Kingdom will be major player in global tourism: Prince Sultan

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), honors Prince Saud bin Naif, governor of the Eastern Province, at the SCTH conference on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 02 February 2017
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Kingdom will be major player in global tourism: Prince Sultan

RIYADH: With a booming travel industry, Saudi Arabia will be “one of the biggest players” in global tourism, with almost SR3 billion ($800 million) announced by the government to finance tourism projects this year, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), said Wednesday.
The growing tourism sector will generate about 1.2 million jobs for Saudis in a staggered schedule, he added. “Currently, we have employed about 900,000 Saudis in tourism and related sectors. In fact, tourism in the Kingdom is a big industry, not only a sector.”
Prince Sultan was speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the annual SCTH conference, a major event in which Prince Saud bin Naif, governor of the Eastern Province, was the chief guest.
Prince Sultan said: “A major project called the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Initiative for National Heritage is also being supported by the government.” There are five sub-initiatives under this plan, he added.
“The travel and tourism sector is the second-largest Saudized sector in the country,” he said. “We embrace graduates to make their future in the tourism sector... not only to land a job.”
Prince Sultan also spoke about the growing number of pilgrims visiting the Kingdom for Haj and Umrah: “The Kingdom is a destination for all Muslims, and we are going to develop products that make Umrah and Haj a rich experience.”
The SCTH is working within the framework of the National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism to help pilgrims explore the tourism potential of the Kingdom other than Haj and Umrah.
The SCTH is working with the interior, foreign and Haj ministries, as well as airlines, to prepare plans and products for pilgrims after Haj or Umrah.
Prince Sultan said an announcement to set up “a media production and broadcast platform for tourism and national heritage was made during the conference Sunday. We have developed many programs for students and families.”
He added that the SCTH has a large budget “because the government wants to deliver very quickly and implement a lot of projects and initiatives that have been in the pipeline for years. Tourism is a major job creator, and now the SCTH, cobbled together with tourism, is the second-largest employer of Saudis in the country.”


Sirens to ring out over Riyadh as Saudi’s Civil Defense test warning system

Updated 58 min 24 sec ago

Sirens to ring out over Riyadh as Saudi’s Civil Defense test warning system

Warning sirens will sound over Riyadh on Thursday as the General Directorate of Civil Defense carries out tests on its public alarm system.

The test, which will also take place in Ad-Dilam, Diriyah and Khafji, are being carried out to ensure the sirens are effective and ready, Directorate of Civil Defense spokesman in Riyadh, Lt. Col. Mohammed Al-Hammadi, said.

The tests come as Saudi Arabia – backed by international world powers – investigates Saturday’s attacks on the Aramco oil facilities.

The Saudi Aramco facilities were hit in drone strikes earlier this week, causing fires to break out.

The Houthis claimed responsibility, but the United States believes the attacks originated in southwestern Iran, a US official told Reuters, an assessment that further increases tension in the Middle East.

In response, Iran issued a denial, warning it would respond to any attacks.