Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is expected to provide 260,000 jobs during the next three years, the Minister of Tourism Ahmed Bin Aqeel al-Khateeb said.
“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,” al-Khateeb said during a meeting held with the Kingdom’s media leaders, according to local media reports.
The Kingdom is planning to open 38 new tourist sites in seven different destinations across the country by 2022.
Currently, Saudi Arabia has 15 official tourist sites in four destinations, with approximately 600,000 people employed in the sector.
“Tourism constitutes 10 percent 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 percent by 2030,” the minister added.
Saudi Arabia has several major projects under development, including the futuristic city of Neom, the Red Sea, Qiddiya, and al-Diriyah Gate, according to al-Khateeb.
The Red Sea Project is a planned megacity on the country’s western coast that will cover 28,000 square kilometers in total, while Qiddiya is set to be the Kingdom’s new capital of entertainment located 45 kilometers from the capital Riyadh.
In order to raise the ground level to 3.5m+ above sea level at #TheRedSea Project's 1.5M m2 Coastal Village, every day we transfer from a nearby borrow pit some 10,000m3 of earth and compact about 7,000m2 of land. Read more: https://t.co/DHH2HoN3Th pic.twitter.com/O8SWz6a5u3— The Red Sea Development Company (@TheRedSeaGlobal) April 16, 2020
Diriyah Gate will host museums, galleries, hundreds of retail brands, and residential compounds.
The Saudi Tourism Authority will be working closely with the relevant authorities to help develop the tourism industry.
“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,” he said.
Saudi Arabia announced it was opening its doors to international visitors for the first time in September 2019.
Since the announcement, more than 500,000 visas were issued up until February 2020, al-Khateeb noted, adding that the Kingdom aims to welcome 100 million visitors annually by 2030.