Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs $43bn deal for tourism projects

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The agreement was signed by Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez, in the presence of the Saudi Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s Board of Directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb. (Tourism Development Fund/@TDF_SA)
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The agreement was signed by Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri (R), CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez (L), in the presence of the Saudi Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s Board of Directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb (C). (Tourism Development Fund/@TDF_SA)
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The agreement was signed by Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri (R), CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez (L), in the presence of the Saudi Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s Board of Directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb (C). (Tourism Development Fund/@TDF_SA)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Saudi Tourism Development Fund signs $43bn deal for tourism projects

  • Fund to launch investment vehicles to develop tourism with private and investment banks
  • Saudi Arabia wants tourism sector to contribute 10% of GDP by 2030

RIYADH: Up to SR160 billion ($42.66 billion) of tourism projects will be financed in Saudi Arabia after a deal between the Kingdom’s Tourism Development Fund and local banks, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The agreement was signed by the fund’s CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri, the CEO of Riyadh Bank Tareq Al-Sadhan, and the managing director and CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, Rayan Fayez, in the presence of Saudi Minister of Tourism and chairman of the fund’s board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khateeb.
The deal is based on establishing financing programs to support and develop the tourism sector with a value of up to SR160 billion and aims to activate the programs agreed on with the two banks. 
“This agreement includes defining ways of cooperation between the fund and the participating banks by setting up mechanisms to support financing tourism projects in various regions of the Kingdom,” according to a statement.
It said the agreement was one of the fund’s efforts to encourage and stimulate investments in the tourism sector and support the private sector, including support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by providing a number of financial products.
The fund was founded in June with an initial $4 billion investment and is part of plans to diversify the economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
Al-Fakhri said: “This agreement constitutes an essential step toward supporting and developing tourism projects in the Kingdom.” 
He added that the fund’s role and commitment to supporting and developing the tourism sector continued by stimulating investment and building a solid relationship with banks and financial institutions, which would create distinct investment opportunities in the Kingdom.
The CEO of Riyadh Bank said the bank was proud to form this partnership with the fund, which would enhance the role of banks in supporting the private sector, including SMEs, and enable the development of tourism projects in the Kingdom.
“The tourism sector is one of the most important sectors that support the economy, and we are looking forward to starting an active participation with the fund to support quality projects, which will have an impact on finding promising investment opportunities in the Kingdom,” said Al-Sadhan.
Fayez said that the agreement accompanied the effective role of banks in achieving the objectives of the tourism sector, which was one of the most promising sectors for investment, and would be the beginning of an effective partnership with the fund that would contribute to creating investment opportunities in the Kingdom.
He also said that these agreements played an important role in creating pioneering tourism projects and destinations that, in turn, contributed to achieving the objectives of the National Tourism Strategy.
He added that the strategy aimed to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product from 3 to 10 percent, create a million new jobs and receive 100 million local and international visitors by 2030.


Saudi health minister promises to procure tested vaccine

Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. (AP)
Updated 20 October 2020

Saudi health minister promises to procure tested vaccine

  • COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Monday said the Kingdom will procure vaccine for the novel coronavirus once it is confirmed to be safe and effective.

He said research on the vaccine is underway in a number of countries and the Saudi health authorities are following the developments.
The number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to decline in the Kingdom with the recovery rate from the illness rising to 96 percent. The minister attributed the decline on the “commitment to health precautions.”
“I also thank my fellow health practitioners for their wonderful efforts,” Al-Rabiah said.
Commenting on the second and stronger wave of COVID-19 in some countries, he said it was due to a lack of “commitment to social distancing” and failure to wear masks and taking other precautions.
He ruled out any leniency on part of the government in its fight against the virus. The minister said it is necessary to abide by precautionary measures to keep the virus at bay.

FASTFACTS

• Saudi Arabia recorded 381 new infections on Monday.

• With 16 new fatalities, the virus-related death toll has risen to 5,201.

“We (all) are in one boat, and the failure of some affects everyone, so we must work together” to check the spread of the virus.
He also advised people who show COVID-19 symptoms to visit Tetamman (rest assured) clinics.
“Appointments can be made through the ministry’s Sehaty app, and anyone who has any questions or wants to consult a doctor can call 937,” the minister said.
Saudi Arabia recorded 381 new infections on Monday. The total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 348,583 since the beginning of the outbreak in the Kingdom.
The Health Ministry said 16 more people died due to complications caused by the virus raising the death toll to 5,201. The ministry also reported 357 new recoveries. The total number of recovered cases has now increased to 328,895.