RIYADH — Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb said that Saudi Arabia will become one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world in the future. He said that a total of 65 million domestic tourist visits were recorded last year, and that contributed to a record spending of SR80 billion.

The minister said this while addressing a dialogue session titled “The impact of Vision 2030 initiatives on Saudi cities,” here on Sunday. “We are working on tourism products that we will launch soon in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Tourism has drawn up strategic plans for the development of tourism in the Kingdom, as it worked on a comprehensive survey during which it made optimal use of tourist sites, including the Red Sea Project, which extends over an area of 1,700 km,” he said.

The minister revealed that the Kingdom aims to attract 100 million visitors by the year 2030, of whom 50 percent will be hosted by the capital city of Riyadh. “The Tourism Development Fund is ready to finance up to 50 percent of the project value of tourism projects, and the banks will support part of it as well. The ministry focused on developing strategic and governance plans, to raise the percentage of tourism in the Kingdom to 10 percent, which will support the national economy,” he pointed out.

Al-Khateeb stated that the ministry had signed an agreement to build a training headquarters in Riyadh, to rehabilitate the human resources. “The ministry had already trained more than 50,000 male and female citizens in the tourism sector, with the aim of reaching one million jobs in the field of tourism, in order to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia had launched an ambitious and deliberate program to revive the tourism sector and attract larger numbers of foreign tourists to the Kingdom. The minister said that the government is offering incentives as part of the air communication program and is in talks with airlines about the open plan for any carrier to receive support, Bloomberg Agency reported. He also noted that the Kingdom has already signed a deal with Saudi Arabian Airlines to travel to Zurich and Barcelona as part of the program.

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