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Saudi Arabia

Size of tourism industry crosses SR100m mark

RIYADH: The size of the tourism industry has crossed the SR100-million mark with around 130 organizations in the field and the revenues generated through festivals are approximately SR11 billion annually, experts have said.
The figures have been provided by industry experts to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH).
"The revenue is generated through tourism trips organized by the festivals, in addition to the hotel occupancy and their activities such as visits to malls, restaurants and service centers in all the provinces where the festivals feature, an SCTNH spokesman said on Friday.
He said that the experts and economists who coordinate with the SCTNH strongly believe that the tourism event industry is a key economic driver.
Abdullah bin Abdul Malik Al-Morshid, acting director general of programs and products in SCTNH, said: “Tourism events enjoy high demand because of their benefits to the local communities. They also help in the marketing of agricultural products, promoting handicraft products and creating new employment opportunities for locals, particular for the youth," he underlined.
Al Morshid further said the SCTNH recently announced its comprehensive program for the development of tourism events in the Kingdom for 2014-2018. The SCTNH pays a close attention to support tourism festivals through the “Tourism event support program,” which resulted in more than 50,000 temporary jobs since 2005, he said.
Mogbil Al-Mogbil, a prominent event operator and investor in tourism events, considers it as one of the most important areas for future investment in the Kingdom. He stressed on the role of SCTNH in regulating and developing this industry and turning it into a professional business "because the industry still faces some challenges, the most important of them being holding of tourism festivals linked to public holidays."
Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Mahwoos, another event operator, said: “This activity achieves high investment returns. Event management is an important industry that requires professional operators, particularly in the area of investment."
He appreciated the SCTNH for support to tourism event operators and organization of international tours.
Notably, tourism event industry is a new and promising economic activity poised to grow rapidly in the light of significant increase in festivals annually. Different areas in the Kingdom annually host more than 100 festivals around the year, including entertainment, shopping, desert and heritage festivals and some events related to agricultural products and entertainment festivals.

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