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.


EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

Updated 40 min 24 sec ago
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EU gives Nestle a thumbs down in Kit Kat finger row

  • Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
  • The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”

Luxembourg: The European Union’s top court should cancel Swiss food giant Nestle’s trademark for the shape of the Kit Kat chocolate bar, the court’s top adviser said Thursday.
Nestle has been locked in a decade-long battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit, which was first sold in 1935.
The EU’s intellectual property office allowed Nestle in 2006 to trademark what the court calls the “three-dimensional shape of the ‘Kit Kat 4 fingers’ product.”
Advocate General Melchior Wathelet said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) should dismiss an appeal by Nestle against a lower court’s 2016 decision to annul the trademark.
“Nestle did not adduce sufficient evidence to show that its trademark had acquired distinctive character,” Wathelet said.
He said the intellectual property office should now “re-examine” its decision.
The Luxembourg-based ECJ often, but not always, follows the advice of the advocate general, its senior legal adviser, when making its final judgment.
The food giant specifically failed to show that the Kit Kat shape was well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal, relying instead on market data from other countries, he said.
The official also said the EU court should reject an appeal by Mondelez against part of the judgment, saying it was “manifestly inadmissible.”
Nestle has already lost a legal bid in Britain — currently an EU member state but set to leave next year — to trademark the Kit Kat shape.