Greater govt support for tourism urged



RIYADH: ARAB NEWS

Published — Wednesday 19 December 2012

Last update 19 December 2012 5:32 pm

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Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, yesterday urged the government to support economic sectors that would create more jobs for Saudis.
“The tourism is growing as a new and vital economic sector with state support,” the prince said while addressing SCTA’s annual ceremony. Labor Minister Adel Fakeih attended the event.
“I am happy to host Labor Minister Fakeih in this annual ceremony. He is a man of varied backgrounds with experiences in trade, government service, charitable work, engineering and finance,” he said.
Prince Sultan highlighted the importance of the Labor Ministry, saying it determines the present and future of citizens. “Employment in any country is a vital issue of security and stability,” he added.
Prince Sultan said the tourism could create more job opportunities for Saudis. The rate of Saudization in the tourism sector has reached 26 percent, becoming the second largest sector that employs Saudis.
“Tourism jobs in the Kingdom account for eight percent of the total,” the SCTA chief said and commended Saudis for accepting jobs in the sector.
He said the government should focus more of its spending on those economic sectors that create more jobs for Saudis. “Tourism can create sustainable job opportunities for Saudis, especially in remote areas, reducing pressure on major cities,” he added.
He emphasized the future role of economic sectors in creating jobs for citizens. Even those people who do not possess any educational qualifications can start small scale projects in this sector.
Prince Sultan said the Saudi tourism sector is capable of making remarkable progress with government and private sector support. However, he pointed out that shortage in finance was obstructing the Kingdom’s tourism development. “Last year we received only SR 70 million to finance tourism projects.”
He hoped the government would adopt a number of decisions by the end of this year to boost the sector. “All government departments have now realized the importance of tourism sector,” he added.
Fakeih also highlighted the importance of tourism as a major job creator. “Studies have proved that government support would enable the tourism sector to create more jobs,” he added. He said the ministry has introduced a program with the support of Human Resource Development Fund to train Saudis to take up jobs in the tourism sector.
Prince Sultan presented a memento to the labor minister. He also honored a number of personalities who support domestic tourism.

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