Saudi tourism to create 1.7 million jobs by 2020

Prince Sultan bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), speaking at Jeddah Economic Forum 2014. (Image supplied)

Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is set to create 1.7 million jobs over the coming six years, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) Prince Sultan bin Salman told the Jeddah Economic Forum on Wednesday.

The tourism sector contributes to 2.6 percent of the Saudi economy, Prince Sultan said, adding that the kingdom was optimistic about the sector’s potential for growth.

The commission and its partners are working to define new work opportunities, regardless of location, age, level of education and qualifications, stated statements released on Wednesday.

According to Prince Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector provided 751,000 jobs in 2013, with Saudi nationals making up 27.1 percent of that number.

Confirming that Jeddah will be one the Middle East’s attractive destinations, the prince revealed that the SCTA is set to launch “Live Saudi Arabia,” a program which recruits Saudi nationals to work in the growing sector. In addition, the SCTA is working on the implementation of “Youth Tourism,” a program which encourages group trips and tourism activities in collaboration with the commission’s partners.

Prince Sultan said the Kingdom is focused on achieving sustainable economic growth, noting the role of the government in supporting national tourism.

“Saudi nationals are the main foundation for development and the most valuable asset of the Kingdom. They can contribute a great deal to growth and development in addition to facing challenges,” he said.

“Tourism development is characterized by competitiveness, both at a national and international level due to the strategic location between the world's different cultures, the importance of beautiful nature, rich heritage and cultural diversity,” the prince added.

He noted that “sustained government investments in infrastructure and tourist destination development, coupled with the young Saudis' passion to exploring new career opportunities and facing challenges and hospitality, play a key part” the kingdom’s tourism strategy.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42