RIYADH — The Kingdom is working on opening 38 tourist sites in seven tourist destinations by 2022, compared to 15 sites available in four tourist destinations ready to receive tourists today.

The ministry also seeks to provide 260,000 jobs during the next three years, the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Bin Aqeel Al Khateeb, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Tourism Authority, disclosed recently.

The disclosure was made during a remote meeting held with Saudi media leaders on the "Zoom" platform, which witnessed the launch of the "Saudi Summer" season.

Among the most important points that Al Khateeb mentioned in his speech is the existence of a number of major projects, on which the Kingdom is banking on a lot to achieve its tourism goals and aspirations, and raise the level of quality of infrastructure and services, such as "NEOM, the Red Sea, Qiddiya, and Al-Diriyah Gate", which were inaugurated recently by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, according to Al-Riyadh newspaper.

Al Khateeb was explicitly referring to the influential role that the Saudi Tourism Authority will play in reshaping the Saudi tourism industry, by developing tourism packages and products, enabling and activating the role of the private sector in tourism, participating in local and international tourism exhibitions, marketing tourist destinations and sites internally and externally, and establishing the Tourist Experience Center.

The Authority will work in coordination with the relevant authorities, to measure, develop and improve the tourist experience, in addition to preparing studies, research and reports to develop the tourist experience.

He said: "Tourism constitutes 10% of the average total income of the world's economies. This sector constitutes 18 percent of Spain’s income, for example, 16 percent of France’s income, while it contributes 3.5 percent of the income in the Kingdom’s economy. We look forward to raising the sector's contribution to 10% by 2030."

The minister reviewed, in the virtual meeting, the number of employees currently working in jobs related to tourism, who number approximately 600,000, noting that "the ministry seeks to provide 260,000 job opportunities during the next three years. It also aims to provide one million job opportunities by 2030, to bring the total by then to about 1.6 million job opportunities."

"The successful tourism sector will only be built by the private sector, which adopts the concepts of supply, demand and competitiveness, as we are working on two tracks to increase the supply, by enabling shared and temporary housing and short-term housing, by encouraging the people of the regions to let their additional housing units during the seasons, hence making an extra income."

Al Khateeb praised the recent legislations for developing the Saudi tourism sector, including, but not limited to, initiating the issuance of the tourist visa, which achieved remarkable and encouraging results by issuing more than 500,000 visas until the end of last February.

The Kingdom aims through the tourism sector strategy to reach 100 million annual visits, from within the Kingdom and abroad, by 2030 compared to 41 million visits at present.


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