Local tourism sector contributes 2.6% to Saudi kingdom’s economy

The Saudi Arabia's tourism sector is set to create 1.7 million jobs over the coming six years

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The tourism sector contributes to 2.6 percent of the Saudi economy. A recent report released by the Saudi Commission on Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has indicated that Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is set to create 1.7 million jobs over the coming six years, said the President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) Prince Sultan bin Salman.

In line with this, Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, President, Elaf Group of Companies and a member of the Makkah Tourism Development Council, said the Kingdom’s rapidly developing tourism industry is on the right track to success – achieving continuous year-on-year (YoY) growth with the prospects of gaining better results in the next few years.

During the period of preparation of this year’s edition of the Saudi Travel and Tourism Investment Market (STTIM), Bin Mahfouz said that these positive results can be attributed to the ongoing efforts of tourism companies to contribute effectively to the development of the industry through participation in specialized events or by providing attractive tourism offerings that fall in line with the directives of the SCTA.

Bin Mahfouz also disclosed that Elaf is contributing to the industry through its continuing process of expansion and opening of a yet new property such as Elaf Al Salam, in Makkah Al Mokarrama.

Additionally, Elaf Group is participating at STTIM for the fifth year in a row, which is being held from March 30 to April 4, 2014 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.

During the event, the Elaf Group will be taking part in a number of panel discussions related to timely tourism topics like safety and security in hotels and furnished apartments; the role of new transportation projects in enhancing and developing tourism sector; investment in events and festivals; how tourism associations can help the tourism sector; investment in tourism sector (current & future) and building destinations – local & international experience.

Elaf will also be participating in sessions on emerging tourism aspects like including how to maximize your return from the booking systems; exhibition and convention licensing and venue policies such as the National Program for Exhibitions and Conferences.

Meanwhile, a domestic tourism investment promotion expo will be unveiled at the Riyadh International Conferences and Exhibitions Center on Sunday.

The expo, which will be held on the sidelines of the forum of travel and tourism investment, will stage plenty of promotional events and heritage activities of different regions in the Kingdom.

The SCTA organizes the forum under the aegis of Riyadh Gov. Prince Khaled bin Bandar, chairman of the Riyadh Tourism Promotion Council.

The expo will run until April 4 and will be open from 4 p.m to 10 p.m.

More than 300 establishments specialized in tourism, amusement operations and airlines will participate in the event, while 14 tourism locations will showcase major tourist events in the kingdom.

The expo will house pavilions of domestic and international tourism companies and is expected to attract 20,000 visitors against 9,000 visitors last year, the Saudi Press Agency reported Friday.

While all provincial tourism promotion councils will participate in the expo, various companies dealing with tourist accommodations and tour and travel operations will display their services. The SCTA will have a huge presence at the expo with its 14 administrations setting up separate sections in the exhibition ground.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 30, 2014.