Saudi tourism outstrips overall economic growth in Kingdom

A tourist listens to a Saudi guide at the Mada’in Saleh archaeological site. The travel sector grew four times faster than the wider economy last year. (AP)
Updated 23 March 2018
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Saudi tourism outstrips overall economic growth in Kingdom

LONDON: The KSA travel and tourism sector grew four times faster than the wider economy in 2017, according to a report released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), on Thursday.
The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was SR240.9 billion ($64.2 billion), or 9.4 percent of GDP in 2017.
It is forecast to jump again this year, underscoring the sector’s increasingly important role in the country’s economic evolution, the WTTC said.
With government investment fueling rapid growth in the sector, the tourism economy is projected to grow to almost SR400 billion ($107 billion) over the next ten years.
“Tourism is really being put up as a pillar in the future Saudi economy,” said WTTC Research Director Rochelle Turner.
“It’s very interesting to see the many developments there at the moment, from the building of infrastructure … to some of the changes in the structure and regulations that have taken place.”
The Kingdom has been courting overseas investment as part of a strategy to bolster the contribution of tourism to a diversified national economy under the country’s Vision 2030 blueprint for economic and social transformation.
Recently, the government-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) pumped SR10 billion into an entertainment investment company to develop the country’s leisure infrastructure and create an estimated 22,000 jobs by 2030.
Last year the travel sector accounted for 644,000 jobs in the Kingdom, amounting to 5.3 percent of total employment.
At present it is predicted to drop by 1 percent in 2018 before rising by 1.6 percent per annum to 2028. Turner attributed this drop to the “increase in the number of jobs available” as the country shifts from an oil economy to a more diversified future.


Uber proposals value company at $120bn in a possible IPO

Updated 16 October 2018
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Uber proposals value company at $120bn in a possible IPO

  • Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley last month delivered the valuation proposals to Uber
  • Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment

LOS ANGELES: Uber Technologies Inc. recently received proposals from Wall Street banks valuing the company at as much as $120 billion in an initial public offering that could take place early next year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley last month delivered the valuation proposals to Uber, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.