RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will create 1 million jobs by 2030 and the Kingdom will welcome 100 million visitors, said Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Development Fund.
The sector will create one of every three new jobs in Saudi Arabia in the next decade, as the nation focuses more on the growth of non-oil sectors, said Al-Fakhri.
Talking about the progress of the Saudi tourism sector at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh, he said: “Last year, with the support of the tourism ecosystem, and the larger government ecosystem and enablers, Saudi Arabia achieved record levels of domestic tourism that is remarkable globally.”
Al-Fakhri also noted that the tourism sector is expected to contribute 10 percent to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product by the end of this decade.
The two-day event held under the theme “Reimagined Horizons” seeks to discuss the future of hotel development, destination impact, aviation, sustainability, restaurant investment and human capital.
It is featuring a series of sessions covering topics such as the future of hotel asset management, the future of loyalty schemes, transparency and brand loyalty.
Unique food heritage
Mayada Badr, CEO of the Culinary Arts Commission, said Saudi Arabia has its own unique food heritage and there is no necessity to copy from other regions.
“We want to do a lot more in Saudi cuisine. We have our own heritage and we don’t want to copy it. We are using what we have,” she said at the summit.
She said young Saudi nationals are entering the culinary art sector in large numbers.
According to Badr, international brands have made their presence felt in the Saudi market along with local brands, which is ultimately resulting in healthy competition in the food and beverage industry.
Talking about the impact of Vision 2030 on the food and beverage sector, she added: “With Vision 2030, we Saudis decided to share more than ever. You go to those tiny towns and you feel welcomed. They share food and you get exposed to all sorts of traditional food.”
The efforts of the Saudi Tourism Ministry are a catalyst for the massive transformation of the hospitality sector in the Kingdom, said Sultan Bader Al-Otaibi.
the CEO of Dur Hospitality said Saudi Arabia’s tourism and hospitality sector is witnessing a massive transformation and lauded the Tourism Ministry’s efforts in this regard.
He also said events like Future Hospitality Summit are very productive gatherings that help in learning and growing together.
American hospitality giant Hilton plans to grow olive oil locally in Saudi Arabia, as the hotel chain is encouraged by Saudi Arabia’s efforts to push for local sourcing as part of its strategy to develop non-oil sectors including tourism, a senior executive at the company revealed at the summit.
Emma Banks, vice president, F&B Strategy and Development EMEA, at Hilton also disclosed that the company has signed a deal with Nadec, one of the largest agricultural and food-processing companies in the Middle East, to purchase 200 tons of tomatoes.
She also affirmed Hilton’s commitment to protecting the community in which it operates.
Banks revealed that Hilton has been working hard to reduce carbon emissions by implementing strategic measures in its operations.