RIYADH: Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global tourism industry as the Kingdom steadily diversifies its economy in line with the goals set out in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy, Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said.
Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on Oct. 25, Al-Khateeb said in order to give incoming travelers the best experience possible, the nation is building spectacular destinations which will operate in a sustainable manner.
“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said Al-Khateeb.
Al-Khateeb further noted Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector is strongly rebounding after the pandemic.
“We recovered about 60 percent versus pre-pandemic. People have started to travel. Saudi Arabia achieved a historical number this year in terms of the number of visitors,” said Al-Khateeb.
He added: “We are almost half way to delivering our plan, we’re achieving many successes. We will see more destinations in the near future that will put Saudi Arabia at the top.”
Despite the World Bank’s prediction of a global slowdown, Al-Khateeb noted that the tourism industry will not face any negative effects, and predicted that the number of arrivals to Saudi Arabia will soar by 300 percent and the spending in the sector will grow by 320 percent by 2030.
As a part of the National Tourism Strategy, Saudi Arabia has allocated $100 million to train young Saudis to work in the sector.
For her part, Julia Simpson, president of the World Tourism and Travel Council, lauded Al-Khateeb and said that she has never seen such ambition for tourism in any other country.
“I really applaud the work of his Excellency Al Khateeb because I have never ever seen an ambition for tourism quite like I am seeing here. The investment, the commitment, the energy, the drive. After this wonderful conference, we will hold a summit here on November 28,” added Simpson.