SCTH president: Saudi Arabia oriented to promote, enhance tourism

SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman, center, attends the 22nd session of the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Chengdu, China, on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 15 September 2017
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SCTH president: Saudi Arabia oriented to promote, enhance tourism

CHENGDU, China: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), stressed the importance of tourism and the need to empower it to support and enhance the economy and create more job opportunities.
This came during a speech delivered on Wednesday by Prince Sultan at the opening of the 22nd session of the General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Chengdu, China.
He also pointed out that Saudi Arabia has worked with UNWTO to achieve the largest growth of the tourism sector.
“Under the direction of King Salman, Saudi Arabia is moving with all its power to promote, empower and support tourism at all levels to continue more successes and leaps that are in line with the aspirations of citizens, residents and visitors of the Kingdom,” the prince added.
He also pointed out that “tourism is the second sector in terms of numbers that provide job opportunities for Saudi citizens.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping explained the importance of supporting tourism in the world because it is an important channel for the exchange of knowledge and cultures among countries, economic development and job creation.
“The incoming tourism to China accounts for 10 percent of the local economy as 95 million people visit the country per year. China comes in fourth place at the international level.”
He added that the volume of spending on domestic tourism reaches more than $600 billion and that China is working at full capacity to further develop tourism because of its strength in providing real employment opportunities for citizens.
“The best way to develop the economy is through the empowerment of tourism and removal of obstacles it faces in various fields, and encouraging people to travel and enjoy the world,” he said in a speech delivered by his deputy prime minister.
The Chinese president stated that tourism is a job for all. He called for the mutual opening of doors and announced China’s desire to work with all countries to develop solutions for travel visas.
“Fifty-eight percent of passengers annually get visas; therefore, it is necessary to facilitate and improve procedures bilaterally with countries so that tourism can perform its role,” he said.
The secretary-general of the WTO, Taleb Rifai, cited the need to promote international tourism and support travel. He also said that 1.2 billion people travel annually and expected that the number will reach 1.8 billion people in 2030.
The General Assembly of the WTO, at its 22nd session, is the largest assembly to be held in the history of the UNWTO, with some 1,100 officials and 75 ministers representing more than 132 countries.
Bahrain and Egypt have been elected members of the executive council for the Middle East region along with Saudi Arabia, which is already a member of the council.


President Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

Updated 22 min 11 sec ago
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President Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia is a great ally in our fight against Iran, terrorism, he says.
  • Saudi Arabia has worked closely with us in keeping oil prices at reasonable levels, says Trump.

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States intends to remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement issued by the White House, Trump said he would not cancel multibillion-dollar military contracts with Riyadh. "If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries," he said.

Trump said US intelligence agencies were still studying the evidence of how Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and who planned it.

"The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone," he said. "Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body."

Trump said: "King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information.

"We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!"

Terming the world as "a very dangerous place," Trump blasted Iran for its malign activity in the region.

"Iran ... is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, 'Death to America!' and 'Death to Israel!' Iran is considered 'the world’s leading sponsor of terror'.”

He said: "Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism."

Recalling his trip to Saudi Arabia last year, Trump said: "The Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!"

Trump said Congress was "free" to "go in a different direction."

"I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction — and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels — so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!"