Coun­cil praises plan to boost tourism

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS - @7DAYSUAE busi­ness@7days.ae

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).

NEW: One of the ho­tels pop­ping up

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