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Saudi Arabia: The Halal Las Vegas? Jeddah to become ‘top tourism hub’


Several new initiatives introduced by Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) will make Jeddah a top global tourism and commercial capital within the next 5 years, said its President Prince Sultan bin Salman.

City of Jeddah

As the largest economy in the region, investments currently under implementation in the Kingdom amount to SR1.8 trillion

He was making the keynote address on “Tourism as an opportunity for economic growth and youth job creation” at the Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) on Wednesday.

The prince said, Jeddah is likely to be one of the most important and attractive destinations in the Middle East after the completion of new projects, such as the King Abdulaziz International Airport, the upgrading of accommodation facilities, and the major expansion of the Two Holy Mosques, in Makkah and Madinah.

He stressed that the provision of job opportunities for the citizens is also one of the main objectives of the national tourism development plan, and such goals are set to be achieved through the Tourism Human Resources Center (Takamel).

According to reports of the Ministry of Labor, which is one of the main partners, the national tourism sector provides numerous job opportunities for citizens, making it one of the three top economic sectors attractive to Saudis.

The prince revealed that Saudi Arabia ranks 23rd in the world with its most advanced infrastructure, and the 19th largest economy in the world. As the largest economy in the region, investments currently under implementation in the Kingdom amount to SR1.8 trillion.

The paper also highlights the state’s role in supporting and stimulating the national tourism sector, as well as the importance of the support of the academic institutions and the rehabilitation of the national cadre through specialized centers for development of the national human resources such as Takamel and the Saudization program.

Prince Sultan stressed the importance of and continuous support for the tourism sector, the financing of big projects, and stimulating of tourism investments in order to enhance touristic competitiveness among neighboring countries, and transform the country into an attractive destination for citizens and tourists alike.

Khaled Alohali, deputy governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), spoke about the importance of bringing international technology to extract the natural abilities in Saudi Arabia and establishing economy, as this was followed by building the organizational structure and partnering with the private sector. The Kingdom’s economy developed during the 1950s and 1960s, and the Kingdom made its way into the petrochemical industry, which evolved to become one of the biggest industry of its kind in the world.

Motassim Al-Ma’ashouq, vice president, new business development, Saudi Aramco, highlighted the participation of large multinational companies in the growth of the economy the Kingdom is witnessing, adding that the company offers opportunities for investors and supports small to medium project development.

He pointed out that 70 percent of Saudi Aramco’s employees were older than 35 years back in 2009, but the majority of them now are younger than 35. He added that the company is full of national expertise who are decision-makers and form the company’s future. He pointed out the various initiatives the company is taking to support the youth and prepare them.

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