East, attracting the Chinese travelers to the UAE, the Euromonitor travel industry global overview, along with the impact on tourism of the holy month of Ramadan.
© Arab News 2012
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