MUSCAT — Saudi Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Executive Council of the UN Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia is investing $800 billion to establish tourism projects and destinations.

“This will be the highest number of tourism investments in the world,” he said while emphasizing that Saudi Arabia will change the global tourism map. “The opportunities and facilities that we provide to investors will make the tourism sector more attractive, and we are proceeding in a distinctive way in building the sector,” he said.

The minister made the remarks while addressing the conference under the theme “Investing in tourism: opportunities and challenges in sustainable financing,” which is being held on the sidelines of the 50th UN Tourism Regional Commission for the Middle East in the Oman capital Muscat.

He said that Saudi Arabia aims to add more than 250,000 rooms in the tourism hospitality sector over the coming years, and this represents an addition to tourism in the region. He stressed that Saudi Arabia has begun to develop the tourism sector as part of the Saudi Vision 2030. “The development efforts have succeeded in raising the sector’s contribution from three percent of the Saudi economy to 4.5 percent by the end of last year, and this aims to reach the sector’s contribution to 10 percent by the year 2030.”

Attracting and qualifying the national human resources are two important factors for developing the tourism sector in the region, Al-Khateeb said while stressing that the Saudi Ministry of Tourism pays great attention to the issue of qualifying national cadres working in the sector, and is working to attract young Saudi men and women to this vital sector.

Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia is working, in cooperation with the member states of the UN Tourism in the Middle East region, to develop the tourism sector in the region because of its global importance. “The countries of the region have all the requirements for successful investment in the tourism sector,” he drew attention to the fact that the Middle East region has great potential and natural resources that enable it to be one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, and it provides everything that the global tourist is looking for.

The minister said that the countries of the region are moving as a single bloc in the right direction with regard to developing the tourism sector, as they have begun developing plans and strategies to benefit from the promising sector

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