Council praises plan to boost tourism
The head of a global travel council has urged Saudi Arabia to revise its visa policies if it wants to attract more tourists.
Last month, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi culture minister, revealed plans at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai to boost tourism revenue.
The scheme is part of plans by the kingdom to diversify its economy.
Yesterday, David Scowsill, President and CEO of The World Travel and Tourism Council ( WTTC), said: “We have been emphasising the importance of travel and tourism as an alternative income stream to oil exporting countries over the last months.
“Our sector is very resilient and a great economic and social stimulator for a country’s economy. It is important that any country sees this opportunity, but especially for countries where other income streams are contracting, such as oil exporters.”
The WTTC is a tourism umbrella group made up of representatives from firms across the globe.
Scowsill added: “In order to ensure that the increase in tourism investment will lead to the expected growth, we encourage the government to adopt visa policies that welcome all travellers By 7DAYS News Team for business and leisure purposes. It is important to emphasise the private and public sector cooperation as Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman and President of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), highlighted when he spoke at the WTTC Global Summit last month.” The Saudi Vision 2030 plan will see the country’s Public Investment Fund increase from $160 billion to $2 trillion, of which tourism investment will increase by $8 billion to almost $46 billion in 2020. Scowsill’s comments came as it was also revealed that the number of hotel rooms in Jeddah is forecast to double by 2018. The Jeddah Hotel Market Overview report by JLL, prepared ahead of The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2016, which opens today, reveals that the current supply of 8,600 rooms (Q1 2016) in the Saudi city will double - with another 8,600 rooms forecast to be added to the market by 2018. Projects in the pipeline include The Ritz Carlton, Radisson Blu Al Salamah, Movenpick City Star, Elaf Galleria and Assila Hotel & Residence by Rocco Forte (pictured).
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