02 May 2016
JEDDAH -- The new tourism projects planned by Saudi Arabia will fuel the Kingdom's economic growth and create more jobs for young Saudis, according to a senior official with the country's tourism authority.

Thirty marvelous islands in addition to 16 awesome seaside fronts on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf offer lucrative investment opportunities for businessmen and businesswomen to develop them into enchanting tourist resorts.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) will start the new tourism investment projects in these islands and seafronts within the next few months with the support of the private sector and financial assistance from the government.

"The 2030 vision announced by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman has covered all the commission's initiatives while unveiling government's readiness to make financial allocations to support tourism projects," said Abdul Aziz Al-Hassan, SCTH's director in Riyadh.

"Previously most of our initiatives were obstructed due to lack of allocations," he pointed out.

"Some government departments were unconvinced by the tourism's huge economic potential. This was another major problem facing the sector," he explained.

Al-Hassan said Saudi Arabia is replete with attractive geographical locations to establish profitable tourism projects. They include Al-Oqair seafront on the Arabian Gulf, which could be developed into a tourist resort like Dubai, Aqaba and Manama.

"The Kingdom also has mountains, valleys and deserts, which could be developed for tourism purposes," Al-Hassan told Makkah Arabic newspaper. "We have also identified more than 30 islands in the Red Sea for tourism development projects," he added.

The SCTH has already prepared six tourism initiatives to woo investors, he said, adding that these initiatives go hand in hand with the Kingdom's economic transformation drive. "Some of these initiatives have cultural and historical dimensions," he said.

Tourism investments are also expected in Daraeyah, Alfao, Wadi Al-Dawasser and Shaqra, Al-Hassan said.

"According to Vision 2030, the government would provide infrastructure facilities at the proposed tourist centers to attract potential investors," he pointed out.

© The Saudi Gazette 2016