Saudi cabinet passes new tourism law to attract tourists, encourage investments

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Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved a new tourism law to boost the competitiveness of the tourism sector, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Wednesday.

Tourism Minister Ahmad al-Khateeb said the newly approved law comes in the line with the leadership’s orders to build a competitive tourism sector and contribute to the goals of Vision 2030.

“In our continued work to develop, promote and enable an internationally competitive tourism sector as a key pillar of Vision 2030, we are delighted to announce the approval of the new tourism law in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” SPA quoted al-Khateeb as saying.

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“[The new law] will drive business and investment, support innovation and attract tourists, in line with the best international practices.”

As per the law, businesses will be given special licenses and support from the ministry, SPA reported, adding that the ministry will streamline licensing procedures by creating a one-stop-shop platform for all tourism stakeholders.

The new legal framework will thus give the tourism ministry better control over the quality of services offered and help ensure “the highest standards possible for both tourists and businesses while also strengthening destination development.”

The law also stipulates the establishment of “an information database that contains statistics and information on all aspects of the Saudi tourism sector in line with the best international practices for tourism investors, service providers, tourists, and other interested parties.”

The data will be published on the tourism ministry’s website and will be updated regularly.

The cabinet also approved a resolution which allows the tourism ministry “to facilitate tax and custom exceptions or reductions” with relevant government departments to encourage businesses to invest in the country’s flourishing tourism sector.

It also allows the ministry to collaborate with private sector entities to develop work plans and training programs that would lead to creating job opportunities and training Saudi nationals.

Such collaboration between governmental entities and the private sector “will improve the quality of services in the tourism sector and promote Saudi Arabia as a top five global destination,” SPA reported.

It will also speed up achieving the goals of the National Tourism Strategy and Vision 2030 – plans that aim to attract 100 million tourists a year by 2030, boost the contribution of the tourism sector in the GDP to 10 percent and create 1 million new jobs in the tourism sector.

According to SPA, the law, which was prepared according to the best international practices identified by the top 20 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, will further advance the national tourism strategy by promoting various tourist destinations.

“The law will accelerate the development of tourist destinations in various regions, including NEOM, Soudah, the Red Sea, and Diriyah Gate,” al-Khateeb said.

“With a future-focused vision, we are working diligently to upgrade hospitality standards and provide unprecedented and enriching visitor experiences.”

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