Prince Sultan bin Salman Unveils Plans to Welcome Tourists to Saudi Arabia
Following the announcement of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 – an economic roadmap to secure the long-term economic stability of the Kingdom – Saudi Arabia now plans to issue select visas to welcome tens of thousands of tourists a year as part of a national reform plan aimed at showcasing the country’s rich heritage, including pre-Islamic sites, and encouraging Saudis to spend some of their tourist money at home.
Speaking at the ArabianTravel Market exhibition in Dubai recently, Prince Sultan bin Salman, head of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, explained that the country is open for people doing business, people working in the Kingdom, individuals investing in Saudi Arabia, and those visiting for special purposes. Now, it will be open to tourism again on a selected basis.
According to the Saudi tourism commission’s figures, approximately 245,000 Saudis work in the tourism sector. The target is to boost that to 352,000 by 2020 and to see investment in tourism upped by $8 billion (€7.2bn) to reach nearly $46 billion (€41bn).
Promoting domestic tourism among Saudis also aims to enhance a stronger national identity among the country’s youth. “Smelling and hearing the sounds of their country and tasting this fantastic multicultural country is something that’s important for any nation that wants to go to the future confidently,” Prince Sultan said.