Source: News Bharati English17 Jul 2017 16:01:06

Riyadh, July 17: Saudi Arabia with an aim to meet all the agendas under Vision 2030, launched six major initiatives to stimulate the travel and tourism industry. Notably, tourism is a major driver of the Saudi economy with its huge employment-generating potential.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) on Sunday launched six initiatives to develop tourism and heritage. On this occasion, Mohammed Al-Nashmi, a spokesman of the SCTH said, “The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) is reviewing its strategies to be in conformity with Vision 2030 and contribute in achieving the goals of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020.”

Al-Nashmi further pointed out that SR9.93 billion ($2.64 billion) has been allocated for these projects in the 2017 budget. According to a statement released by the SCTNH, “the six initiatives are aimed at streamlining the travel and tourism sector.”

The six initiatives are:

  • The ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program for taking care national culture and heritage
  • The ‘Long Live Saudi Arabia’ program
  • The development of Okaz city in Taif
  • The ‘Kingdom as Muslims’ Destination’ initiative
  • The development of integrated tourism destinations
  • The Kafalah program initiative to finance commercial and financial establishments for tourism projects.

Interestingly, over 18 million people visited the Kingdom in 2016 most of them came for pilgrimage. Hence, the SCTNH plan is to promote its travel and tourism sector to foreign and domestic tourists. The Kingdom has a large number of interesting archaeological sites, pristine beaches, monuments, and a range of other holiday destinations. It is being promoted to become one of the biggest players in global tourism.

However, tourism in Saudi Arabia is expected to generate at least 1.2 million jobs for Saudis in the period until 2030. The tourism sector has been earmarked by the government as a key driver for growth in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy. Tourism currently employs about 900,000 Saudis.